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How to type an en dash and em dash on Windows and Mac

You have plenty of options for typing various dashes.

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If you’ve ever needed to drop a dash but don’t know how, it’s never too late to learn. Don’t worry, we’ll show you how to type both an en das and em dash on Windows and Mac.

Sometimes a simple minus symbol isn’t enough, and a longer en or em dash is more fitting for the occasion.

Generally, you can type most common symbols by hitting the right keys at the right time and, quite often, in the right order. Let’s discuss how to type en and em dashes on Windows and Mac.

How to type en and em dash on Windows

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Image: Microsoft

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When it comes to dropping dashes in Windows, you have several options. A simple key combination is the quickest method, or you can opt for Alt codes if you prefer to hit a few extra buttons.

And if all else fails, the character viewer can step in to save the situation. Let’s go over the options for Windows.

Using key combinations on Windows

Here are the key combinations for the en and em dashes on Windows:

  • En (–) dash: Ctrl + Minus (-)
  • Em (—) dash: Ctrl + Alt + Minus (-)

Using Alt codes to type en and em dashes on Windows

Here’s how to type en and em dashes using Windows Alt codes:

  • En (–) dash: Hold Alt, press 8211, and release Alt
  • Em (—) dash: Hold Alt, press 8212, and release Alt

Using character viewer

Here’s how to insert an en or em dash using the Windows character viewer:

  1. Open the character viewer using Windows + Period (.) and click the Symbols button
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  1. Locate the En (–) or Em (—) dash and click to insert
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Now, you are fully equipped with the knowledge to add all the dashes you want on Windows.

How to type en and em dash on Mac

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In macOS, dropping dashes is as easy as hitting a few keys.

Or if you prefer to do things the hard way—or if your keyboard has malfunctioned—you can use the character viewer instead. Let’s go over the options for macOS.

Using key combinations on macOS

Here are the key combinations for the en and em dashes on Mac:

  • En (–) dash: Option (⌥) + Minus (-)
  • Em (—) dash: Shift (⇧) + Option (⌥) + Minus (-)

Using character viewer to type en and em dashes on Mac

Here’s how to insert an en or em dash using the macOS character viewer:

  1. In the relevant app, go to Edit > Emoji & Symbols (mac-edit-menu.jpg)mac edit menu on macos

  2. Select Punctuation in the side menu (mac-character-viewer-emoji.jpg)ma character viewer showing emojis

  3. Locate the En (–) or Em (—) dash and Double-click to insertmac character viewer showing punctuation

Multiple ways to drop a dash

Dropping dashes is a great way to give your punctuation some style and flair. Key combinations keep it simple, while character viewers offer a more tedious alternative.

If none of the methods mentioned work for you, you could always try disguising a collection of minuses as the dash you want to drop—and hope that no one notices.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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