Superscript and subscript are types of formatting used to place text either slightly above (superscript) or slightly below (subscript) the surrounding text. But when should you use these types of formatting in your writing?\r\nWhat Is Superscript?\r\nSuperscript is text formatted to appear slightly above the regular text line:\r\nRegular text Superscript\r\nCommon uses for superscript formatting include:\r\n\r\n\tOrdinal numerals (e.g., 1st, 2nd, 3rd)\r\n\tCopyright and trademark symbols (e.g., \u00a9, TM, \u00ae)\r\n\tFootnote and endnote numbers\r\n\tMathematical functions (e.g., to denote an exponent)\r\n\tChemical symbols (e.g., to show charges of ions)\r\n\r\nWe\u2019ll look at each of these in more detail below.\r\nSuperscript in Ordinal Numbers\r\nOrdinal numbers indicate the position of something in a list or a sequence. When written as numerals, these numbers include the last two letters of the full word. And these last two letters are often formatted with superscript:\r\nFirst = 1st\r\nSecond = 2nd\r\nThird = 3rd\r\nThis is optional, though, so ordinal numerals do not have to be formatted with superscript (i.e., we could also write the above as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd).\r\nSome style guides specify how to present ordinals, so remember to check if you are using one. Otherwise, though, this is simply a matter of preference.\r\nCopyright and Trademark Symbols\r\nIntellectual property symbols, such as the copyright (\u00a9), trademark (TM), and registered trademark (\u00ae) symbols, are often formatted as superscript:\r\nThe Coca-Cola\u00ae corporation is pleased to announce a new product.\r\nTypically, it is only necessary to use these symbols the first time you mention a copyrighted or trademarked name in your writing. Using them every time can leave a document looking cluttered.\r\nFootnotes and Endnotes\r\nSuperscript numbers are used to indicate footnotes or endnotes:\r\nMelville\u2019s opening line sets up an immediate emotional ambience.8\r\nHere, the "8" would point to the eighth footnote\/endnote in the document. This might be a source citation, especially in academic writing, or it could just be extra information the author didn\u2019t want to include in the main text.\r\nIf you are using a footnote or endnote referencing system, check your style guide for advice on how to format citation numbers in the main text.\r\nSuperscript in Mathematics and Science\r\nSuperscript has several uses in math and science. The most common is to show an exponent (i.e., repeated multiplication of a number by itself, such as squaring or cubing a number). This is also known as a "power" number:\r\nWe can also write "four cubed" as 43.\r\nThe superscript number here, for instance, indicates the number of times you multiply the number by itself (i.e., 43 = 4 \u00d7 4 \u00d7 4 = 64).\r\nSuperscript has other specialist uses in math, including for derivatives. In the sciences, meanwhile, superscript formatting is sometimes used when writing out chemical symbols (e.g., for mass numbers or ionic charge). However, these are much rarer in day-to-day writing, so you will only need these if you\u2019re working in one of these subject areas.\r\nWhat Is Subscript? And When Should You Use It?\r\nSubscript is text formatted to appear slightly below the regular text line:\r\nRegular text Subscript\r\nSubscript is quite rare in writing, but it is used in chemical formulae, such as to show the number of atoms in a chemical compound:\r\nThe formula for water is H2O.\r\nThe subscript "2" in the formula above, for instance, tells us there are two hydrogen atoms in a water molecule (the lack of a number after the "O" means there is one oxygen atom in the molecule).\r\nLike superscript, subscript also has plenty of specialist uses in mathematics and the sciences. For instance, a subscripted number can indicate a different variable of the same type in a formula. Again, though, you are unlikely to encounter these in everyday writing.\r\nSuperscript and Subscript in Microsoft Word\r\nIn Microsoft Word, to format text as superscript or subscript:\r\n\r\n\tSelect the text you want to format with the cursor.\r\n\tGo to the Font section of the Home tab on the main ribbon.\r\n\tSelect either superscript (X2) or subscript (X2) as required.\r\n\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_43878" align="aligncenter" width="485"] The superscript and subscript buttons in Microsoft Word.[\/caption]\r\n\r\nThis will apply the formatting to the selected text. If you need to continue typing after this, remember to uncheck the superscript or subscript option.\r\nHopefully, you\u2019re now confident about using superscript and subscript in your writing. But if you\u2019d like any more help ensuring your writing is perfectly presented, why not submit a document for proofreading today?