How to Type Em Dash (or Long Dash) in Word - How to Type Anything

How to Type Em Dash (or Long Dash) in Word


Em Dash or Em Rule is also sometimes referred to as Long Dash. It is a type of dash that is three times as long as a hyphen or minus sign (-). This dash is called em dash because it is one em wide.

In today’s article, you’ll learn about all the available methods you can use to type the Em Dash Symbol in Word using Windows or Mac.

Without any further ado, let’s get started.

Em Dash [—] Quick Help

The table below contains all the information you need to type the Em Dash symbol in Word using either your Mac or Windows PC. If you are lazy to use the keyboard, you can as well copy and paste the symbol into your document.

Symbol NameEm Dash
Symbol
Alt Code0151
Shortcut for WindowsAlt+0151
Shortcut for Mac[Option] + [Shift] + [-]
Shortcut in Word (Win)[Alt] + [Ctrl] + [Num -]

To type the Em Dash symbol in Word for Mac, press [Option] + [Shift] + [-] on your keyboard. If you are on Windows, press and hold the Alt key and type the Em Dash alt code which is 0151 on the numeric keypad, then release the alt key.

Shortcut to type em dash symbol in Word

The above quick guide provides some useful information about the Em Dash symbol including shortcuts and alt codes you can use on both Windows and Mac. However, below are some other methods you can also employ to insert this symbol into your Word document.

5 ways to type an Em Dash [—] symbol in Word

Microsoft Word provides several methods for typing or inserting symbols that do not have dedicated keys on the keyboard.

In this section, I will make available for you five different methods you can use to type or insert the Em Dash symbol in Word for both Mac and Windows users.

Without any further ado, let’s get started.

Using the Em Dash [—] Alt Code (Windows Only)

The Em Dash Symbol alt code is 0151.            

Even though the Em dash symbol does not have a dedicated key on the keyboard, it can still be typed using the Alt Numpad Input Method which is also known as the Alt code method. This can be done by pressing and holding the Alt key whilst pressing the Em dash symbol Alt code (0151) using the numeric keypad. This method is for Windows only. And your keyboard must also have a numeric keypad.

Em dash symbol alt code illustrated

Obey the following instructions to type the em dash symbol using the alt code method:

  • Place your insertion pointer where you need the symbol.
  • Press and hold the Alt key on your keyboard.
  • Whilst holding on to the Alt key, press the symbol’s alt code (0151). You must use the numeric keypad to type the alt code. If you are using a laptop without the numeric keypad, this method may not work for you. On some laptops, there’s a hidden numeric keypad which you can enable by pressing Fn+NmLk keystrokes on the keyboard.
  • Release the Alt key after typing the Alt code to insert the Symbol into your document.

This is how you may type this symbol in Word using the Alt Code method.

Using the Em Dash Shortcut (Mac and Windows)

The keyboard shortcut for the Em Dash Symbol is [Option] + [Shift] + [-] for Mac. For Windows users, use the Alt Code method or press [Alt] + [Ctrl] + [Num -]. The [Num -] key means the minus key on the numeric keypad on the Windows Keyboard. This shortcut won’t work if you use the minus key that’s in line with the Backspace key.

Shortcut to type em dash symbol in Word

To type the em dash symbol on Mac, obey the instructions below:

  • First of all, place the insertion pointer where you need to type the Em Dash symbol.
  • Press and hold the Option and the Shift key and hit once on the [-] (Minus or Hyphen) key.

With this keyboard shortcut, you can type the Em Dash symbol anywhere on your Mac computer.

  • For windows users, press [Alt] + [Ctrl] + [Num -]. The [Num -] means the minus key on the numeric keypad.
  • Alternatively, press and hold the alt key and type 0151 on the number pad.

These are the steps you may use to type this symbol in Microsoft Word.

Copy and Paste Em Dash

Another easy way to get the Em Dash symbol on any PC is to use my favorite method: copy and paste.

All you have to do is to copy the symbol from somewhere like a web page or the character map for windows users, and head over to where you need the symbol (say in Word), then hit Ctrl+V to paste.

Below is the symbol for you to copy and paste into your Word document. Just select it and press Ctrl+C to copy, switch over to Microsoft Word, place your insertion pointer at the desired location and press Ctrl+V to paste.

