How To Add Superscript in Google Docs? [4 Easy Methods]

At a Glance
  • Superscripts are smaller characters set above the regular text line. They're used for mathematical equations (e.g., a²), copyright symbols (e.g., TM), temperatures (e.g., 23°C), and ordinal dates (e.g., 1st).
  • There are four ways to add superscripts in Google Docs: using the Formatting Menu, keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl + . for Windows, Command + . for Mac), the Special Characters Library, and the Equations Tab for mathematical notations.
  • To remove superscripts, select the text and either use the same method as applied (Formatting Menu or keyboard shortcuts) or use the Clear Formatting option, which removes all formatting from the selected text.

When writing an essay, blog, or any other type of content, we usually don’t go beyond the standard formatting effects like bold, italic, underline, etc. However, adding effects like superscripts is quite common if you are working on an academic or professional document. So whether you are writing equations or copyright claims, let’s look at how to add superscripts in Google Docs!

Different ways to use superscripts

What are Superscripts

Superscripts act as special text characters that are smaller in size and are placed at a higher position than the normal text. In Google Docs, you can use superscripts to highlight things, like showing exponentiation or adding reference footnotes. Here are some common cases where superscripts are commonly used:

  • Mathematical equations: a2 + 2ab + b2
  • Copyright symbols: GoogleDocsTM
  • Temperature in degrees: 12°C
  • Ordinal dates: 3rd October

READ MORE: How To Use Strikethrough in Google Docs [Desktop & App] ➜

How to Add Superscripts in Google Docs

When it comes to adding superscripts in Google Docs, you have four different methods that can help you get the job done. Let’s break all of them individually:

1. Add Superscript Using the Formatting Menu

One of the most common methods to add superscripts to your text is by using the Formatting menu. Here’s a quick rundown to adding superscript using the formatting menu:

  1. Head over to Google Docs and open up your document.
    Open up Google Docs
  2. From there, select the text you want to apply superscript to.
    Select your text
  3. Once that’s done, click on the Format tab at the top of your document.
    Click on Format
  4. Next, hover over to the Text tab and select Superscript from the side menu.
    Text > Superscript
  5. And that’s it!  Your selected text should now appear at the top in a distinguishable way.
    Superscripted text

READ MORE: How to Add Word Art in Google Docs on Desktop & Mobile ➜

2. Add Superscript Using Keyboard Shortcuts

Another way to format your selected text as superscript is by using a quick keyboard shortcut. To add superscripts in Google Docs, you’ll need to memorize the following key combinations:

  • For Windows: CTRL + . (Period button)
  • For Mac: Command + . (Period button)
Use keyboard shortcuts

Once you get the hang of these keyboard shortcuts, all you have to do is select the text you want to convert into a superscript and press the right combination.

READ MORE: How to Fix Keyboard Automatically Doing Shortcuts While Typing? ➜

3. Add Superscripts Using the Special Characters Library

Instead of formatting normal text into superscripts, you can also add pre-defined superscript text to your documents using the Special characters library. While the special characters library is full of interesting symbols and emojis, you can also use it to exclusively add superscripts.

Here’s how to add superscripts using the special characters library:

  1. Open up your Google Docs document and enter the base character or numerical value of your exponent. 
    Enter your base value
  2. Next, click on the Insert tab and click on the Special characters option.
    Insert > Special characters
  3. This will open a small menu where you’ll have the option to add special characters.
    Special characters menu
  4. To make things easier for yourself, click on the second column and select Superscript from the menu. Now, you’ll have some pre-defined superscripts that you can add to your text.
    Make sure it says superscript here
  5. Simply, click on the one you want and it will be inserted as a superscript right next to your base text.
    Superscript special characters

READ MORE: How To Easily Type a Degree Symbol on Mobile & Desktop ➜

4. Add Superscripts Using the Equations Tab

If you specifically work with mathematical equations in Google Docs, you can add a superscript by using the Equations tab. Here’s how to add superscripts using the Equations tab:

