Subscript in Excel

How To Do Subscripts in Excel?

Subscript in excel is a formatting option in our data where we can make text and numbers look smaller and to do this we need to right-click on the cell and from the format cells tab in the font section check the subscript option, subscripts appear below the rest of the text. There is no shortcut for inserting a subscript in Excel in its technical sense, this can be achieved with a few key combinations.

Shortcut for Subscript in Excel

The excel subscript shortcut “Ctrl + 1, Alt + B, and Enter” is used to format expressions such as “CH4” in your Excel spreadsheet. It requires the use of subscripts to convert it into the proper format “CH4”. 

Subscript Shortcut in Excel

How to use This Excel Subscript Shortcut? (3 Easy Steps)

Please be careful not to click the keys at once. Each key combination should be pressed and released in turn:

Below are the steps for using excel subscript shortcut –

  1. Choose a character or more that you want to format.

  2. To Open the Format Cells dialog, press Ctrl + 1.

  3. Then press Alt+B to Select the Subscript option and hit the Enter key to apply the formatting and close the dialog.


Let’s understand the working of Subscript with the below examples. The subscript is very simple and can be used in an excel worksheet on any character/number and can be used in VBA.

You can download this Subscripts Excel Template here – Subscripts Excel Template

Example #1

You can apply the subscript by using the below two methods in any cell of an excel sheet.

Method 1:
  • Step 1: Double click on cell A2 and select the value “2.”
Subscript in Excel Example 1
  • Step 2: Then right-click, and select Format cells
Subscript in Excel Example 1-1
  • Step 3: The Format Cells dialog box appears
Subscript in Excel Example 1-2
  • Step 4: On the Font tab, under the Effect Checkmark on subscript, then click on Ok
Subscript in Excel Example 1-3
  • Step 5: Then it will convert the H2O to H­2O
Subscript in Excel Example 1-4
Method 2:

The second method is to select a cell and the work directly in the formula bar.

  • Step 1: As before, carefully select the text you’d like to format. Then use Format Cells to apply subscript as you like.
Subscript in Excel Example 1 (method 2)
  • Step 2: You can reverse or remove the subscript formatting by selecting the cell, the access Format Cells, and clear the appropriate checkbox.
Subscript in Excel Example 1-1 (method 2)

Example #2

In this example, we are applying the subscript to CH4.

Subscript in Excel Example 2-1

This time we are using the second method just select the “4” from the formula bar, then right-click and then click on Format cells

Subscript in Excel Example 2

(Format Cells dialog box appears) then checkmark on Subscript; that’s it.

Subscript in Excel Example 2-2

Now the output will be CH­4.

Subscript in Excel Example 2-3

Example #3

A subscript is also used to distinguish between different types of subatomic particles. Thus electron, muon, and tau neutrinos are denoted νe, νμ and ντ.

Let’s convert ve, Vu, and vτ to νe, νμ, and ντ in excel.

Subscript in Excel Example 3
  • Open the Format Cells dialog by pressing Ctrl + 1 or right-click the selection and choose Format Cells.
Subscript in Excel Example 3-1
  • In the Format Cells dialog box, go to the Font tab, and select Subscript under Effects.
Subscript in Excel Example 3-2
  • Click OK to save the change and close the dialog.
Subscript in Excel Example 3-4

Example #4

You can also convert the whole-cell text to subscript.

Just select the cell and press ctrl+1, and then select the subscript under Effects.

How to use a keyboard shortcut to convert the selected cell text to subscript at once.

  • Press Ctrl + Shift + F to open the format cell
Example 4
  • Press ALT + B; it will automatically select the subscript option under the Effects and hit enter. Then text for the selected cell will automatically be converted to the subscript.
Example 4-1

this will result

Example 4-2

Subscript using VBA Code

Suppose we have the text in the Sheet1 and in the D2 cell, then apply the subscript by using the below VBA codeVBA CodeVBA code refers to a set of instructions written by the user in the Visual Basic Applications programming language on a Visual Basic Editor (VBE) to perform a specific more.

Vba step 1
Vba step 1
  • Step 2: Create a function with any name and apply the below code, then run this macro to convert the D2 cell value to subscript.
Vba step 2

Sub Subscripts ()

Range(“D2”).Characters(2, 1).Font.Subscript = True

MsgBox “D2 cell value in now in subscripts.”

End Sub

The result will be:

Vba step 3- result

Things to Remember

  • Adding subscripts to Excel is usually a simple matter of a font setting, but you may run into limitations when adding subscripts to cells containing numbers or excel formulas. You can work around this limitation by converting your data to text before adding the subscripts.

Recommended Articles

This has been a guide to Subscript in Excel. Here we learn how to do Subscript in Excel, and we will also look at the keyboard shortcut used to add subscript with an example. You may also look at these useful functions in excel –

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