To add an exponent symbol after a number or letter when using a Windows operating system, the alt key should be held down and the code 0176, 0185, 0178 or 0179 should be pressed. The 0176 code is used for a degree symbol, 0185 is used for an exponent of one, 0178 is used for an exponent of two and 0179 is used for an exponent of three.
Exponents are generally only used in mathematical applications. They are used to denote that something is multiplied to a power and allow users to see how many times the number needs to be multiplied to, instead of writing out the entire number. Exponents can be both positive and negative depending on whether there is a negative sign before the exponential number.
If exponents are greater than the numbers one, two and three, a character map can be used. This is found in most word processing and Internet programs that allow the typist to put in different and special characters. Computer operators who are consistently using exponents in their work can add to the special character shift and alt keys. In the Windows settings, different characters can be added with specific codes. They can be connected to certain keys on the keyboard, which works similarly to the command keys that are already present on the keyboard.