Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Superscript and Subscript at the Same Place.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 16, 2021)
Tom needs a way of having a subscripted character and a superscripted character appear in the same space, so that one is exactly over the other. He tried using the Equation Editor but decided that he didn't like the results and needed to find a different solution.
There are a couple of things you can try. First of all, you can create two small text boxes and place them in close proximity to each other. Adjust the box size, box position, and font size, as desired to get the effect you want.
Another possible solution is to adjust the formatting of two adjacent characters. Follow these general steps:
Figure 1. The Character Spacing tab of the Font dialog box.
You may need to experiment with the spacing amount entered in step 6; different point sizes may be required for different typefaces and font sizes.
A third solution is to use the EQ (equation) field that has been available in Word since before the Equation Editor was around. You can follow these steps:
You can, if desired, also use the \o switch with the equation field. Just replace the \a with \o (step 2) and then superscript the 1 and subscript the 2. When you collapse the field, you may get just want you want in your display.
There is one "gotcha" with creating these types of field: If the field appears near the end of a line, Word will wrap the text right after the field and before the next word. This may not seem like a big deal, unless you want to make the field results stay with the following word. It is virtually impossible to do this with such a field, however.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10896) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Superscript and Subscript at the Same Place.
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