Ms Word Tutorial on How to type chemical reaction in Word: Chemical formula, Reaction arrows and text above and below arrow

Microsoft Word is a great tool for formatting text, but what if you want to insert a chemistry formula in your Word document?. You can type all types of Chemical reaction in word by going into Insert-> Equation. Whoever has written chemical equation by this way knows how painful it is. But don’t worry you have come to right place. Here you will learn all the shortcuts, tips and tricks required to type Chemical reaction in word, reaction arrows, text above, below arrows and all those that you require for typing Chemical Reaction in Word.

The method that I am talking is called Math Autocorrect which was introduced in Ms Word. This method is very much like LaTeX with some minor changes. By using this method you can type chemical reaction in Microsoft Word around 10 time faster than normal method of using Graphical User Interface (GUI) of Ms Word.

Use smart way to type chemical equation in Ms Word and save unnecessary time and effort

First step of writing equation in Ms Word is to get equation editor. Shortcut for getting equation editor is “Alt”+”=”.

Shortcut for typing Chemical reaction or Chemical Equation:

Writing any chemical equation or chemical formula in Ms Word is very easy when you know shortcut for writing subscript and superscript.

Shortcut of writing subscript

Equation editor shortcut for writing subscript in Ms Word is simply _ (underscore). Any thing following underscore will be converted into subscript automatically after pressing space.

Shortcut of writing subscript

To get thisType this in Equation editor (<sp> means pressing space bar)
 H_2 H^+<sp>
 H_{2\ AfterSpace} H_(2 AfterSpace)<sp>
 H_2SO_4 H_2<sp>SO_4^<sp>

Similar to subscript, Ms Word has shortcut for writing superscript which is ^ sign. Any thing following ^ sign will be converted automatically into superscript after pressing space

To get thisType this in Equation editor (<sp> means pressing space bar)
 H^+ H^+<sp>
 H^{+\ Afterspace} H_(+ AfterSpace)<sp>
 H_2SO_4^2- H_2<sp>SO_4^2-<sp>

 Shortcut for chemical arrows

Arrows are very important part of Chemical reaction. Is signifies direction of reaction and many more things. Shortcut for all the reaction arrows like equilibrium arrow, reversible arrow etc are listed in following table.

To get this
Type this in Equation editor (<sp> means pressing space bar)
 \rightarrow \rightarrow<sp> or ->
 \leftarrow \leftarrow<sp>
 \leftrightharpoons \lrhar<sp>
 \leftrightarrow \leftrightarrow<sp>
 \leftrightarrows Type 21c4 and the press “Alt”+”x”
 \uparrow \uparrow<sp>
 \downarrow \downarrow<sp>

Text above arrow or Text below arrow

At many place we need to type text above and below arrow to show catalyst, reaction conditions etc. To write text above arrow use \above(<text above goes here>) and to write text below arrow use \below(<text below goes here>). Following table shows example to do this.

To do this
Type this in Equation editor (<sp> means pressing space bar)
\xrightarrow{Ni} \rightarrow\above(Ni)<sp>Text above arrow
 \xrightarrow[P=10 Mpa]{} \rightarrow\below(P=10 MPa)<sp>Text below arrow
 \xrightarrow[P=10 Mpa]{Ni} \rightarrow\below(P=10 MPa)\above(Ni)
\rightarrow\above(Ni) \below(P=10 MPa)\ <sp>
See Tip given below

Tip: To make sure that size of arrow fits text length, first type the longest text above or below arrow and press space then type another text below/above. Example here long text in below arrow so we use the following shortcut
\rightarrow\below(P = 10Mpa)<sp>\above(Ni)<sp>

Combining all the shortcut into one example. Hydrogen reacts with oxygen even below its lower flammability (4% V/V) limit in presence of catalyst like Pt and Pd. This reaction could be written as

To get this: 2H_ 2 + O_2\xrightarrow[Energy]{Pt} 2H_2O

Type this: 2H_2<sp>O<sp>+O_2<sp>\rightarrow\below(Energy)<sp>\above(Pt)<sp>2H_2<sp>O<sp>, You may include additional spaces in between chemical reaction if required.

Thanks for reading this blog. I would like to hear from you. If you have any comments and suggestion, please write them in comments so that I can improve upon or provide relevant content.

6 thoughts on “Ms Word Tutorial on How to type chemical reaction in Word: Chemical formula, Reaction arrows and text above and below arrow

  1. Hello, PickupBrain

    This is Jessie Hung. I’m now a PhD student in Earth and Planetary Science field. My research requires typing lots of equations in word, so I was very excited when I found your video on youtube that teaches how to type equations faster in MS Word.
    Your video and word document are very great. They save a lot of time for me. However, I could’t find the word document link in the video description as you had mentioned in video. I was wondering if the document is no longer accessible now. If it is still possible, I would really like to have one in hand. It’s really helpful.

    Sorry for bothering you and thanks again for your great video.


    1. Dear Jessie Hung,
      Thanks for contacting us. Really sorry, due to some unavoidable circumstances, I have to remove document. However, all the shortcut that I have covered in video is given https://www.cs.bgu.ac.il/~khitron/Equation%20Editor.pdf. I am in a process of making a document but may take some time.
      Hope, that the link shared will be helpful.
      Wishing you good health and best of luck for your Phd.
      Regards Pickupbrain

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