How to make a small number in Excel

If you are an avid user of Microsoft Office, then you have an idea of small numbers. Most users sometimes wonder why a particular feature may be in one Microsoft Office application and missing in another one. In this case, the small number is one of them. When working with Ms. Word, it is easier to find the small number in the main ribbon than in Ms. Excel.

What is a small number? You may ask. A small number can be a superscript or a subscript. In Excel, a superscript is a text or number formatting set above the normal baseline, while a subscript is a text or number formatting set below the normal text baseline. For example,
. There are different ways to make small numbers and texts in an Excel worksheet. These include;

  • Ribbon guide commands( works on Microsoft Word only)
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Font dialog box

This article will look at the different ways to add a small number in Excel. Let's get started.

Making a small number in Excel using keyboard shortcuts

You can easily make small numbers in your Excel worksheet through your PC's or Mac keyboard. It is achieved through a combination of keyboard shortcuts. Here is what you have to do.

Subscript shortcuts on Mac & PC

1. Select your text by double-clicking on the cell or press F2 to enter edit mode.'

2. On your keyboard, press Ctrl + 1 or Ctrl + Shift + F for the Format Cells dialog box.

3. Press Alt + B for the Subscript checkbox

4. When done, press the enter button and write the number you want to appear as a subscript

Superscript shortcuts

1. Select the text or number you want to superscript on your worksheet.

2. On your keyboard, press Ctrl + 1or Ctrl + Shift + F, which will open the Format Cells dialog box.

3. Next, press Alt + E to tick the Superscript checkbox.

4. Lastly, hit Enter.

Remember, these keyboard shortcuts cannot be applied to numbers as this would convert numbers to strings. It means you cannot use the results for any calculations.

Making a small number using the equation method

To enter a small number to a number value can be tricky but manageable. You can achieve this through the Insert Equation method. Below are the steps to follow;

1. Click the Insert tab in the main ribbon menu options.

2. Click on the 'Symbols' group and select the 'Equation' icon.

3. Click 'Script' from the 'Structures' group and select either superscript or subscript.

4. Fill out the boxes with an appropriate number, then click OK.

Font dialog box

You can make small numbers in Excel outside the mathematical equations tolls through the Format Cells dialog box. Here are the steps to follow

1. Select the numbers in a cell or cell range that you would like to make small numbers.

2. On the Home tab, there is a Font group. Click the Font Settings dialog box launcher.

3. Under Effects, check the Superscript or Subscript box, depending on which one you want to apply.

4. Lastly, click OK


If you don't like the hustle of going through all these steps of using the Format Cells dialogue box, you can directly pin both the superscript and subscript in the Quick Access Toolbar.

Click on the downward arrow beside the redo icon and select 'More Commands' from the drop-down list. On the open window, find the superscript and subscript icons. Check the Add box and hit OK.


As you can see, there are a variety of different ways to create small numbers in Excel. The font dialog box found in the main ribbon gives you the most options and is more reliable. The article above helps you decide which method best suits you.