Subscript and superscript are important when you are dealing with different types of formulas. They are useful in math, chemistry, etc.

In Python, there is a method called maketrans. It creates a one-to-one mapping table with characters and their replacements.

1 |
replace = str.maketrans("123", "ABC") |

This method will replace 1 to A, 2 to B, and 3 to C. Let’s take a look.

1 2 |
numbers_to_letters = str.maketrans("123", "ABC") print("Question 1, point 2 and 4".translate(numbers_to_letters)) |

In this case, numbers 1 and 2 are going to be replaced, but 4 doesn’t have a replacement, so it will stay 4.

Question A, point B and 4

## Printing subscript

Similarly, you can convert numbers to subscripts. Let’s use this formula for ethanol:

1 2 |
subscript = str.maketrans("0123456789", "₀₁₂₃₄₅₆₇₈₉") print("C2H5OH".translate(subscript)) |

This code will replace all numbers with subscripts, as it should be in the chemical formula.

C₂H₅OH

## Printing superscript

You can also convert a number to superscript. In this case, we are going to use a formula to calculate the area of a circle.

πr²

In our example, the formula is written this way:

PIr2

We are going to convert 2 to superscript, and **PI** to **π**. We can’t convert **PI** with **maketrans** because the first two maketrans arguments should be the same length. In this case, let’s use the **replace** function.

1 2 |
superscript = str.maketrans("0123456789", "⁰¹²³⁴⁵⁶⁷⁸⁹") print("PIr2".translate(superscript).replace('PI', 'π')) |

The result is:

πr²

## Unicode subscripts and superscripts

Another way to achieve the same result is to use Unicode subscripts and superscripts.

### For subscripts

U+207x

The letter “x” represents a subscript number.

### For superscripts

U+208x

The letter “x” represents a superscript number.

This is the full table of Unicode characters:

0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | A | B | C | D | E | F | |

U+00Bx | x² | x³ | x¹ | |||||||||||||

U+207x | x⁰ | xⁱ | x⁴ | x⁵ | x⁶ | x⁷ | x⁸ | x⁹ | x⁺ | x⁻ | x⁼ | x⁽ | x⁾ | xⁿ | ||

U+208x | x₀ | x₁ | x₂ | x₃ | x₄ | x₅ | x₆ | x₇ | x₈ | x₉ | x₊ | x₋ | x₌ | x₍ | x₎ | |

U+209x | xₐ | xₑ | xₒ | xₓ | xₔ | xₕ | xₖ | xₗ | xₘ | xₙ | xₚ | xₛ | xₜ |

Let’s implement it into Python.

1 |
print(u'C\u2082H\u2085OH') |

The result is the same as before:

C₂H₅OH

Now, let’s create the second formula:

1 |
print(u'\u03C0r\u00B2') |

**U+03C0** is a Unicode character for the greek letter **PI** and **U+00B2** for the square root. As you can see from the table, the power of 2 and 3 have different notation than numbers from **4** to **9**.

The result:

πr²