Complex Compound Formatting

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 19, 2016)

Applying simple character formatting is easy—just use the tools on the toolbar or display the Font dialog box and make changes there. What happens if you want to apply a bunch of different formats to the same character? Jake described his particular complex formatting needs, where he needed a superscripted character to have both an underline and an overline.

Getting a superscripted character to be underlined is easy:

  1. Select the character.
  2. Choose Font from the Format menu. Word displays the Font dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Font dialog box.

  4. Select the Superscript check box.
  5. Using the Underline Style drop-down, indicate the type of underline you want.
  6. Click OK.

It is getting the overline character that is trickier. Overlining is not a formatting attribute that you can apply to characters in Word. You can, however, use fields to add an overline, even to superscripted and underlined characters. Follow these steps:

  1. Don't do any superscript or underline formatting quite yet.
  2. Position the insertion point where you want the specially formatted character to appear.
  3. Press Ctrl+F9 to insert field braces.
  4. Type the following, without the sentence-terminating period, replacing the uppercase U with the character you want overlined: EQ \o(U,).
  5. Between the comma and the closing parenthesis, press Ctrl+F9 again. This places a second field, this one within the first field.
  6. Type EQ \s\up10(_).
  7. Delete any extra spaces within the two field braces.
  8. Press Shift+F9 twice to show the results of the field code.
  9. Select the results (your overlined character).
  10. Apply superscript and underline formatting, as desired.

Depending on the formatting you are applying to the character, you may need to adjust the vertical position of the overline. You can do this by adjusting the value in step 6. As shown above, the field moves the underscore character up by 10 points. If this results in a look you don't want, experiment with different values until the overline is positioned just right.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5396) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Understanding Functions in Macros

Functions are a common programming construct. They help you to create easy ways of processing information and returning a ...

Discover More

IEEE Citation Format

Different style guides describe different ways of formatting information that appears in a document. One such style guide ...

Discover More

Using Dynamic Chart Titles

Want the title of your chart to change based upon what is placed in a worksheet cell? It's easy; just add a formula to ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Overlining Characters

Want to add an overline above a character or two in your document? There are several ways you can try, as described in ...

Discover More

Changing Kerning

When you need to adjust the space Word uses between characters, you need to adjust what is called "kerning." This tip ...

Discover More

Letters Turn into Squares

Imagine that you are typing away, and all of a sudden your beautiful prose turns into a series of small rectangles that ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is one more than 5?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.