How to insert square root symbol or radical sign in Word

Word 365
The square root symbol (also known as a radical sign, radical symbol, root symbol, radix, or surd) is often used in various documents. Microsoft Word offers convenient functionality for beautifully styling formulas.

However, in some texts, the root symbol is used as part of an equation and a standalone mark. Less commonly, documents use the Cube root ∛ and the Fourth root ∜ symbols, which also are easy to insert into a Word document.

Do not use a square root symbol to indicate a checkmark! See how to insert a check mark symbol in a document.

   I.  Using the Equation:

Equations are excellent if you do not need to care about the format and compatibility with previous versions of Microsoft Office (a recommended approach for physical science and mathematics that require a lot of math expressions in the text with consistent fonts for all equations and symbols):

   1.   In the paragraph where you want to insert the root symbol, click Alt+= to insert the equitation block:

Equitation in Word 2016

   2.   In the equitation block, without any additional efforts, you can enter some mathematical symbols by typing \+Name of the symbol:

Square root symbol, radical sign in equation Word 2016,    Cube root symbol, cube sign in equation Word 2016,    Fourth root symbol, fourth sign in equation Word 2016.

   II.  Using AutoCorrect for Math:

When you work with many documents and often need to paste a single special symbol, you may not want to insert an equation each time. Microsoft Word offers a helpful feature named AutoCorrect. The AutoCorrect options in Microsoft Word propose two different ways to quickly add any special character, such as a square root symbol or radical sign, or even large pieces of text:

Using this method, you can benefit from the Math AutoCorrect options without inserting an equation. To turn on or turn off the AutoCorrect of the Math symbols, do the following:

   1.   On the File tab, click Options:

Word 2016 Options button

   2.   In the Word Options dialog box, on the Proofing tab, click the AutoCorrect Options... button:

AutoCorrect Options in Word 2016

   3.   In the AutoCorrect dialog box, on the Math AutoCorrect tab, select the Use Math AutoCorrect rules outside of the math regions option:

Use Math AutoCorrect rules outside of the math regions in Word 2016

After clicking OK, you can use any of the listed Names of symbols, and Microsoft Word will replace them with the appropriate characters:

Square root symbol, radical sign in Word 2016,    Cube root symbol, cube sign in Word 2016,    Fourth root symbol, fourth sign in Word 2016.

Note: If you do not need the last replacement, click Ctrl+Z to cancel it.

   III.  Using a shortcut key:

Microsoft Word offers a pre-defined shortcut key for popular symbols such as square root.

  • Type 221a or 221A (does not matter, uppercase or lowercase), immediately after that press Alt+X to insert the square root symbol:
  • Type 221b or 221B, and press Alt+X to insert the cube root symbol:
  • Type 221c or 221C, and press Alt+X to insert the fourth root symbol:

Note: You can see the combination in the Character code field in the Symbol dialog box (see below).

   IV.  Using a Symbol dialog box (the most common but not the most comfortable way):

To open the Symbol dialog box, on the Insert tab, in the Symbols group, select the Symbol button, and then click More Symbols...:

More Symbols in Word 2016

On the Symbol dialog box:

  • To insert the Square Root from the current font (if the font provides the square root glyph), from the Subset dropdown list, select the Mathematical Operators:
    Square root symbol in Symbols Word 2016
  • To insert the Square Root from the Symbol font, from the Font dropdown list, choose the Symbol font:
    Square root symbol in Symbols 2 Word 2016

Note: To insert a square root symbol from the Symbol font (a better-looking glyph), you can create a shortcut key (see how to create a shortcut key).

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to ask OfficeToolTips team.