Dash & the keyboard

While the hyphen is easy to find on a keyboard, it’s much more difficult to find the dash, let alone choose between the en-dash and the em-dash. Some people resort to using two hyphens to appropriate a dash (–), but this looks unprofessional.

Dash on a PC keyboard

You can create a dash on a PC by holding down the ALT key and typing either 0150 (en-dash) or 0151 (em-dash). The en-dash and em-dash are similar but have slight differences. This website explains the difference between the en-dash and em-dash.

Only use the numbers on the keypad to the right of your keyboard. This will not work using the numbers above the letters on the keyboard.

The Apple Mac keyboard and the dash

The en-dash can be created by pressing the option and dash keys at the same time on the Mac. You need to press the shift-option and the minus key to create the em-dash.

Dash and HTML

The HTML value for en-dash is – and the em-dash is &#8212. Type these into your HTML to add a dash to your website.

Creating a Dash in Microsoft Word

You can automatically create an em-dash by typing two hyphens between two words in Microsoft Word. To add an en-dash, you’ll need to go to insert>symbol> and select it from the list of symbols. You can also select an em-dash using this method.

7 thoughts on “Dash & the keyboard

  1. You can automatically create an en-dash by typing two hyphens between two words (with spaces between the words) in Microsoft Word.

  2. Thank you so much!!! It’s taken me days searching the correct way to get the em and en dashes on my computer! You explained it perfectly!. (the numbers to the rights of the keyboard!)

  3. Yes, but how can you enter an em-dash on one of the ever-more-popular “TKL” (number pad-less) boards? That is, without resorting to one of those system-wide macro programs, which seem creepy and overkill?

  4. If you type space hyphen space in Word it will automatically create an n-dash when you type a space at the end of your next word. (If you want to add punctuation, do it after your hyphen changes.)

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