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: Inserting a Radical Symbol.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 6, 2016)
A radical is a mathematical symbol used to denote "roots" of a value. The most common radical is used to denote a square root. The typical method of inserting a radical is to hold down the Alt key as you type 251 on the numeric keypad. Release the Alt key, and the symbol appears.
Of course, the appearance of the radical (or even whether it appears at all) depends on the font used in the cell. The Alt+251 method works for most normal fonts, but some fonts may not include the radical symbol (in which case it won't appear) or may have the symbol mapped to a different character in the font. In that case, the best way to insert the symbol is to use the Symbol dialog box to search through the desired font and find the radical.
You can also use the Windows Character Map program to find the radical, copy it to the Clipboard, and then paste it into Excel.
All of the methods described so far are great if the only thing you want in the cell is the radical. You can, however, format a cell so that the radical symbol is displayed just to the left of whatever value is in the cell. Perhaps the easiest way to apply this format to a cell is to use a macro, as shown here:
Sub Radical() ActiveCell.NumberFormat = ChrW(8730) & "General" End Sub
Select the cell you want to format, then run the macro. (You can see how this custom format is handled by Excel if you run the macro and then display the Format Cells dialog box.)
ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (12104) 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: Inserting a Radical Symbol.
Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!
Copy a formula from one place to another and Excel helpfully adjusts the cell references within the formula. That is, it ...Discover More
Got some text that is 'run together' and needs spaces inserted to improve readability? There are a variety of approaches ...Discover More
Sometimes you have too much information in a cell and you need to "pare down" what is there to get to the info you really ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.