How to insert an En or Em dash in Microsoft Word

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By entering hyphens in the AutoFormat feature of Microsoft Word, an Em dash () and En dash () will be generated automatically.
You may also input these special characters by using the Insert Symbol option.
You may alternatively copy and paste the dashes from another document, such as a web page, into your Word document.

Add an Em dash using AutoFormat.

If you do the following, AutoFormat will add an Em dash () as you type.

  1. Type the word without a space after it.
  2. Without a space before or after them, join two hyphens.
  3. Enter a different word here.
  4. Add a space.

Type, for instance:

Word--Word(space)

The line will automatically be formatted as follows:

Word—Word

Do not forget to press Spacebar after the last word.

Add an en dash using AutoFormat

If you do the following, AutoFormat will insert an En dash () as you type.

  1. Enter a word, followed by a space.
  2. After the single hyphen, add a space.
  3. Enter a different word here.
  4. Add a space.

Type, for instance:

Word(space)-(space)Word(space)

The line is automatically formatted as follows:

Word – Word

Do not forget to press Spacebar after the last word.

Add an Em or En dash using the shortcut keys

Insert an Em dash by pressing Ctrl+Alt+- on your keyboard.

To create an En dash, press Ctrl+- on your keyboard.

Add a dash, either Em or En, using the Symbol menu

You may also create a customized dash by using the Insert Symbol option.

  1. Using the menu bar in a Microsoft Word document, choose Insert.
  2. Choose Symbol.
  3. Select More Symbols.
  4. Click on the characters to select them.
    The Em dash should appear in the second row.
    To enter more than one, click each character one at a time.
  5. When finished, click Close to close the special characters window.

Add an Em or En dash by using copy and paste

In the event that all other attempts fail, copy the dash from another document, perhaps this page, and paste it in its place.

  1. Highlight your desired dash:
    Em dash: 
    En dash: 
  2. Copy it.
    Press Ctrl+C on a Windows.
    Press Command+Ctrl+C on a Mac.
  3. In your Word document, position the text cursor where you want the dash to appear, then paste.
    Use Ctrl+V or Command+V on a Mac.

Remove any Em or En dashes

To remove an Em or En dash from a Word document, perform one of the following methods.

  1. Select the Em or En dash with your mouse, then press the Del key.
  2. Press Backspace once the text cursor has been added following an Em or En dash.

If you want to use a conventional hyphen in place of a dash, delete the Em or En dash before writing the hyphen.