How To Insert Subscripts Using Google Docs

There are certain instances in life when you’ll be required to insert special characters in your outputs, most especially if it involves formulas and numbers. You most probably have encountered the use of subscripts and superscripts, particularly during Math lessons, where you’ll have to get the square or cube of a certain number. 

Google Docs

A lot are still unaware of how to make such numbers appear with small numbers hanging either above or below them. If you’re one of them, then say no more! This will serve as your guide for you to achieve such a format.

Adding subscripts in Google Docs can be done through three different methods — from the Format menu, through inserting special characters, and through keyboard shortcuts. Before proceeding to those methods, ensure to accomplish these following steps first to successfully apply the aforementioned methods:

1. Go to the Google Docs’ website.

To start, proceed to your commonly used web browser and navigate to the Google Docs website. Make sure that your account is signed in before you begin.

2. Select the document that you wish to edit.

Upon logging into your account, you’ll see a list of documents that you’ve previously created. From there, browse them and select and open the one that you wish to edit.

Using the Format Menu

Commonly, this is the method used in adding subscripts in documents, most especially for people who make use of the menu bar in terms of formatting their works. To successfully insert subscripts in your document, simply follow the steps below.

1. Highlight the text that you want to format.

Once you’ve opened the document that you have chosen, scroll through it and locate the text that you want to format with a subscript. Make sure to highlight the entirety of the text to avoid formatting errors. 

2. Click the “Format” menu.

Navigate your cursor towards the menu bar and click the “Format” menu, where a drop-down list will appear. You’ll easily be able to spot this as the menu bar is located on the upper portion of your screen. There you’ll find other menus such as File, Edit, View, Insert, Tools, Add-ons, and Help.

3. Navigate your cursor down to the “Text” submenu. 

Clicking the “Format” menu will make a drop-down list appear, where another set of submenus can be found such as Text, Paragraph styles, Align & indent, Line spacing, Columns, Bullet & numbering, etc. From there, navigate your cursor to “Text,” where another list will appear. 

4. Click on the “Subscript” from the list.

The second drop-down list that will appear contains several text formats, including subscript. Navigate your cursor on the list, then locate and select “Subscript.” Note that clicking on this will immediately format your highlighted text; therefore, check if you have applied it correctly. 

Using Special Characters

Aside from the previous method of inserting subscripts, you can also make use of the “insert special characters” feature in Google Docs. This is most commonly used for adding other symbols and trademarks. Add subscripts using this method by following the steps below.

1. Place the cursor wherever you want to insert the subscript in your document.

Make sure to locate where you want to insert your subscript, then place your cursor there. Most commonly, subscripts are placed after the text that you want to add a subscript with, so make sure to put it after your chosen text. 

2. Click on the “Insert” menu.

Similar to the previous method, navigate your way to the menu bar located on the upper portion of your screen. From there, instead of clicking on “Format” like earlier, you should select “Insert” instead. Again, a drop-down list will appear upon doing this.

3. Select “Special characters” from the list.

The drop-down list will display various submenus. Browse from the list, then locate and click on “Special characters.” A pop-up window will appear after successfully doing this.

4. Select “Subscript” from the second or third drop-down menu.

In the pop-up window, you’ll see two to three drop-down menus in the upper corner. If there are only two, click on the second one, then select “Subscript” from it. Whereas, if there are three, click on the last one.

5. Choose or draw the subscript that you wish to insert.

Upon selecting “Subscript” from the drop-down list, a variety of characters will be displayed. Browse through them and choose the character that you want to insert as a subscript. If you couldn’t find the character that you wish to use, you can draw your own on the box labeled with “Draw a symbol here.” 

To check if your subscript has been inserted, just close the pop-up window, and you’ll immediately see that your changes have been applied.

Using a Keyboard Shortcut

If you aren’t fond of clicking and locating things from the menu bar, you can easily insert a subscript using a quick keyboard shortcut. Just follow these two simple steps below, and you’re good to go!

1. Highlight the text that you want to format.

Just like the first method, you’re required to highlight the text that you wish to insert a subscript with when using a keyboard shortcut. Again, be certain that you’ve highlighted the correct text properly.

2. Press Ctrl or Command and the comma key simultaneously. 

When using Windows, locate the Ctrl and comma keys on your keyboard, then press them both at once. If you’re on a Mac, you can easily apply this format by pressing Command and the comma key simultaneously. After using this shortcut, your format will immediately be applied. 


Stumbling upon this guide would’ve probably made you realize that inserting a subscript isn’t as hard as you think. In fact, there are various ways for you to achieve adding this format into your document. All you have to do is to follow the aforementioned steps and absorb them by heart, then you’ll instantly get a hold of it.