How to Put an Exponent in Google Docs

Putting an exponent in Google Docs is as easy as pie. All you need to do is click on the ‘Insert’ menu, select ‘Equation’, and then use the ‘^’ symbol to indicate an exponent. For example, to write “3 squared”, you would type ‘3^2’ in the equation box. After completing these steps, you’ll have a neatly formatted exponent in your document.

After you insert an exponent into your Google Docs, the text will appear slightly above the regular line of text and be smaller in size. This is because exponents are typically used to denote numbers raised to a particular power, which is a common notation in mathematical and scientific documents.


Ever felt the frustration of typing out math or science homework on a computer? It’s a common roadblock, especially when you hit the wall of trying to figure out how to write an exponent. Fear not, because Google Docs has got you covered. With Google Docs, you can easily add exponents to your documents, which is not only crucial for students and educators but also professionals in scientific fields.

This feature helps maintain the integrity and clarity of mathematical expressions, making your document look professional and easier to understand. Whether you’re crafting a technical paper, completing a math assignment, or creating a financial report, knowing how to input exponents is an essential skill. Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of how you can do this and why you should lean into Google Docs for your document creation needs.

Related: How to Subscript in Google Docs (An Easy 4 Step Guide)

A Step by Step Tutorial

Before we get into the steps, it’s good to know that following this tutorial will help you write exponents in your Google Docs quickly and efficiently, ensuring your documents are clear and professionally formatted.

Step 1: Open Google Docs and navigate to the ‘Insert’ menu.

You will find the ‘Insert’ menu at the top of your Google Docs interface.

In Google Docs, the ‘Insert’ menu is the gateway to a multitude of features, including tables, images, drawings, and, of course, equations. This is where you’ll begin your journey to inserting an exponent.

Step 2: Select ‘Equation’ from the dropdown menu.

Click on ‘Equation’ to insert a new equation box in your document.

Once you select ‘Equation,’ a new toolbar will appear with various mathematical symbols. The equation box is where you’ll type in your exponent.

Step 3: Type your base number in the equation box.

The base number is the number you want to raise to a power.

It’s important to type the base number before adding the exponent because this sets the foundation for your mathematical expression.

Step 4: Use the ‘^’ symbol followed by your exponent number.

Pressing the caret symbol ‘^’ followed by your exponent value will create your exponent.

This step is the core of writing exponents in Google Docs. The caret symbol is the universally recognized keyboard character for indicating an exponent.


Benefit 1: Simplifies Mathematical Expression

Using the exponent feature in Google Docs makes mathematical expressions cleaner and easier to read.

When you use exponents correctly, it removes the need for long-form or written-out explanations of powers, which makes your document neater and more concise.

Benefit 2: Professional Formatting

It ensures that your document adheres to professional and academic standards.

Having the correct formatting for mathematical expressions is essential in academic and professional settings. It reflects attention to detail and a grasp of proper documentation standards.

Benefit 3: Accessibility

Google Docs is accessible on most devices, making it easy to add exponents no matter where you are.

The convenience of Google Docs being cloud-based means that you can edit your documents across multiple devices, ensuring that you can always present your information correctly.


Drawback 1: Limited Functionality for Complex Equations

Google Docs may not be suitable for very complex equations that require advanced typesetting.

While Google Docs is great for basic and intermediate equations, it’s not a full-featured mathematical typesetting tool like LaTeX, which may be a limitation for some advanced users.

Drawback 2: Requires Internet Connection

You need an internet connection to access Google Docs and all its features.

Since Google Docs operates in the cloud, if you’re without an internet connection, you won’t be able to access your documents to edit them, which could be inconvenient.

Drawback 3: Learning Curve

There is a learning curve for users unfamiliar with inserting equations in Google Docs.

For those who are not tech-savvy, or for young students just getting acquainted with digital tools, there may be a bit of a learning curve to using these features effectively.

Additional Information

While we’ve covered the basic steps of inserting an exponent in Google Docs, there are some extra tips that can enhance your experience. For instance, once you’re familiar with using the equation tool, you’ll find that you can insert a variety of mathematical symbols and create complex formulas with ease. You can also edit the font size and style of your exponents to match the rest of your document.

If you need to use the same exponent multiple times throughout your document, Google Docs allows you to copy and paste the equation box, saving you time and ensuring consistency. Moreover, you should be aware of the keyboard shortcuts that can streamline your work even further. For example, pressing ‘Alt’ + ‘=’ will immediately insert an equation for you. Remember, practice makes perfect, and the more you use these features, the more efficient you’ll become at creating professionally formatted documents.


  1. Open Google Docs and navigate to the ‘Insert’ menu.
  2. Select ‘Equation’ from the dropdown menu.
  3. Type your base number in the equation box.
  4. Use the ‘^’ symbol followed by your exponent number.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use exponents in Google Sheets as well?

Yes, you can use exponents in Google Sheets using a similar caret symbol ‘^’ in the formula bar.

How do you write subscripts in Google Docs?

You can write subscripts in Google Docs by selecting ‘Format’, then ‘Text’, and clicking on ‘Subscript’.

What if the ‘^’ symbol doesn’t work?

If the caret symbol doesn’t work, try checking your keyboard settings or use the equation toolbar to insert an exponent manually.

Can I insert mathematical symbols other than exponents?

Absolutely, Google Docs’ equation feature allows you to insert a wide array of mathematical symbols.

Is there a way to save commonly used equations?

Yes, you can copy and paste the equation box within your document, or use ‘Add-ons’ to find tools that help you save and reuse equations.


In the digital age, the ability to accurately and efficiently input mathematical notation in documents is essential. Whether you’re a student, teacher, or professional, knowing how to put an exponent in Google Docs can save you time and ensure that your documents are clearly understood and properly formatted. Despite some limitations, Google Docs offers a straightforward and accessible toolset for handling basic mathematical expressions, including exponents.

With practice, you can quickly become proficient in using these tools to enhance your work. Remember, the key is to explore and get comfortable with the features available to you. Embrace the power of Google Docs, and let it elevate your document creation to the next level.

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