Google Docs is a popular word processing software that allows you to create various documents online for free. One useful math function it supports is exponents (also known as superscript or power). Exponents indicate that a base number is being raised to a particular power or exponent. For example, 23 means 2 raised to the 3rd power, which equals 8.

Knowing how to insert exponents properly in Google Docs can be helpful for writing math and science papers, doing homework assignments, creating math lesson plans if you’re a teacher, and various other use cases. In this article, I’ll explain three easy ways to do exponents in Google Docs:

## Using Superscript

The quickest way is to use the Superscript formatting option:

- Type the base number that you want to make into an exponent. For example, type “2”.
- Click on “Format” in the top menu bar and select “Text”.
- Choose “Superscript” from the dropdown menu.
- Type the exponent you want to raise the base number to. For example, type “3” to make 23.

![Superscript menu in Google Docs]

The base number will now be formatted in superscript automatically, creating your exponent.

*Advantages:*

- Very fast and simple process.
- Keeps both the base number and exponent neatly formatted.

*Disadvantages:*

- If you want something more complex than a single base and exponent, this method is inconvenient.

## Using the Insert Equation Tool

For exponents that require more advanced math notation and formatting, use Google Docs’ built-in equation editor:

- Place your cursor where you want the exponent to be inserted.
- Click on “Insert” in the top menu bar and choose “Equation”.
- Type your exponent using the format base^exponent. For example, type “2^3” to make 23.

![Insert Equation menu in Google Docs]

The equation editor lets you create exponents and other math expressions with proper spacing, sizing, parentheses, and more.

*Advantages:*

- Handles complex exponents and math formatting.
- More control over look of equations.

*Disadvantages:*

- Slower than the superscript method.
- Requires learning equation syntax.

## Using the Keyboard Shortcut

An even quicker way than superscript is using the keyboard shortcut:

- Type the base number.
- Press Ctrl + . (Control key and period key) on your keyboard to make it superscript.
- Type the exponent number.

So for our example of 23, you would type “2”, then “Ctrl + .”, then “3”.

*Advantages:*

- Extremely fast way to create basic exponents.
- Keeps your hands on the keyboard.

*Disadvantages:*

- Only works for simple base and exponent pairs.
- Remembering the keyboard shortcut can have a learning curve.

## Examples of Exponents in Google Docs

Here are some examples of exponents typed properly in Google Docs using the different methods:

- 253 typed using superscript
- (2+3)^4 typed using the equation editor
- 5^9 typed using the keyboard shortcut

And this is what they look like rendered:

- 253
- (2+3)^4
- 59

As you can see, each method has its own pros and cons. But thankfully between superscript, the equation tool, and keyboard shortcuts, you’re covered for any type of exponent you need in Google Docs.

## Why Use Exponents in Google Docs?

Here are some of the most common reasons you may need exponents in your Google Doc documents:

- Writing mathematical and scientific papers
- Doing math homework assignments
- Creating math lesson plans and worksheets as a teacher
- Showing exponential financial growth in business proposals
- Discussing exponential virus spread models
- Calculating compound interest rates
- Any situation where you need to denote a number being raised to a power

For all these use cases, being able to insert exponents properly is essential.

## Exponent Rules and Facts

Before using exponents in your documents, you may need a refresher on some rules governing them:

- Any number raised to the power of 0 equals 1 (except 0^0 which is undefined)
- Any number raised to the 1st power equals itself
- To multiply exponents with the same base, add their exponents
- To divide exponents with the same base, subtract their exponents
- To raise an exponent to another exponent, multiply their exponents
- A negative exponent makes the base number a reciprocal

These are helpful to keep in mind when typing exponents in Google Docs and solving math problems in general.

## Troubleshooting Exponents Issues

Sometimes exponents don’t show up properly in Google Docs. Here are fixes for common exponent problems:

**Superscripted text looks small and raised but lacks special formatting:**

- Use the equation editor instead for proper sizing and spacing.

**Equation editor throws syntax errors for exponents:**

- Double check that your exponent expression is in the correct format base^exponent.

**Keyboard shortcut makes text small but doesn’t superscript it:**

- Select the text and use the superscript button in the Format > Text menu.

**Pasted or imported exponents show up incorrectly:**

- Re-type the exponents using one of the methods in this article.

Following the steps here should help you avoid any exponent issues!

## Conclusion

Whether you want tiny exponents for scientific papers or giant exponents for classroom posters, Google Docs has you covered. Mastering superscript, the equation tool, and keyboard shortcuts gives you multiple options for creating exponents at any size.

Apply these exponent tips next time you’re collaborating on math homework, designing worksheets, or trying to replicate the math you’d normally write by hand. Exponents are one of those small but mighty formatting touches that can level up the quality of your documents.

I hope this article helped explain clearly how to do exponents in Google Docs. Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions!