How to type em dash (–) in Word, Excel & Mac OS

  • by degrees

Em dash is a symbol that is used in Text documents and applications. There are 3 main Dashes in computer that are used widely. But one is more important that is em dash we discussed in below article. We share an image that shows the difference between the three dashes.

Em dash in windows

MS Word automatically changes the hyphen to an em dash in the following case: separate the hyphen with spaces on both sides, and after the word following the hyphen, make a space. The hyphen will become a middle dash.

  • Press the “Ctrl” + “-” keys (minus on the numeric keypad), the result is a middle dash.
  • Press the “Alt” key, type “0150” on the numeric keypad, and then release the keys. A dash appears in the text.
  • Type the number on the pad “2013”, and then press the “Alt” + “X” keys.

Em dash on a Mac OS computer

Apple computer keyboards also support variable dash lengths.

To enter an em dash, press Alt + Shift +

So, you learned how to put an em dash on the keyboard, although there is no key with such a symbol on it. Now you can choose a method convenient for you from the suggested ones. We hope that thanks to our instructions, your documents will be “dressed up”, no matter what operating systems you are working on.

How to put an em dash in Word

  • Press the “Alt” key, type “0150” on the numeric keypad, and then release the keys. A dash appears in the text.


  • Word has a symbol table in the Insert tab.
  • In the Word window or Word Online, click the Insert tab.
  • In the window that appears, select “More Symbols”.
  • In the Symbols window, open the Symbols tab, in the Font field select the Plain Text option, and in the Type field select the General punctuation marks option as shown in image below.
  • Highlight the em dash, click on the “Insert” button.
  • Insert symbol
  • An em dash will be added to the text of the document.

Read more:

How to enter an em dash on a Windows computer

5 Methods to put an em dash in Word

In most cases, the need to enter a dash in the text arises in this text editor. We bring to your attention 5 Methods to choose from. Moreover, these techniques are equally relevant for Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2020.

The first Method

One of the easiest Methods to write an em dash is with keyboard shortcuts (hotkeys).

Place the cursor at the desired position in the text and with the “Ctrl” + “Alt” buttons pressed, press “-” on the additional numeric keypad on the right. Please note, “NumLock” must be enabled.

em dash in Word

Here the question may arise, how to put an em dash on a laptop, because not all models have a Numpad (number pad on the keyboard)? The lack of a numpad on laptops is compensated by the auxiliary Fn key and some other keys. But still, not all laptop owners will be able to put an em dash in this Method, so use other options.

Second Method

We use a special code – one of the so-called Alt-codes (they execute commands for entering characters that are not on the keyboard).

Press the “Alt” key while holding it, type “0151” without quotes. Enter the numbers on the numeric block on the right, when “NumLock” is on. When you release the Alt key, an em dash will appear where the cursor was.

Em dash on keyboard

Some laptops do not have a separate numeric keypad. You can connect an external keyboard via USB. You can use the on-screen keyboard built into Windows:

  • Start-Programs-Accessories-Accessibility-On-Screen Keyboard. Further, everything is the same.
  • It is more convenient to press Alt on the laptop itself, then click on the numbers 0151 on the block of numeric keys of the on-screen keyboard on the right.
  • A dash will appear after releasing the Alt key and pressing the spacebar.

By the Method: this method can be called universal. If you are typing somewhere other than Word, hold down the Alt key and type 0151 on the numeric keyboard layout. Get an em dash.

Third Method

It is also simple and also uses a keyboard shortcut Hexadecimal code. We type the combination of numbers “2015” or “2014” and immediately press the combination “Alt + X”. After that, the entered characters are converted to an em dash.

Fourth Method

  • Users who are not friendly with codes can use an insert.
  • At the top of Word or in Word Online, click the Insert tab.
  • Click on the “Symbols” button and select the “Other Symbols” submenu
  • em dash character
  • After that, the “Symbol” window will open, where in the “Font” field, select “(plain text)”, and in the “Set” field, select “punctuation marks”. All kinds of dashes are provided here.
  • Highlight the em dash and click the Insert button. Here you should pay attention to the keyboard shortcut (at the bottom of the window), which allows you to add the selected dash (this method was considered first).
  • To simplify the task and not search for the necessary dash among the huge selection, you can simply open the “Special characters” tab. There select an em dash and press “insert”.

Fifth Method

Autocorrect In the same symbol table, you can configure the autocorrect settings to automatically replace the characters entered from the keyboard with the desired character.

In the same Method, as in the previous paragraph, open the “Symbol” window, select the desired dash and press the button below “AutoCorrect”.

Autocorrect em dash

A new window will open, where in the “replace” field we put convenient signs for us, for example, a minus sign, three hyphens in a row, or any combination of letters, for example “dt”. In the field “on” there is already a selected em dash, press “Add” and “OK”.

em dash

Everything subsequently, when entering a combination of the characters you have selected, an em dash will appear.

You can use any of these five methods while working in Word.

How to put an em dash in Google Docs

First Method

– This is the universal technique already mentioned above – by pressing the “Alt + 0151” keys.

Second Method

Method – AutoCorrect.

  • Open the main menu “Tools”, select the submenu “Settings”.
  • em dash in Google Docs (1)
  • In the “Replace” field, select a combination of characters that will be replaced with an em dash. Enter it (em dash) in the “On” field using the “Alt + 0151” keys.
  • Often they choose a double hyphen or a space-hyphen-space for this, everyone has the right to use whatever combinations they want. At the end, click on the “OK” button.
  • After saving the settings, it is important to go back to the settings and check the box next to the newly created rule. Otherwise, it won’t work.

How to put an em dash in Excel

In Excel, there are also two options for inserting an em dash into a cell: a set of key combinations on the keyboard and the use of a special characters window. These are the above methods 2 and 4 for a Word.

Let’s consider them in relation to the Excel program.

Option one: using a keyboard short

While holding down the key on the numeric keypad, dial the numbers 0151. After releasing the key, an em dash will be displayed in the specified cell.

Option two: special characters window

  • Select the cell in which you need to enter a dash, and go to the “Insert” tab.
  • In the “Symbols” select the “Symbol” item.
  • em dash to excel
  • Go to its tab “Special characters”.
  • We choose the “Em dash” option. To install this symbol in a pre-selected cell, select this name and click on the “Insert” button located at the bottom of the window.
  • After that, you can close the window for inserting special characters. Click on the standard icon for closing windows in the form of a white cross in a red square, located in the upper right corner of the window.
  • An em dash will be inserted into the sheet in the preselected cell.

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