How to type exponents in MS Word

Did you know that exponents are an excellent formatting feature to add to your document?

Exponents are widely used in different types of writing. They are typically added to point to a footnote or an endnote in most documents.

If you’re writing a scientific paper, you’ll find exponents all over the place. 

An exponent is the small number or text found a little higher than the main text. You most probably encountered exponents first in Algebra. These are the small numbers next to x and y.

But, believe us when we tell you that for something so small in size, they can be a big problem when they appear incorrectly in your equation.

This will cause confusion and can change the meaning of a particular equation entirely. 

If you deal with equations or footnotes on a daily basis, you’ll thank Microsoft for creating such a powerful tool to type in exponents in your Word files.

MS Word provides a plethora of tools you can use to write equations involving exponents. 

Now, there are about four ways to type exponents in MS Word.

4 Ways to Type Exponents in MS Word

  • Using the Superscript button in the Ribbon
  • Using the Font Dialogue box
  • Using a shortcut key
  • Using the Equation Tool

The first three methods make use of the superscript button that’s easily accessible through the Ribbon.

On the other hand, the last method allows us to access the Equation Tool of Microsoft Word.

You’ll find this quite useful, especially when you need to type several mathematical equations. 

We’ll go over each of these methods bit by bit in this tutorial down below. When you go through each method, you’ll discover that the steps are relatively easy to follow as we’ve written this tutorial with beginners in mind.

In addition, MS Word has provided simple ways to get the job done easily. 

So, let’s get on with it! 

Why Should You type Exponents in MS Word? 

When you’re writing a scientific paper or an article, you’ll often find yourself needing to add footnotes or endnotes to some elements of your paper. If you have diagrams or illustrations in your paper, it’s best that you add short descriptions just below them or in the footnote section.

This is to ensure that your readers are guided enough as to what your illustrations are for or where they came from.

In some cases, writers use it to add extra insights or pieces of information that they don’t want to include in the main text. 

Now, Microsoft Word has a special tool to easily type exponents in your documents. And in this guide, we will cover four different ways to do just that.

In the meantime, allow us to emphasize a couple of situations when typing in exponents is a useful skill to have. 

Typing exponents in your Word document is best utilized when: 

  • You want to use footnotes in your document. 
  • You want to use endnotes in your document.
  • You want to add mathematical equations to your document. 

These are a few common guidelines we’ve come up with, but you don’t have to follow them strictly.

We’re pretty sure you’ll discover other instances where typing exponents would be most appropriate.

The aforementioned are only common situations and circumstances where exponents are necessary.

With that being said, here’s how you can type exponents in MS Word.

Method 1: Using the Superscript Button in the Ribbon

You can never go wrong with the MS Word Ribbon. This is the basic toolbar of Microsoft Word found at the top part of your window. The Ribbon contains all of the functions in MS Word that you’ll ever need when processing a Word document. 

In this method, we’ll walk you through the steps on how to quickly access the Superscript button in the Ribbon to type exponents in MS Word. 

Here’s how you can do that. 

Step 1: Open up an MS Word document. 

Before we get started, go ahead and open a Word document. Feel free to use your own personal document if you already have one opened.

This method will require you to change your content’s formatting a little.

If you are worried about making a mistake, do not fret because you can always hit the CTRL + Z keys on your keyboard to revert any unwanted changes. 

Step 2: Select the text you want in exponent form. 

Once your Word document is open, highlight the text you want to be written in exponent form. 

Step 3: Click the Superscript button. 

In the Font group, click the Superscript button right below the font size drop-down menu

Note that you will have to click the button again to deactivate it so you could go back typing in the regular form. 

And there you have it! You’ve just typed an exponent in your Word document.

Method 2: Using the Font Dialogue Box

Since superscript is a font property, we can access the Font dialogue box to type exponents while applying other text formats. This way, you can use different formatting options and preview the changes all at the same window. 

Here’s how to do that. 

Step 1: Open up an MS Word document.

To get started, let’s open an MS Word document. If you already have one opened, feel free to use that instead. Don’t worry about messing up your document because changes can easily be undone. 

Step 2: Select the text you want in exponent form. 

Now, select the text that you need to convert into an exponent form. 

Step 3: Launch the Font Dialogue box. 

After that, move your cursor to the bottom-right corner of the Font group and click the Down Arrow icon. This will launch the Font Dialogue box in the middle of your window. 

With the window on your screen, look for Effects. You should find this at the left-side of your window. From there, tick or check the Superscript option

You will see a preview of the changes in the Preview box found at the bottom of the dialogue box. 

Congratulations on typing exponents in MS Word using the Font Dialogue box. 

Method 3: Using a Shortcut Key

This method is the quickest way to start typing exponents. You can activate and deactivate the superscript formatting using the same keys on your keyboard. 

Allow us to show you how.

Step 1: Open up an MS Word document.

First off, we need to open up a Word file and make sure we have some text in it. Alternatively, feel free to use your own personal document if you have one already opened. If you’re unhappy with the changes, don’t worry as reverting these changes is fairly simple and should not irreversibly damage your document. 

Step 2: Select the text you want in exponent form. 

Now that you have your Word document opened, select the text that you want in exponent form. On your keyboard, press the keys CTRL + Shift + =.

Alternatively, you can go ahead and hit the shortcut keys right away and start typing your text in exponent form. 

Press the shortcut keys again to deactivate the function. 

Voila! You’ve just converted text in exponent form in Microsoft Word using a shortcut key. 

Method 4: Using the Equation Tool 

Moving on to the last method, we’ll be utilizing the Equation Tool in the steps below. This method provides you with more tools in writing equations. You’ll find this method more convenient to use, especially when you’re typing multiple equations in your document.

Here are the steps to do that. 

Step 1: Open up an MS Word document.

Before anything else, you need an MS Word file opened. You can go ahead and use your own personal document if you already have one opened. Otherwise, you can simply create a new file and follow the steps without worrying about messing it up.

Step 2: Go to the Insert tab. 

Navigate the Ribbon and select the Insert tab. You’ll find this next to the Home tab. Move your cursor all the way to the left side of the Ribbon and click the Equation button

  1. Select the Insert tab in the Ribbon. 
  2. Click the Equation drop-down menu button

This will display the equation editor box right where your cursor is at. You should also notice a handful of equation tools spanning across the Ribbon. 

Step 3: Click the Script drop-down menu. 

Somewhere around the middle part of the Equation Tools, click the Script drop-down menu. This will display several options for inserting superscripts and subscripts. Select the first option from the choices.

Note that you have to click on the small box to start typing exponents. 

In addition, you should also be able to type in an entire equation inside the equation editor box. You will have to click outside this box to go back to the body of your document. 

There you have it! You’ve just typed in exponents using the equation tool in MS Word.

Deleting Exponents in MS Word

Deleting exponents in your Word document is as easy as adding them. Use the steps below whether you used any of the four methods we discussed in this guide.

To delete them, select the exponents and hit the Delete key on your keyboard. If you used the fourth method, you can delete the whole equation by selecting the equation box and pressing the Delete key on your keyboard.


Learning to convert your text in exponent form helps you write down formulas, exponents, and superscripts. Exponents are used in writing Math equations, books, blog articles, academic and business papers. They’re small in size, but you’ll be surprised how big an effect they make in guiding your readers throughout your document. 

We hope you’ve found this article helpful! 

We have written a similar post for Google Docs.

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