Inserting an Em Dash

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 15, 2014)

5

Word allows you to insert an em dash (a long dash) by simply typing two dashes in a row. Word senses this as you finished the word following the dashes, and then replaces them with the em dash. If you have this capability turned off, however, you may be wondering how to get an em dash in your document. There are three ways you can do this:

  • Press Ctrl+Alt+Minus (on the numeric keypad)
  • Hold down the Alt key as you type 0151 on the numeric keypad.
  • Choose Symbol from the Insert menu, and then select Em Dash from the Special Characters tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1217) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is seven more than 5?

2017-02-12 17:56:32

kdock

I was having an issue with this, too.

In Word 2016, on my laptop, I could not get an em or en dash to appear as I could on my desktop computer and Word 2010.

The built-in shortcut for this won't work on my laptop--no number pad. So I added a new shortcut for each Ctrl+Alt+M and Ctrl+Alt+N.

Now here's the odd thing. Once I'd done that, I was able to insert the em and en dash by either method--that is, the hyphen-hyphen followed by word and space now works.

Go figure!


2016-11-29 23:18:36

Susan

I have Word 2016. I went into options - autocorrect and turned this feature on so that typing two dashes should make an em dash... but I still just get two dashes ... not an em dash?? any idea why?


2016-09-08 06:22:52

Ed

Its no longer working? why is nothing happening?


2016-04-28 21:37:13

Susie

"Word senses this as you finished the word following the dashes, and then replaces them with the em dash. If you have this capability turned off, however, you may be wondering how to get an em dash in your document. "

I am wondering how to furn this feature on. I can't find it in preferences.


2014-11-15 06:03:34

Malcolm

You can also type 2014 on the standard keyboard, immediately following with ALT-x. Note: This is a hex number so if the preceding word ends with a, b, c, d, e, or f, insert a temporary space before the 2014.
2013+ALTx gives an n-dash.
2015+ALTx gives a "horizontal bar" which is identical to an m-dash except that it is "sticky" (= will not line-break) at both ends.


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