If you use a lot of sources in your PowerPoint presentations that need footnotes, or if you’re a prolific user of mathematical formulae, you’re going to need to know how to make your text superscript and subscript in PowerPoint. Trouble is, when you’re most in a hurry you can never seem to find where the buttons are hiding. Fear not, here are three ways you can try to have these tools readily available in your arsenal for when you need them most!

Method 1: Use the ‘Home’ tab

When you open up PowerPoint you’ll notice it opens the ‘Home’ tab in the ribbon at the top of your window. There are a number of font options ready and waiting for you to try, but sadly superscript and subscript aren’t part of the chosen few, so here’s what to do:

  1. Expand the font options by clicking the symbol in the bottom right of the font section of your home window.
  2. Check the box for either superscript or subscript in the window that will open up.

use the font sub-menu to access options to make text superscript and subscript

Method 2: Superscript and subscript keyboard shortcuts

If you use superscript or subscript a lot, you might want to know the keyboard shortcut to save you rooting around in sub-menus.

  1. Highlight the text you want to make superscript or subscript.
  2. Use one of the following shortcuts:
  • Superscript: Ctrl + Shift + Plus
  • Subscript: Ctrl + Plus
  1. When you’ve written your superscript or subscript text, hit the shortcut again and continue typing as normal.

superscript and subscript in powerpoint

In fact, if this has whet your appetite for keyboard shortcuts, we have a handy cheat sheet you can download and use.

Method 3: Add superscript and subscript options to your Quick Access Toolbar

There is an option to have both the superscript and subscript options at a mere one click away, and readily accessible at all times of using PowerPoint, and that is to add them to your Quick Access Toolbar.

The Quick Access Toolbar is a ribbon of tools that sits above or below the main PowerPoint ribbon and saves you searching in sub-menus to find the functionality you use most frequently.

You can create your own by following these steps:

  1. Right click on the main PowerPoint ribbon and select ‘Customize Quick Access Toolbar’.
  2. Add the commands you use the most – including superscript and subscript. Both of these options are found in the ‘All commands’ drop down and listed alphabetically.
  3. Once you click ‘OK’ the toolbar will show above your ribbon. We think it’s easier to access below the ribbon, so right click again and choose the option ‘Show Quick Access Toolbar Below the Ribbon’.

Add superscript and subscript shortcuts to your Quick Access Toolbar

However! If you think this sounds like quite a laborious task in order to pull out your most-frequently-used tools, we have a Quick Access Toolbar that our PowerPoint experts use every day, and it’s ready for you to download and import. Click here for your download, which includes step-by-step instructions to get you started. Not only will you have your superscript and subscript options in one handy place, but there’s plenty of other great shortcuts to hack your way to PowerPoint efficiency.

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Written by

Hannah Harper

Principal consultant

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  1. Image of Elisha Mabunda Elisha Mabunda says:

    I am glad I bumped into this web page. It is great for productivity

  2. Image of Harikrishnan Kodungallur Harikrishnan Kodungallur says:

    Thanks a lot. Adding the subscript and superscript buttons from the quick access toolbar method really worked for my older version of powerpoint. Actually it saved me a lot of time from copying and pasting chemical equations from microsoft word. First I tried key board shortcuts, but it didn’t work for me. Other methods are highly recommended.

  3. Image of Oluwabukola Oluwabukola says:


  4. Image of Ayesha Ayesha says:

    Thank you so much for your help. It really saved a lot of time for me. I couldn’t figure it out all by myself.

  5. Image of sanket sanket says:

    helpful…..very good…

  6. Image of Adel Adel says:

    Thanks a lot it is really helpful

  7. Image of Aditi mulye Aditi mulye says:

    thank you very much..! all the methods u suggested are very much useful ,as i have to write chemical reactions frequently..

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