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Some Random Thoughts

Subscripts and Superscripts in SSRS Reports

Dec 6 2010 11:02PM by Jason Thomas   

               Two weeks back, I was reading an insightful article by Thomas LaRock - Delivering a Great Presentation. A couple of lines kept on lingering in my mind, mainly
- "Storytelling is a very powerful way for you to communicate ideas because they are such a powerful way for people to learn"
- "There are five stories that make up effective presentations. Every great story falls into one of these five:- the Quest, the Stranger, the Love story, the Rags to Riches and the Revenge story"
The more I thought about it, the more I could relate the same to blogs. I always tended to remember more articles or facts which were woven around a story than those which were plainly narrated. And also, I found that most blogs which I liked, if not all, could be categorized into the above said sections. Well, today's blog is going to be the story of a quest, something which I had tried to achieve months before, lost hope and abandoned it, and then again renewed efforts and finally, found the solution – how to use superscripts and subscripts in SSRS reports.
It all started with one of my colleagues challenging me to write a chemical equation and a mathematical equation together in SSRS. What I failed to understand when I took up the bet was that it was a cleverly disguised challenge to implement superscripts and subscripts in SSRS. The challenge was to display the following in SSRS:-
Chemical Mathematical equation
Five minutes in BIDS and I understood that I was trapped. All I could remember next was me frantically pacing through all the search engines racing against time and a flurry of web pages opening. But apart from this link in the SSRS forum, I couldn’t find much help and I had to concede defeat. Laden with a bruised ego and a lighter pocket, I decided to delve more deeper into it. After quite a bit of research, I found 2 ways -
Solution 1

1. Note down the following codes

Superscript and subscript codes

2. Use expressions along with the chrw function in textbox.

Eg:- ="a"&chrw(8304)&chrw(185)&chrw(178)&chrw(179)&chrw(8308)&chrw(8309)&chrw(8310)&chrw(8311)&chrw(8312)&chrw(8313)

Expression builder

3. Make sure that the font is Lucida Sans Unicode.


4. Now you can preview the result.

Preview report


Solution 2
1. Click on StartRun and type charmap.exe. Click OK.
Run window
2. Change the font to Lucida Sans Unicode and then find the character that you need. For eg, Subscript Two is selected in the image below.


Once that is selected, click on Select and continue writing your chemical/mathematical equation in the same way.

3. Once that is done, click on copy button (and not Ctrl+C or any other shortcut button) and all you have to do is to paste it in a textbox in the report. Make sure that the font is Lucida Sans Unicode for the textbox.

Textbox with chemical equation

4. Click on preview and you will have the equation that you wanted.

Preview report with equation

Note : You can select any character in the Character Map and then use the chrw function. For that, note down the number in the character map (for eg, in the image above for Step 2, the number for Subscript 2 is 2082) and convert it from hex to binary (You can use sites like this for converting it if you don’t want to do the maths) and then use it within the chrw().

Tags: SSRS, BRH, MSBI, Reporting, SQL Server, #BI, #SSRS, #SQL Server, #MSBI, #TSQL,

Jason Thomas
19 · 9% · 2997



  • Thanks for the above post. But i have a slightly different requirement. My client wants the text format to be Times new roman. So if i have a sentence like " The formula is ax^4" to be displayed in a text box, any suggestion how to do it?

    Currently, the work around i have used is display the part " The formula is " is a text box and the superscript "ax^4" is a different text box. The text box containing the superscript part does not have Times new roman as the font.

    commented on Jan 4 2011 10:33AM
    2827 · 0% · 4
  • If you are using SSRS 2008 and above, it shouldnt be an issue as you can use times new roman for all other characters except the superscripts/subscripts (you cant notice much if you just use Unicode font for the subscripts/superscripts only) Else, you would have to do with the 2 textbox technique that you said if the client is adamant on the font

    commented on Jan 4 2011 6:53PM
    Jason Thomas
    19 · 9% · 2997
  • yes, we are using SSRS 2005. Since the client wants it this way, i guess the workaround is the only solution now.

    commented on Jan 5 2011 3:30AM
    2827 · 0% · 4
  • Good one...

    commented on Apr 18 2011 2:48AM
    Amit Mishra
    274 · 1% · 163
  • Thanks!! We've got a contractor doing the lion's share of conversion of Actuate to SSRS...but he missed the superscripts...This was just what I needed!

    commented on Sep 30 2011 12:51PM
    2275 · 0% · 6
  • Good One Jason !!

    commented on Feb 21 2012 3:31AM
    Dattatrey Sindol (Datta)
    42 · 4% · 1336
  • very very Thanks superb info

    commented on Aug 13 2012 6:19AM
    3162 · 0% · 2
  • Thanks a million! But you can use any Unicode font, our reports all default to Arial font, so I just switched to Arial Unicode MS and no one can notice the difference!

    commented on Aug 30 2012 9:45PM
    3162 · 0% · 2
  • Thanks a lot for this post. I want to know, can we convert subscript/superscript to text with HTML tags? please share your thoughts. e.g; i/p text: The temperature is 28^0C o/p text: The temperature is 28oC

    commented on Nov 29 2013 6:58AM
    3162 · 0% · 2

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