10 Replies Latest reply: Jan 13, 2013 7:57 AM by Tom Gewecke
HenryS Level 2 Level 2 (295 points)

What is the best way to use subscripts in documents or in text? Pages, and other apps in Lion or previous OS's do not have a convenient way to display 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th.... The keyboard substitution option in Preferences doesn't seem to work reliably in this regard either, as far as I've tried it. 

 

Using HTML (as in email modes) there is a way:

1st  2nd 3rd 4th

 

Thanks!


Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.3), (1,1) 9GB RAM, 500GB+250GB HD int.
  • 1. Re: Use subscripts in text- rd, th, st
    thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (27,945 points)

    Those are actually superscripts, not subscripts.  (Subscripts are lower, like "O2".)

     

    Superscripts and subscripts can only be done in rich text of some kind, and how you do it can vary from app to app.  In some contexts, it will not be possible - for example, in a plain text e-mail message.

     

    In Apple's apps, you generally use Format -> Font -> Baseline -> Superscript/Subscript.  In TextEdit, this simply moves the baseline up or down, and you would then probably want to change the font size as well.  In Pages, there's a simple keystroke for each, and it is smart enough to adjust the font size for you.  (Note that the keystroke for superscript is command-control-+, but that actually means you have to push command-control-shift-= on a US English keyboard.)

  • 2. Re: Use subscripts in text- rd, th, st
    HenryS Level 2 Level 2 (295 points)

    Thanks, Thomas. I'll try to remember this long and complicated process.

    Thomas A Reed wrote:

     

    In Apple's apps, you generally use Format -> Font -> Baseline -> Superscript/Subscript.  In TextEdit, this simply moves the baseline up or down, and you would then probably want to change the font size as well.  In Pages, there's a simple keystroke for each, and it is smart enough to adjust the font size for you.  (Note that the keystroke for superscript is command-control-+, but that actually means you have to push command-control-shift-= on a US English keyboard.)

     

    I wonder if it can be automated and that automation be put on a menubar? Say, script the baseline shift up and sizing reduce on a key or a process and reverse the procedure. Or use the character substitution feature in OS X, similar to the fractions, for 'st', 'th', 'nd', or make specific characters for them and assign to the keyboard (in System Prefs>Languages&Text>Text). In latter case the combination could be '_st ' substitutes to st . I think that the latter is do-able, but substitutions also fail where the app doesn't support them. 

  • 3. Re: Use subscripts in text- rd, th, st
    HenryS Level 2 Level 2 (295 points)

    Some more testing on this issue... Here's a PDF of a Document in Pages. I tried the two recommended approaches:

    1. Keystroke in specific apps (Shift Command+CTRL keys plus = or + key the move the baseline)
    2. Character mapping. Use a small shifted character setting in Character Viewer and type that adjusted character in place of the standard one for each occurence.

     

    The keystroke, works to shift up the baseline in Pages, but cannot shift down unless the default selection is presses, for which there is no predetermined keyboard shortcut. A font change might cause this default to occur, but is speculative.

     

    The character map substitution was created, but I can't get any of the character substitutions to occur in Lion with Pages app or Safari or textEdit despite the checkbox being on. It used to occur with previous OS's, I believe, and annoyingly so for certain items (tm) being one.

     

    Screen Shot 2012-05-10 at 13.12.26 .png

    Strangely, html or rtf fonts in Mail.app do allow super/sub-script characters but do not directly allow their creation. I'm sure that there are other examples of this issue. I wonder if Mountain Lion will have solved any of these types of issues for us? Can anyone else comment?

  • 4. Re: Use subscripts in text- rd, th, st
    HenryS Level 2 Level 2 (295 points)

    I got the character substitutions set up the way I like them. The only remaining problems are little character anomalies in certain fonts (Helvetica is shown) that show up funny with substitute characters. They seem better with baseline shifted. Also I found the substitute characters' shifted capitals look better than the lower case ones when displayed in several different fonts, No worries, I can live with that and take advantage of the substitutions.

     

    Here are some fonts I tried with the new mapping. These provide some illustration of my favorites. Below that is the mapping scheme I devised. You just type away in certain applications- TextEdit, Mail or any RTF word processor (guess). Full blown word processors will require their own font management techniques ā lā Pages.

     

     

    Helvetica Font  ½ ¾ … 1ˢ 2ᴺᴰ 3ᴿᴰ 4ᵀᴴ 5ᵀᴴ 6ᵀᴴ 7ᵀᴴ 8ᵀᴴ 9ᵀᴴ 10ᵀᴴ 100,000ᵀᴴ 

    Lucide Grande Font  ½ ¾ … 1ˢᵀ 2ᴺᴰ 3ᴿᴰ 4ᵀᴴ 5ᵀᴴ 6ᵀᴴ 7ᵀᴴ 8ᵀᴴ 9ᵀᴴ 10ᵀᴴ

    Myriad Web Pro Font  ½, ¾, … 1ˢᵀ, 2ᴺᴰ, 3ᴿᴰ, 4ᵀᴴ, 5ᵀᴴ, 6ᵀᴴ, 7ᵀᴴ, 8ᵀᴴ, 9ᵀᴴ, 10ᵀᴴ 

    Screen Shot 2012-05-10 at 14.37.31 .png

  • 5. Re: Use subscripts in text- rd, th, st
    Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (71,730 points)

    One thing to remember about such subsititutions with Unicode superscripts is that they are not searchable, while superscripts created via baseline adjustments in an app like Pages are.

