Teaching and Learning with Technology

Computing With Accents and Foreign Scripts

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Superscript and Subscript

There are several approaches to displaying superscript and subscript text on the Web, and each have their uses depending on your needs.

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  1. HTML and CSS
  2. Using Unicode Values
  3. Unicode Chart - New Page
  4. Microsoft Word- New Page


For most purposes, you can use the <sup></sup> tag to create super script text and <sub></sub> to create sub-script text. See examples below:

Code: x<sup>x+1</sup>
Result: xx+1

Code: x<sub>i+1</sub>
Result: xi+1

Note: Although some Web standards professionals recommend avoiding these tags, they are an official XHTML standard.

CSS Styles and the SUP/SUB Tags

You change the CSS attributes of the <sup> and <sub> tags to improve line spacing, formatting and placement of characters. See references below:

All CSS Instead?

Some Web standards professionals recommend using CSS formatting instead the <sup> and <sub> tags on the theory that these tags are "presentational." The disadvantage to this approach is that if a user disables your stylesheet, the superscripts and subscripts will disappear.

However, if you are more comfortable with using the CSS attributes, you can refer to these pages.

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Using Unicode Values

Many common superscript and subscript characters have their own Unicode entries and entity codes. If your Web page is generated from a database or meant to be a searchable archive, the use of Unicode values may be preferable.

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Microsoft Word

See updated instructions on the Microsoft Office page.


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Tuesday, 04-Jun-2013 12:41:35 EDT