Superscripts and subscripts are letters and numbers that appear slightly above or below the main text, respectively. Each day, we encounter and use superscripts in various ways.
Examples of superscripts that we encounter daily appear in ordinal numbers such as 1st or 4th; the “degree” symbol in temperature °F or °C; and in mathematics when working with an exponent (power number) as in 33.
Here, are a two more examples of superscripts that are not regularly encountered unless you are reading or writing an academic paper that conforms to MLA style guide or you are a musician.
An example of a superscript symbol in academic writing can be found at the end of the following sentence. That number that corresponds to the same number of the Works Cited section2.
In music theory and keyboard harmony, the Roman numeral indicates the triad built on the corresponding scale degree while the Arabic numerals indicate chord inversion, and if there are more than three different pitches in the chord, e.g., I6, ii4, V7.
Subscripts are less common than superscripts and usually not encountered daily unless you work in certain fields. One area where subscripts are common in chemistry used to indicate the number of atoms or protons, respectively N2 or 8O.
Music is another field where subscripts occur regularly. In music, subscripts indicate an altered cord as in♭III. In the field of computer science, subscripts occur regularly to indicate a number system as in 2010.
The combination of the superscript and the subscript is not encountered daily. The combined superscript and subscript is limited to certain disciplines like math and chemistry.
Examples of Combined Superscript and Subscript Symbols
For that reason, some may not have encountered the combined superscript-subscript symbol before. The images A1 through A4 are examples of combined superscript-subscript symbols.
Such professionals include academic writers, chemistry, professional mathematicians, astronomers, and physicists. Rest easy, you’ve come to the right place. In the following section, we’ll create simultaneous superscript and subscript symbols in MS. Word.
Creating Combined Superscripts and Subscripts
Now, I’ll show you how I created the model (See B1) for this how-to article.
4. That tells Word to superscript the highlighted character, the number nine in our case.
7. The next step is to make the numbers two and four subscripts. Begin by highlighting the number two (See Image B6).
24. If you highlighted the superscript number 3, then, it will look like this
25. Go to the “Spacing” drop-down menu, select “Condensed”.
26. Condense by six points (6 pts).
27. Click “OK.”
28. Repeat steps to move the subscript number 4 beneath superscript number 5.
29. All the numbers are vertically aligned correctly, but there is too much space between columns. Place the cursor in front of the superscript number 3 and press the delete key one time.
30. Move the third next to the second.
31. Now, move the letter U a single space left.
32. To improve aesthetic, reduce the superscripts and subscripts in font size to complement the U.
Making the combined superscript-subscript symbol in MS Word is not difficult but there are a few important things to remember. The first is the order of the four key functional tools (superscript, subscript, raised, and condensed).
The second is to highlight the superscript symbol to the immediate left of the subscript symbol before repositioning (condensing) it.
Finally, although raising by 7 points and condensing by 6 points has worked well for me, you may need to experiment when using the raising and condensing commands due to the small differences that exist between fonts.
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