  1. Head over to Docs and open up your document. 
    Open up Google Docs
  2. From here, click on the Insert tab and select the Equation button.
    Insert > Equation
  3. As and when you click on it, a panel should appear at the top of your document. 
    This panel should appear
  4. From this panel, select the fourth option that’s going to be labeled as “Math operations“.
    Select Math operations
  5. Next, click on the (xb) option. You’ll see a small text box appear on your document.  
    Click on xb
  6. Now, enter your base value and press the “Shift + ^” keys to move the text cursor at the top. Finally, enter the superscript text and you are good to go!
    Superscript equations

How to Add Superscript in Google Docs Mobile App

Apart from a few interface changes, applying superscript to a document in the Google Docs mobile app is quite similar to how you would do it on the web. Let’s take a closer look at how it’s done:

  1. Open the Google Docs app and select your document.
    Google Docs mobile app
  2. From there, tap the Pencil icon at the bottom right of your screen to start making edits. 
    Tap the pencil
  3. Next, select the text you want to apply superscript formatting to. 
    Select your text
  4. Now, click on the A icon with the three horizontal lines button. This will open the Formatting menu. 
    Open up the formatting menu
  5. From here, click on the (x2) icon under the Text tab to apply superscript. 
    Apply superscript

READ MORE: How To Make a Chart on Google Docs in 2024 – Easy Guide ➜

Removing Superscript From Your Text

To remove superscript formatting from your text, you don’t have to go through another different series of instructions. Instead, all you have to do is simply do the same steps as you would do when applying it. Let’s take a quick look at removing superscripts from your text.

1. Removing Superscript Using the Formatting Menu

For this method to work, all you have to do is select the superscript text and click on the Superscript button from the Format tab.

Same process as applying it

2. Removing Superscript Using Keyboard Shortcuts

For this method, you have to go back to the same keyboard shortcuts you used to apply the superscript and simply use them again. In other words, select the superscript text from your document and press the “CTRL + . or Command + .” keys.

3. Removing Superscript Using Clear Formatting

One final step to removing superscripts is by using the Clear Formatting button which works by cleaning every formatting effect applied on your document. So before using it make sure that you don’t have other important formatting effects applied to your text.

Clear all formatting

READ MORE: How to Insert Text Box in Google Docs Easily? ➜

Alternative: Adding Subscript in Google Docs

Subscript is also a formatting feature that allows you to place text a bit lower than normal text. Subscripts aren’t as popular as superscripts but they are quite widely used when writing chemical equations. Adding subscripts is similar to adding superscripts, the only difference is that wherever you were selecting the superscript button (Desktop and Mobile) now you’ll have to simply click on the subscript button.

Add subscript text

Additionally, you can also use a different keyboard combination to directly add subscripts. For Windows, you can press the “CTRL + , (comma key)” option and for Mac, you can press “Command + , (comma key).”

Use keyboard shortcuts

READ MORE: How to Add Custom Fonts to Google Docs? ➜

Wrapping Up

Google Docs offers users a ton of ways to add formatting effects like superscripts. By simply going through a few menus, you can add superscripts or any special character to your text. Additionally, you also have keyboard shortcuts that can help you make things even faster than they already are. The best part about learning how to add superscripts is you also get equipped with adding subscripts.


Can you change the color of superscipted text?

Yes, you can change the color of superscipted text in the document by simply highlighting it, clicking on the “Text color” icon in the toolbar, and selecting a color.

What’s the difference between superscript and strikethrough in Google Docs?

In Google Docs, superscript and strikethrough are both formatting options that you can apply to text, but they serve different purposes. Superscript raises text above the baseline, whereas strikethrough draws a line through text, indicating deletion or cancellation.

What are footnotes?

Footnotes are added at the bottom of a page in academic writing to provide extra information. Marked with small numbers in the text, you can add them using Insert > Footnote. This gives a numbered line at the page bottom with additional details, enhancing the main text without interruption.


Kamil Anwar

Kamil is a certified MCITP, CCNA (W), CCNA (S) and a former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.