In gedit, how can I write x^2 without using ^? Where 2 will be the superscript of x.

  • While writing a simple ASCII text document? – terdon Jun 16 '14 at 13:33
  • yes, for a simple text doccument @terdon. – opu 웃 Jun 16 '14 at 13:35
  • Use the Character Map to get the character and copy it to gedit. – muru Jun 16 '14 at 13:35
  • how can I use the character map in gedit? @muru – opu 웃 Jun 16 '14 at 13:39
  • can the title of the question be changed to something better. It feels like "Writing power"(something like "mental power") of x(xorg maybe) in gedit ?!?! It confused me at first. – Registered User Jun 16 '14 at 14:18

A Character Map plugin is available for gEdit. Enable the plugin in the Preferences. Enable the Side Pane in the View menu. Click on the Character Map icon at the bottom of the Side Pane, then choose "Common" and you will find the superscript 4 (even though it looks like am missing superscript 1-3). Below that are the subscripts and other special characters.

To use a certain character, just drag it from the character map on the Side Pane to the document. You can then copy-paste it in the right position.

From a question in the comments below:
After enabling the character map plugin, you can open/view the characters by click the icon that looks like a key with an "a" on it on the bottom left corner.

In my screenshot below, there are three icons in the Side Pane: The first is the documents icon to view all open documents, the second is the file browser for the file browser plugin and the third is the Character Map plugin.

Check screenshot below:

enter image description here

  • For some reason ,1 and 2 are found elsewhere. – Registered User Jun 16 '14 at 14:15
  • @RegisteredUser Where 'elsewhere'? And how about 3? – Parto Jun 16 '14 at 14:17
  • I have enabled the character map plug-in. But how can I open it in Gedit?? @parto – opu 웃 Jun 16 '14 at 14:19
  • 1,2 and 3 are in latin-1 supplement – Registered User Jun 16 '14 at 14:21
  • 1
    One thing you omitted was how to get that plugin. You need to install gedit-plugins; you can do this from Ubuntu Software Centre, Synaptic Package Manager, or via the CLI with sudo apt install gedit-plugins (prior to 14.04 use apt-get instead of apt). – Paddy Landau Jun 24 '14 at 16:23

As terdon said, an ASCII Text file means ONLY text, no formatting as in Libreoffice writer files.

But in the specific case , you can use the unicode characters that refer to superscripted 0-9 and subscripted 0-9.

Here are they ⁰ ¹ ² ³ ⁴ ⁵ ⁶ ⁷ ⁸ ⁹ ₀ ₁ ₂ ₃ ₄ ₅ ₆ ₇ ₈ ₉

A document on how to tpye special characters is available offline in Ubuntu Desktop Guide(search for Enter special characters) as well as online here on gnome.org.

  • 1
    Nice answer. Just a note, not just ASCII, Any flat text (by default gedit uses Unicode). Could add how to type them or mention a reference for that?. BTW, not all font provide them. I think only 2,3 was in older Unicode which are supported by most fonts – user.dz Jun 16 '14 at 13:55
  • @Sneetsher I have mentioned reference.That's quite good documentation. – Registered User Jun 16 '14 at 14:06
  • 9
    That's not ASCII. – gerrit Jun 16 '14 at 14:37
  • @gerrit what's not ASCII? – Registered User Jun 16 '14 at 14:39
  • 2
    @RegisteredUser: actually, gedit saves in UTF-8 by default (or maybe it depends from the LANG environment variable). The fact that if you don't use characters above 127 you get an ASCII document is a byproduct of how UTF-8 has been designed. – Matteo Italia Jun 17 '14 at 8:47

gedit can and does support Unicode files. Use the Character Map to obtain Unicode characters. The Character Map isn't part of gedit, but is a separate application. Just click the Dash button in the corner and type 'Character Map'. Or press Alt+F2 and type charmap and press enter.

  • there is a lot of character! How can I find out the mathematical characters?? – opu 웃 Jun 16 '14 at 14:08
  • There's a find option. Use it two search. I searched for 'two' and got to the character in a couple of tries. – muru Jun 16 '14 at 14:33
  • @Scotia웃 I forgot to ping you. – muru Jun 16 '14 at 14:40

As mentioned by other answers, you can use unicode characters to do so.

The nice bit is that if you write x^2 the characters ^2 will convert into ² As it is done at quite low level (Xlib), it works on almost all applications.

The rule lives at /usr/share/X11/locale/en_US.UTF-8/Compose (other UTF-8 locales also include this file), iso8859-* locales also have them for characters they can print

 <dead_circumflex> <2>              : "²"   twosuperior # SUPERSCRIPT TWO
  • I always thought this was only for some keyboard layouts. – Léo Lam Jun 19 '14 at 20:45
  • Léo-Lam, you just need a dead_circumflex key. That is a ^ key that when pressed once does nothing, but pressing ^ and then arenders â. Of course if your default layout doesn't contain that you could "add" it with xmodmap – Ángel Jul 13 '14 at 17:55
  • I understand that; I just thought that the dead keys existed in some keyboard layouts only: looks like they are pretty common, since the English keyboard layout has dead keys. – Léo Lam Jul 13 '14 at 18:20

You can't. Simple ASCII text documents don't support any kind of formatting. No italics, no bold, no superscript, no subscript no nothing. If you do add such formatting to your file, it will no longer be a simple text document.

So, if you need that kind of functionality, use a format that supports it such as rtf or odt or (shudder) doc.

  • It is possible in Unicode text documents. – gerrit Jun 16 '14 at 14:39

If you have a dead key with ^, you can press it and then the number you want. It would render the number in superscript without the circumflex.

  • No, it's not happening in gedit! – opu 웃 Jun 21 '14 at 4:30

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