top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureJoy Sephton

How to make em and en dashes

Updated: Oct 16, 2023



We'll be looking at these options in the following order:


1. What are em and en dashes?

2. MS Word

3. macOS

4. Chrome OS

5. Android or iOS


And lastly,


6. A note about Google Docs


1. What are em and en dashes?


For a detailed explanation of when to use both and how they can level up your writing, refer to my post of March 7, 2023: Using hyphens, em dashes, en dashes, and ellipses: US style


An em dash — is the longer one

An en dash – is shorter than an em dash but longer than a hyphen -


2. MS Word


You can use the Autoformat feature to create both dashes, or you can try the following and see which works best for you:

Em dash:


Insert it as a symbol. You'll find it under Insert/Symbol/(normal text). The character code is 2014, and when you've inserted it once, it'll be easily accessible as the first character in the symbol dropdown box.

OR

Hold down the Alt key and type 2014 on the numeric keypad to the left of your keyboard.

OR

Immediately after the previous word, type Hyphen-Hyphen-Space. Then do some backspacing or deleting to get rid of any unwanted spaces :)


En dash:

Insert it as a symbol. You'll find it under Insert/Symbol/(normal text). The character code is 2013, and when you've inserted it once, it'll be easily accessible as the first character in the symbol dropdown box.

OR

Type Space-Hyphen-Space, type your next word, letter, or numeral, and press Space. Remove any unwanted spaces on either side of the resulting en dash.

OR

Hold down the Alt key and type 2013 on the numeric keypad to the left of your keyboard.



3. macOS


Em dash:

Type Hyphen-Hyphen-Space.

OR

Press Shift-Option-Hyphen.


En dash:

Press Option-Hyphen.


In some Mac versions, you can do the following for both dashes:

Press Fn-E or the Globe key-E or select Edit/Emoji & Symbols. Select a character or symbol to add it to your text (double-click it if the Character Viewer is expanded).

Ref: https://support.apple.com/en-za/guide/mac-help/mchlp1560/mac



4. Chrome OS

Em dash:

Press Shift-Control-U, type 2014, and press the spacebar.

En dash:

Press Shift-Control-U, type 2013, and press the spacebar.



5. Android or iOS


Em dash and en dash:


On Gboard on Android or the iOS default keyboard, long-hold the hyphen. This will give you a choice of an em dash, an en dash, a hyphen, and a bullet.


En dash:


If you're using it to separate numerals, typing Hyphen-Hyphen after the first number will automatically create an en dash.



6. A note about Google Docs:


Many operating systems use the same shortcuts for Google Docs. If yours doesn't, try the following.


Em dash:


Type Hyphen-Hyphen-Hyphen-Enter. Remember to remove any unwanted spaces after the em dash you've just created.

OR

Visit Insert/Special Characters, and type em dash into the search bar.


En dash:


Visit Insert/Special Characters, and type en dash into the search bar.



Tell me in the comments if you'd like me to add any other information.


I'll keep this post updated to the best of my ability, but do let me know if anything here seems outdated.



29 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comentários


bottom of page