Create easy access to the subscript and superscript font effects

Users have two efficient methods for applying superscript and subscript fonts. They can use a keyboard shortcut or add the effect to the Quick Access toolbar.

Applying the subscript and superscript font effect can be tedious if you do it often. After selecting the text, you click the Font group's dialog launcher and check the appropriate effect. Office 2003 users must choose Font from the Format menu. It's not hard, but some users will appreciate the built-in keyboard shortcuts for both:

  • The keyboard shortcut for subscript is [Ctrl]+=
  • The keyboard shortcut for superscript is [Ctrl]+[Shift]+=

Keyboard shortcuts might be more efficient for some users, but if users apply one or both of these effects often, you can add either or both to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT), as follows:

  1. From the QAT dropdown, choose More Commands.
  2. From Word's Choose Commands From dropdown, choose Popular Commands. In PowerPoint 2010, choose Commands Not In Ribbon. (You can't do this in Excel.)
  3. Choose Home tab.
  4. In the resulting Home tab list, highlight Subscript (or Superscript) and click Add.
  5. Click OK and Office adds the font effect to the QAT.

If you're using Word or PowerPoint 2003, you can add the effect to the toolbar as follows:

  1. From the Tools menu, choose Customize.
  2. Click the Commands tab.
  3. In the Categories list, choose Format.
  4. From the resulting Commands list, drag Subscript (or Superscript) to the toolbar and release it.

Thanks to reader, Lynda Sanders for prompting this quick tip!


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.


I wanted to find out how to write superscript and subscript in a Facebook comment.  But Ctrl/= simply enlarges the screen.  I think it might be good to add the information to your instruction that perhaps this is only for MS Word, or whatever it is for.  Thank you.


Could not find one yesterday and will be needing it more and more.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

in Excel 4 and Excel 5, I sued to use them so much I used Customise to put them on the standard tool bar. But not sure about if they are or where you find them in Office 2010 as I now use Libre Office and have them on the standard tool bar there. I prefer Libre Office as it's so much like the MS Office products prior to 2007 it's not funny, and so much easier to use, when you want to customise it.

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