The squared symbol is really common in mathematics. If you need to write math equations or math problems, you will want to be able to type this symbol on your Mac, but where is it? If you look at all the keys on your Mac’s keyboard, you definitely won’t see it there.
Unfortunately, unlike other special characters, there’s no special key combination that you can use specifically for the squared symbol in every application. In this case, you must change the font size of the 2 character to superscript, giving you the squared symbol.
My name is Eric, and as an engineer, I often need to include equations in my writing, which often include the squared symbol. While typing this symbol is not as easy as just pressing a sequence of keys, it’s still not that difficult to do, and I can show you how.
Keep reading below if you would like to learn more about how to type the squared symbol and about superscripts in general. I will show you the basics of doing this so that you can figure out how to type the squared symbol in almost any application.
- Is It a Character or a Symbol?
- 1. Use Superscript to Type the Squared Symbol
- 2. SuperScript Shortcuts
- 3. Use the Emoji Popup
- 4. The Old Fashion Method
Is It a Character or a Symbol?
As I mentioned above, no key or default key combination will insert the squared symbol into your text. That’s because it’s not a specific symbol or a character? It’s a font that shrinks the size of the 2 character and places it in the upper left section of the character space.
The superscript font or format can be used in most text editors and text fields, but the method to format it may differ depending on your application. For example, Google Docs has it under the Format->Text->Superscript menu, while The Apple Notes application has it under Format > Font > Baseline > Superscript.
As you can see, there are different methods depending on your application. I can’t cover all of them here, but the key is to look for something in formatting called superscript.
With that being said, there is one way to insert it as a character, and that is to use the emoji table, which we will cover later in this article, but in the next section, I will show you how this works with most common Mac applications in which you can format text.
1. Use Superscript to Type the Squared Symbol
The superscript font or format is what is usually used to type the squared symbol. As I mentioned above, it can be slightly different in each application, but the key is finding the superscript font or format in whatever application you use.
Many macOS applications, such as Note, use the same method, and this is the most common, so I will use this example in the steps shown below.
Step 1: Type your Text
Type the text on which you wish to have the squared symbol and include a 2 next to that text.
Step 2: Highlight or Select the 2
Step 3: Right-click on the Selected 2 to Bring up the Context Menu
Step 4: On the Context Menu, select Font->Baseline->Superscript
Once you click on Superscript, it will change the 2 to the squared (2) symbol.
The Note app uses the menu selections shown above to get to the superscript format. Still, you can use whatever menu selection gets you to superscript in your application. It will normally be under something like format or font.
2. SuperScript Shortcuts
I stated in the beginning that there is no special key or key combination that you can use to specifically insert the squared symbol, but some applications do have a shortcut key for the subscript format.
If you noticed in the Google Docs example above, it shows that the COMMAND+. key combination can be pressed to convert a character to the superscript font. Using this method, you can select the 2 character in your text, then hit the COMMAND and . keys simultaneously, and it will change it to the squared symbol.
Not every application has this feature, but if it does, it will normally be shown on the menu, as you can see in Google Docs.
This type of shortcut feature can make converting the 2 character to the squared symbol quick and easy.
3. Use the Emoji Popup
There is one more way to type the squared symbol, and this method is more like inserting a special character because it involves using the emoji popup menu or emoji keyboard. To do this, click in the location you wish to insert the symbol.
Now press the CONTOL+COMMAND+SPACE keys to bring up the emoji menu. Once the emoji keyboard is on your screen, type superscript in the search field.
Select the 2, and it will be inserted into your text.
4. The Old Fashion Method
Years ago, not all computers and applications had a superscript font. Even today, there may be some applications that do not have this available. So, how do you type a squared symbol in this case? You have to use the old-fashioned method with the caret ^ symbol.
So, if I wanted to type 4 squared, I would type it as 4^2, where the caret symbol denotes the superscript or that I am raising 4 to the second power. This method always works as a last resort, and you can use it whenever you don’t have superscript available in a text editor or text field.
Below are a few questions that commonly come up when discussing how to type the squared symbol on Mac.
Can I use superscript with any character?
Yes, this is one of the great things about the superscript font/format. You can apply it to any character you want. It works to create a cubed symbol or even if you want to show a number or variable to the nth power, such as Xn. You can also use it with more than one character, so you can insert an entire equation if you would like to do so.
Is the superscript font/format different from the one from the emoji popup?
Yes, the superscript font/format is slightly different from the one in the emoji popup. You can see the difference in the image shown below.
The superscript is the one on the top, and the emoji one is the one on the bottom. You can see the superscript is slightly larger and raised just a bit above the previous character, which, in my opinion, gives a better effect. So, the superscript version is the one I prefer to use.
How do I get back to normal text?
You may have noticed that sometimes, when you use the superscript font, you try to type your next characters, which remains in the superscript format. In this case, you must look back to the same menu location where you found the superscript. Look for a default setting or a clear formatting command and click on it to get back to your normal text format.
As we have seen above, unless you are using the emoji popup, the squared character is not a special character but a character specially formatted in a superscript font. Superscript shrinks the text and raises up to a location that makes it appear as the squared symbol.
I hope the information provided above can help you to type the squared symbol on your Mac when you need it. As usual, let me know if you have any questions or comments. I would love to hear from you.