Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Superscripts in Custom Formats.

Superscripts in Custom Formats

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 15, 2017)

When working in Excel, you can easily format text so that it contains superscripts, subscripts, or whatever other formatting tricks you want. You use the Format Cells dialog box (Ctrl+Shift+F) to make these font modifications. This dialog box is not available when you are defining custom formats, however. (You can't use the tools on the Font tab of the Format Cells dialog box while you are defining a custom format on the Number tab of the Format Cells dialog box.) What if you want to place a superscript in your custom formats?

The answer is to use some of the special font characters available to Windows users. Using these characters you can easily insert superscripted numbers, as long as they are the numbers 0, 1, 2, or 3. Simply use the following shortcuts, where you hold down the Alt key as you type the numbers on the numeric keypad:

Superscript Shortcut
0 Alt+0186
1 Alt+0185
2 Alt+0178
3 Alt+0179

These shortcuts work if you are using the Arial font in your worksheet, which is the default. If you are using some other font, the character codes to create the superscripted numbers may be different. In that case, you will need to use the Windows Character Map accessory to figure out what shortcut keys to use to get the results you want. (On my Windows XP system, I can access the Character Map accessory by choosing Start | All Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Character Map. It may differ on your version of Windows. You may also need to install the Character Map using Windows Setup program if you cannot find it on your system.) When using the Character Map, you can select a symbol and see in the lower-right corner of the program window what the numeric keypad shortcut key is for the character.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8665) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Superscripts in Custom Formats.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Spacing After Sentences

Word can check to see if you have a consistent number of spaces at the end of your sentences.

Discover More

Working with Elapsed Time

Work with times in a worksheet and you will eventually want to start working with elapsed times. Here's an explanation of ...

Discover More

Saving Documents as Read-Only by Default

When you save your documents, you can specify that they be saved in a "read-only" format so that they cannot be changed as ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Handling Negative Numbers in a Complex Custom Format

Custom formats are great for defining how a specific value in a cell should look. They aren't that great at doing complex ...

Discover More

Saving Custom Formats

While the implementation of custom formats in Excel is not terribly robust, you can still achieve some amazing results with ...

Discover More

Creating Two-Line Custom Formats

Creating custom formats is a very powerful way to display information exactly as you want it to appear. Most custom formats ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 8 - 3?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.