  • 6. Re: Use subscripts in text- rd, th, st
    medeis Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    You can add a style to your favorite styles, which are accessible in any app that uses Apple's rich text editor.

    1. Open an app that has the "Baseline" menu item (e.g. TextEdit).
    2. Format some text as superscript or subscript.
    3. Go to Format→Font→Styles... (or, if there's a style dropdown, such as in TextEdit, Styles→Other...). This opens the Styles sheet.
    4. Click "Add to Favorites". This opens a sheet with options for saving the style.
    5. Enter a name for the style. You'll likely want to leave "Include the font [...]" and "Include the ruler [...]" unchecked.
    6. Click "Add".

    Now, you can apply the superscript and subscript styles in other applications, including Mail, by using the "Styles..." menu item (in Mail, it's under Format→Style→Styles...). Only one style can be applied at a time.

  • 7. Re: Use subscripts in text- rd, th, st
    VoilaMagic Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    HenryS wrote:

     

    I got the character substitutions set up the way I like them. The only remaining problems are little character anomalies in certain fonts (Helvetica is shown) that show up funny with substitute characters. They seem better with baseline shifted. Also I found the substitute characters' shifted capitals look better than the lower case ones when displayed in several different fonts, No worries, I can live with that and take advantage of the substitutions.

     

    Here are some fonts I tried with the new mapping. These provide some illustration of my favorites. Below that is the mapping scheme I devised. You just type away in certain applications- TextEdit, Mail or any RTF word processor (guess). Full blown word processors will require their own font management techniques ā lā Pages.

     

     

    Helvetica Font  ½ ¾ … 1ˢ 2ᴺᴰ 3ᴿᴰ 4ᵀᴴ 5ᵀᴴ 6ᵀᴴ 7ᵀᴴ 8ᵀᴴ 9ᵀᴴ 10ᵀᴴ 100,000ᵀᴴ 

    Lucide Grande Font  ½ ¾ … 1ˢᵀ 2ᴺᴰ 3ᴿᴰ 4ᵀᴴ 5ᵀᴴ 6ᵀᴴ 7ᵀᴴ 8ᵀᴴ 9ᵀᴴ 10ᵀᴴ

    Myriad Web Pro Font  ½, ¾, … 1ˢᵀ, 2ᴺᴰ, 3ᴿᴰ, 4ᵀᴴ, 5ᵀᴴ, 6ᵀᴴ, 7ᵀᴴ, 8ᵀᴴ, 9ᵀᴴ, 10ᵀᴴ 

    Screen Shot 2012-05-10 at 14.37.31 .png

    This is brilliant and helped me tremendously. Thank you so much HenryS.

  • 8. Re: Use subscripts in text- rd, th, st
    Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (71,730 points)

    Something to remember when using such unicode super/subscripts, in addition to the searchability issue mentioned earlier, is that iOS devices do not have the alphabetical superscript characters in any of their fonts, so they will show up as blank squares (unless you are using pdf or graphic format).

  • 9. Re: Use subscripts in text- rd, th, st
    HenryS Level 2 Level 2 (295 points)

    Tom Gewecke wrote:

     

    Something to remember when using such unicode super/subscripts, in addition to the searchability issue mentioned earlier, is that iOS devices do not have the alphabetical superscript characters in any of their fonts, so they will show up as blank squares (unless you are using pdf or graphic format).

    So, we're saying that there is NO UNIVERSAL WAY to attach superscripted numerics and fractions that carries over (embeds in documents, emails) composed on desktops, laptops, iPads, and to other iOS devices to enable text composed from them to appear correctly, engaging a setting on one device then simply by TYPING the characters (and the characters being searchable too?).

  • 10. Re: Use subscripts in text- rd, th, st
    Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (71,730 points)

    The normal way to do super/subcripts in text (as opposed to equations, where you should use a specialized equation editor), is to create them via the word processor formatting tools (not via Unicode characters).  Such formatting tools leave the underlying code unchanged, but display the characters as super/subscripts.  If your reader may not have the same word processor you are using, then you convert to PDF, where fonts are embedded.

     

    In theory Unicode super/subscripts are searchable, but it is so difficult to enter them in search box that it is not likely anyone would try.   It is possible that advanced search engines would find Unicode super/subscripts when you just enter the plain number from the keyboard, but you would have to test that on a case by case basis.