How to Do a Subscript in Word: Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

how to do a subscript in word

Subscript is a formatting option in Microsoft Word that allows you to make text appear smaller and lower than the main text line, like the notation for chemical formulas (H₂O). While it might seem a bit tricky at first, it’s actually quite simple! In this article, I’ll guide you through the steps on how to do a subscript in Word, and share some tips to make your document editing smoother.

How to Do a Subscript in Word

In this section, we’ll break down the process of adding a subscript to your text in Word. Follow these steps to format your text effectively.

Step 1: Open Your Word Document

First and foremost, open the Word document where you want to insert the subscript.

Make sure your document is ready and you’ve positioned your cursor where you need the subscript text. Having your document set up beforehand will save you time.

Step 2: Type the Main Text

Type the text that you want to appear normally.

For example, if you’re writing a chemical formula, type the elements before and after the subscript portion like "H2O".

Step 3: Highlight the Text for Subscript

Select the text you want to convert to subscript.

Click and drag your mouse over the specific text, or use the Shift and arrow keys to highlight the characters that need to be in subscript.

Step 4: Open the Font Dialog Box

Press "Ctrl" + "D" to open the Font dialog box.

This box contains various text formatting options, including the subscript feature.

Step 5: Apply the Subscript Formatting

Check the "Subscript" box in the Font dialog box, and then click "OK".

This action will convert your highlighted text to subscript, making it appear lower and smaller than the surrounding text.

After completing these steps, you will see the selected text in subscript form. It will look just like the small numbers you see in chemical equations or mathematical formulas.

Tips For Using Subscript in Word

  • Shortcut Key: Use "Ctrl" + "=" to quickly apply subscript without opening the Font dialog box.
  • Consistency: Always use the same method for all subscripts in your document for a consistent look.
  • Subscript in Equations: For complex equations, consider using Word’s equation editor.
  • Undo Subscript: If you need to remove the subscript, simply uncheck the "Subscript" box in the Font dialog box.
  • Formatting: Ensure that your subscript text is legible and doesn’t blend too much with the main text.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I remove a subscript in Word?

To remove a subscript, highlight the subscript text, open the Font dialog box with "Ctrl" + "D", and uncheck the "Subscript" option. Click "OK" to apply the changes.

Can I use subscript in headers or footers?

Yes, you can use subscript in any part of your Word document, including headers and footers. Just follow the same steps to apply the subscript formatting.

What if the subscript option is grayed out?

If the subscript option is grayed out, ensure that you have highlighted the text you want to format. If the problem persists, try restarting Word or your computer.

Can I use subscript with other formatting options?

Yes, subscript can be combined with other formatting options like bold, italics, and different fonts. Just highlight the text and apply multiple formatting options as needed.

Is there a difference between subscript and superscript?

Yes, subscript makes text appear lower and smaller, while superscript makes text appear higher and smaller. Both options are available in the Font dialog box.


  1. Open your Word document.
  2. Type the main text.
  3. Highlight the text for subscript.
  4. Open the Font dialog box with "Ctrl" + "D".
  5. Check the "Subscript" box and click "OK".


Understanding how to do a subscript in Word can make your documents more precise and professional, especially when dealing with scientific or mathematical content. Whether you’re writing chemical formulas, mathematical expressions, or footnotes, the ability to use subscript effectively is a valuable skill.

While the initial steps may seem a bit involved, with practice, you’ll find it to be a quick and intuitive process. Remember to use the keyboard shortcuts to save time and ensure consistency throughout your document.

If you need more help with Word, there are plenty of tutorials and resources available online. Explore them to become even more proficient in using this powerful word processing tool. Happy editing!