How to Do Subscript in Google Docs [Easy Steps]

Have you ever wondered how to do subscript in Google Docs? Writing about mathematics or science in Google Docs requires more than just using standard tools like bold, alignment, and highlighter. Occasionally, you must add small letters or numbers at the top (superscript) or the bottom (subscript) of certain words or characters. This is where subscript comes in.

To learn how to do subscript in Google Docs, you can simply use the Format menu or keyboard shortcuts by selecting the appropriate text and clicking on “Subscript.” Otherwise, press “Ctrl” + “,” (comma) (Windows) or “Cmd” + “,” (comma) (Mac) on your keyboard.

This guide illustrates how to use subscripts and superscripts in Google Docs to help you alter your document easily.

How to Insert Subscript and Superscript in Google Docs

Many of the tools found in Microsoft Word are also available in Google Docs. Among them are text formatting options called subscript and superscript. These two involve choosing and editing a text to decrease its font size and make it look smaller, either below or above the text baseline.

Learning how to type subscripts and superscripts in Google Docs is easy. All you need to do is follow a few steps.

How to Do Subscript in Google Docs

The first method to add subscript text is using the menu system in Google Docs. You can convert one character or a whole line of text to this format. In most cases, you will use it for single characters. Formatting the entire line is necessary if you have to leave comments under a paragraph or at the bottom of a page.

To do a subscript in Google Docs, simply follow the steps below:

  1. Open Google Docs (log into your account if you haven’t yet).
  2. Choose the document you’re working on or create a new one.
  3. Highlight the text you want to change into a subscript.
  4. Click “Format” in the menu bar between the “Insert” tab and the “Tools” tab.
How to do subscript in Google Docs—where to find subscript option on Google Docs


  1. Choose “Text” from the drop-down menu and select “Subscript.”
How to do subscript in Google Docs—how to use subscript on Google Docs


  1. Afterward, you will see the highlighted text turn into a subscript format.
How to do subscript in Google Docs—what subscript text looks like on Google Docs


Instead of highlighting the character or text, you can also place your cursor where you want to add subscript text. Simply type the subscript details after clicking the “Subscript” menu option.

How to Write Superscript in Google Docs

You can also create superscript formatting via the menu bar in Google Docs — and the steps are nearly the same as making subscripts. This text formatting also applies to single characters and an entire line of text.

To make superscript in Google Docs, here’s what you should do:

  1. In your document, highlight the text you want to convert to superscript. Otherwise, place your cursor where you wish to insert superscript text.
  2. Choose “Format” from the menu bar.
How to do subscript in Google Docs—where to find superscript in Google Docs
  1. Click “Text” in the drop-down menu, and then pick “Superscript.”
How to do subscript in Google Docs—where to find superscript option in Google Docs
  1. After that, you will find the highlighted text changed to superscript format (or type the superscript text where you put the cursor.)
How to do subscript in Google Docs—what superscript looks like in Google Docs

Keyboard Shortcuts to Do Subscript and Superscript

Keyboard shortcuts are another method to edit characters and texts within a document. Here’s how to type subscript in Google Docs more easily. The following steps apply to a computer and Chromebook.

  1. Choose the character or text you wish to convert to subscript.
How to do subscript in Google Docs—how to do subscript and superscript keyboard shortcuts
  1. Press Ctrl + , (Control and comma), and the character or text will instantly become smaller.
  2. In switching to superscript, instead of a comma, you will press a period (Ctrl + .)

After using these shortcuts, anything you type afterwards will be in subscript or superscript format. Press the same keys to return to regular formatting.

Mac Keyboard Shortcut for Subscript and Superscript

If you’re using a Mac, press ⌘ + , (Command and comma) to create subscripts, and ⌘ + . (Command and period) to apply superscripts.

How to Apply Superscript and Subscript to Mathematical Equations

For mathematical equations, the process of doing subscripts in Google Docs is different from the methods listed above.

  1. On Google Docs, click “Insert” in the menu bar.
How to do subscript in Google Docs—how to add subscript to mathematical equations in Google Docs
  1. From the drop-down menu, choose “Equation.”
How to do subscript in Google Docs—where to find equation option in Google Docs
  1. Type the necessary letters or numbers.
How to do subscript in Google Docs—how to add superscript subscript to mathematical equations
  1. Press Shift + – (Shift and dash) to add a subscript character.

To create a superscript character, follow the first three steps above and press Shift + 6 (Shift and number 6).

When it comes to mathematical equations, you must insert the equation format before you type the characters. Press “Enter” to change back to the default formatting.

How to Apply Superscript and Subscript in Google Docs Via the Mobile App

After Google Docs was made available for smartphone users, creating, editing, and viewing documents has become incredibly convenient. The app features many of the same tools in the desktop version — including text formatting options to apply subscripts or superscripts. That said, the procedure slightly differs on a smartphone.

While the following steps use the Android version of the Google Docs app, they’re similar to the steps on the iPhones’ Docs app:

  1. Open the Google Docs app on your phone.
  2. Open an existing document or make a new one.
  3. Tap the pencil icon at the lower-right corner of the screen.
  4. Highlight the text you want to switch to subscript or superscript.
  5. Tap the “Format” button (ie. the A button) at the top of the screen. Ensure that you’re on the “Text” tab.
How to do subscript in Google Docs—where is the format button on Android Google Docs app
  1. Choose the formatting option you need. Tap X2 for subscript and X2  for superscript.
How to do subscript in Google Docs—superscript and subscript options on Google Docs Android app

Just like the browser, you can change the formatting in your document before inserting subscript or superscript text on a smartphone. Before typing, put your cursor where the formatted text is needed, then follow the process above. After that, tap the “Format” or A” button to return to the normal formatting.

Note: Inserting an equation or adding formatted values to an existing equation via the mobile app version is not possible.

In addition to Google Docs, you can also apply subscripts to Google Slides. The procedure and keyboard shortcut are identical to how you’d do subscripts in Google Docs. You may even use special characters to insert subscripts or superscripts in both platforms, especially convenient for adding a copyright or trademark symbol.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Use Superscripts and Subscripts?

Superscripts and subscripts have primary uses in mathematics, science, and/or chemistry. Properly formatting text in such ways makes a document clear and informative to readers.

In particular, superscripts are also commonly used to suggest page notes, footnotes, copyright, and trademark symbols. Meanwhile, a subscript is typically used in chemical formulae (ie. indicating the number of atoms present in a chemical compound).

How Can I Remove Subscript Formatting from Text in Google Docs?

In Google Docs, highlight the subscript-formatted text and go to “Format” in the menu bar. Next, choose “Text” and click “Subscript” again. You can also highlight the text and use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + , (Control and comma) to switch it back to regular text.

Can I Make My Subscript Text Bigger or Smaller in Google Docs?

Yes, you can. The process of changing the font size of subscripts is the same as when you make regular text smaller or bigger. First, choose a text, then click the minus or plus symbol next to the font options to decrease or increase the font size.

Wrapping Up

Now that you’ve seen the step-by-step procedures, you know how to do subscripts in Google Docs — but what about adding superscripts into Google Sheets?

For a better understanding of Google Docs–as well as the other G Suite products — it’s a great idea to consider an in-depth online Google Suite course!


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