How to Type an Exponent on a Keyboard

Use keyboard shortcuts to raise a number to its power in any document

What to Know

  • Use Alt codes on a Windows PC with a numeric keypad. For example, Alt + 0178 returns a superscript 2.
  • Use the Character Map in Windows or the Character Viewer in macOS.
  • Use the Superscript option for any number in an Android keyboard and Text Replacement in iOS.

This article will show how to type exponents on desktops and mobile devices. An exponent is also known as a superscript in word processing.

How to Make Exponents on Any Keyboard

No computer keyboard has a special button or shortcuts to quickly type exponents although mobile keyboards do make it a little easier. When working on a scientific or a mathematical document, look for the Superscript feature in the word processor. Microsoft Word, Pages in macOS, and presentation software like PowerPoint and Keynote have the superscript format.

You can also use the caret (^) symbol to represent an exponent in plain text as an alternate solution.

How to Type an Exponent on a Windows PC

On a Windows PC, the quickest method is to use Alt codes for typing an exponent. But you may have to rely on another workaround if your keyboard doesn't have a numeric keypad.

Use Alt Codes on Keyboards With a Numeric Keypad

You can use Alt key codes to insert exponents with the keyboard on a Windows PC. Follow these steps to type exponents on a PC with a numeric keypad.

  1. Place the insertion pointer where you need an exponent and select the Num lock key on the keyboard.

  2. Select and hold the Alt key on the numeric keypad.

  3. Type the alt code (0185) in sequence for exponent one using the numeric keypad. Similarly, use Alt + 0178 for exponent two and Alt + 0179 for exponent three.

  4. Each exponent uses a different numeric combination with the Alt key which you can easily find with a web search.


You may not be able to type exponents in Windows 11 without a numeric keypad. If the online keyboard doesn't seem to recognize the exponent codes, follow below for other workarounds to insert exponents on a Windows PC.

Use the Character Map

Windows has a Character map that helps you access different symbols and special characters not found on a keyboard. Use the Character Map to copy and paste superscript numbers for exponential calculations.

  1. In the Search bar, enter "character map".

  2. Select the result to open the Character Map. 

    Character Map app in Windows search
  3. Select a font (or use the default "Ariel") to display all the characters available for it.

  4. Scroll through the little tiles or enter "superscript" in the Search field to display the superscript available.

    If you don't see the Search field, select Advanced view to reveal more menu options.

    Advanced view and superscript in Windows Character Map
  5. Select the superscript number and use the Select button to make it appear in the Characters to copy field.

    Exponent and Select highlighted in Windows Character Map
  6. Select Copy and then paste it in the application you need it in.

    Copy in Windows Character Map

How to Type an Exponent on a Mac

macOS makes using exponents less of a hassle in the built-in apps like Notes, TextEdit, and Pages. In these apps, you can use the Baseline format to add superscripts which can act as exponents.

  1. Open Notes, Pages, TextEdit, or another native document processor, type the base number and the desired number for the exponent together. For instance, X2.

  2. Select the number you want to raise as an exponent.

  3. Select Format > Font > Baseline > Superscript.

    Superscript highlighted in macOS Format menu

When a text editor doesn't have the option to raise or lower numbers as exponents, copy the exponent from the Notes app or the Pages app, and paste it on the other document to see if the target document retains the formatting.


macOS also has a Character Viewer like Windows and you can use it to enter superscripts and create exponential expressions in any document.

How to Type an Exponent on an Android

An Android keyboard makes it easy to type any superscript. Unlike the iOS keyboard, the function is built into the numeric keys.

  1. Open the application where you want to type an exponent and tap the text field to display the keyboard.

  2. Select the ?123 keys to shift to the number keypad.

  3. Type the base number or a variable like "x".

  4. Press and hold on the number you want to select for the exponent.

  5. Select the superscript from the options that appear above the number.

    The ?123 button, exponent key, and exponents highlighted in Android

    How to Type an Exponent on an iPhone

    The default iOS keyboard doesn't have a feature to add exponents. You can use Text Replacement for occasional uses.

  6. Open Settings > General > Keyboard > Text Replacement.

  7. Select “+” in the top right corner.

  8. Go to a symbol generator website and create a superscript for the desired number.

  9. Copy the number.

  10. Under Phrase, paste the number which will act as the exponent.

  11. Under Shortcut, enter a shortcut (like "^2").

  12. Select Save.

  13. Use the shortcut in any text and repeat the steps to enter text replacements for other exponents.

    Text Replacement, Plus (+) icon, Phrase and Shortcut highlighted in iOS
  • How do I make exponents on a Chromebook keyboard?

    The easiest way to make exponents on a Chromebook is to use superscript in Google Docs, then copy and paste the exponent wherever you need it.

  • How do I type exponents in Word?

    You can type exponents in Word using font tools (Superscript), insert exponents as symbols, or use the Equation Editor.

  • How do I use superscript in Word?

    To use superscript in Word, highlight the text you want to appear as superscript, then go to the Home tab and select the Superscript () icon. If you're using Word Online, highlight your text and select the three dots > Superscript.

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