How to Type the Water Symbol

Written by marina martin
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How to Type the Water Symbol
The chemical symbol for water is H2O. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

The chemical symbol for water, H2O, stands for dihydrogen monoxide. This shorthand indicates that two hydrogen atoms, represented by H2, bonded to one oxygen atom, represented by O, forms one molecule of water. Typing the symbol for water involves using subscript for the number "2," which both reduces its font size and lowers the base of the "2" below the base of the "H" and "O." You can use subscript to correctly type the symbol for water in a word processing program such as Microsoft Word.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Open a new or existing document in Microsoft Word or your preferred word processing program.

  2. 2

    Type "H2O."

  3. 3

    Highlight the "2."

  4. 4

    Click the subscript button. In Microsoft Word, this button is under the "Font" section of the "Home" ribbon menu. It resembles an "X" followed by a subscript "2."

Tips and warnings

  • If your word processing program does not support subscript, you can reduce the font size of "2" by a few points. This makes the "2" smaller and lower than the "H" and "O," closely resembling the actual H2O symbol.
  • TextEdit, the default Mac OS X text editor, supports subscript.
  • In Microsoft Word, the keyboard shortcut for subscript is "Ctrl" and "=."
  • Notepad and Wordpad, the default Windows text editors, do not support subscript.

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