Use them correctly in your writing and you will impress a copyeditor!
For editing documents, I like to plug my laptop into a massive monitor and attach a wireless mouse and full-size keyboard, complete with a number keypad. Alternatively, you can plug in a portable USB number keypad and use your laptop keyboard and touchpad. With this set-up, there are no problems creating em and en dashes in my usual way—using Alt codes. For these programs, try one of the options that follow. In Google Docs, if you type two hyphens followed by a space, those two hyphens will be changed to an em dash.
Out of the box, Word and Scrivener will do the same. So, you can try this:. Now each time you type. There are many ways to create em dashes and en dashes on your laptop. If your only option is to use the character map the least efficient option , consider inserting two hyphens for em dashes in your document for now. Do you use a Mac? Let us know how you insert em dashes and en dashes into your writing in the comments section below. Just not on some of the super compact ones. This is more of a hardware problem, I think. Best, C. I have a Mac but no Alt key.
I've never seen an Alt key on a Mac. Lindig, You're quite right.
I'm a PC user, so if you're a Mac User and you see any instruction on this blog involving an Alt key, just sub in the Option key. I have used a Mac for years.
For the em dash, I use Command-M. For the en dash I use the two hyphens and then go back and search and replace. On my Mac, command-m sends the file to the dock. It probably depends on which operating system you're using. Mine is Yosemite. I didn't know about alt-shift, on the Mac it's option-shift, same key, different name , so thanks. So if you're using a Mac, keyboard shortcuts may be different, depending on your operating system.
Thanks for pointing that out! I have a weird idea, but maybe it some of you will find it useful. How about placing an en-dash in your default e-mail signature?
It could just be a separator, as in: The separator is made up of one em dash and one en dash. It might be useful if you're using Gmail a lot and don't have a laptop with a numeric keyboard. Thanks for a great article! I think I see where you're going with this, Mariusz.
Best, C. Em dash —: It'll be interesting to see which of these standard print conventions will stand the test of time How does it work? So, you can try this: 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.
Do you mean that if these dashes are separators in your signature, they'll always be available for copying if you need them? Now that's creative. Thanks for sharing! Although space constraints on my new, smaller keyboard meant eliminating the minus sign key, they kept its functionality by merging it into the regular keyboard via the Function Fn key. After reading this post and doing some playing around, I found the shortcuts: Ctrl-Fn-colon for an en-dash, Alt-Ctrl-Fn-colon for an em-dash.
That may not work for you, but it might be worth looking around on your keyboard and seeing what they offer you in terms of creating a minus sign. If you can find that, you may find your own en- and em-dash shortcuts. Thanks for sharing these tips, Jim!
They don't work on my laptop, but that doesn't mean that they won't work on others'. You can most certainly do that, and people will know what you mean. That may or may not be an issue for your readers. It'll be interesting to see which of these standard print conventions will stand the test of time My small PC laptop also does not carry a number pad. Pressing Alt and Ctr and the hyphen key will produce an en dash. Before discovering this, I used to type in a double dash -- and then open up the Replace function, search for the double dash in the first box what you want to replace , then move to the second box what you want inserted instead , then hit "Special" at the bottom of the page , and insert "Em dash" or "En dash," depending on what I wanted.
Since I haven't found a quick way outside of MS Word to insert the em dash, I usually open up a blank MS Word page and insert it there, then cut and paste it to the other program where I need it. Catherine, Thanks for sharing your tips. It's amazing the number of workarounds readers have come up with! In case anyone is looking for a quicker way, here's a program I wrote that does exactly this Windows only:. I didn't know hot to do em dash until now.
So, basically, there's no way of getting an en dash, in general, on a very normal PC laptop, except for finding it somewhere and then copy-pasting it, right?
Oct 8, 6: Oct 8, 7: Oct 8, 8: Oct 8, 3: Shortcut key for em dash? More Less. Communities Contact Support. Sign in. Browse Search.
Ask a question. User profile for user: Mac OS X Speciality level out of ten: I don't even know what purpose they serve. Anyone know the shortcut key for the em dash?
I can get the en dash — with shift-option-hyphen, but i need the longer one. Question marked as Solved User profile for user: Tom Gewecke Tom Gewecke. So any ideas on how to make an em-dash and its shortcut key? View answer in context. All replies Drop Down menu. Loading page content.