For windows users, obey the following instructions to copy and paste the em dash symbol using the character map dialog box.

  • Click on the Start button and search for Character Map. The Character Map app will appear in the search results, click on it to open.
search for character map on windows
  • The Character Map dialog will appear. Click on the Advanced view check box to expand the dialog box for more options.
Check the Advanced view checkbox to expand the dialog
  • On the advanced view, type Em Dash in the Search box.
  • You should now see only the Em Dash on the character map dialog. Double click on the symbol to select it. Alternatively, click on the Select button.
  • After you select the symbol by double-clicking on it, it should appear in the Character to copy: field, then click on the Copy button to copy the symbol.
Type em dash in the search box
  • Switch to your Microsoft Word document, place the insertion pointer at the desired location and press Ctrl+V to paste.

This is how you may use the Character Map dialog to copy and paste any symbol on Windows PC.

Using insert Symbol dialog box

The insert symbol dialog box is a library of symbols from where you can insert any symbol into your Word document with just a couple of mouse clicks.

Obey the following steps to insert the Em Dash Symbol in Word using the insert symbol dialog box.

  • Open your Word document.
  • Click to place the insertion pointer where you wish to insert the symbol.
  • Go to the Insert tab.
Click on the Insert tab
  • In the Symbols category, click on the Symbol drop-down and select the More Symbols button.
Go to Symbols>More Symbols
  • The Symbol dialog box will appear. In the Subset drop-down list, select General Punctuation to display symbols in this category which includes the Em Dash symbol.
  • Select the symbol and click on the Insert button. Alternatively, double click on the symbol to insert it into your Word document.
Insert em dash symbol in Word
  • Close the dialog.

The symbol will then be inserted exactly where you place the insertion pointer in the beginning.

These are the steps you may use to insert the Em Dash symbol in Word.

Using AutoCorrect to Type Em dash in Word

Another approach you may use to obtain this symbol is through the AutoCorrect feature in Word.

AutoCorrect in MS Word is a facility designed for correcting spelling mistakes like thsi to this.

With this feature, you can assign your own short code to the em dash symbol. This way, you can easily type the em dash symbol using the short code. For instance, if you happen to frequently type the Em Dash symbol, you can assign a short code like EMDASH to this symbol. This way, whenever you type the text EMDASH, Word will think that you actually wanted to type — and will convert it into the Em Dash Symbol automatically.

typing em dash in Word illustrated

Without any further ado, below are the steps.

  • Go to the insert tab.
  • In the Symbols category, click on the Symbol drop-down and select More Symbols.
Go to Symbols>More Symbols
  • The Symbol dialog box will appear. In the Subset drop-down list, select General Punctuation from the list to display the General Punctuation symbols which include the Em Dash symbol.
  • Select the em dash symbol and click on the AutoCorrect button.
Click the Emdash symbol in the dialog and click on the AutoCorrect
  • The AutoCorrect dialog box will appear. Select the ‘Replace text as you type’ checkbox.
  • In the Replace: box, type EMDASH.
  • By default, the With: box will contain the em dash sign. Just in case it is not there, please paste it there.
Specify your Em dash shortcode
  • Now click on the Add button and hit on OK.

At this point, whenever you type the text EMDASH in Word, it’ll convert to the Em Dash symbol.

However, below are some things you should note when you are using the AutoCorrect Method to type this symbol in Word.

  • AutoCorrect is case sensitive. Meaning if you type emdash (in lowercase), Word will not autocorrect it for you unless you type EMDASH (in uppercase). Whatever case you used to assign the AutoCorrect text is what Word will recognize.
  • If there is any text before or after the AutoCorrect text, Word will consider the AutoCorrect text as part of the text and hence will not do any autocorrection. For example, XEMDASH will not get converted since the EMDASH is joining with another character X. However, X EMDASH will convert to X since the X is separated from the EMDASH.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are several different methods you can use to type the Em Dash Symbol in Microsoft Word.

Using the shortcuts for both Windows and Mac makes the fastest option for this task. Shortcuts are always fast.

Thank you very much for stepping on this blog.

If you have anything thing to say or questions to ask about the em dash symbol, please drop it in the comments below.

Abdulai Abarika

My name is Abdulai Abarika , and I am the person behind this blog. I am a lifelong learner that is constantly fascinated by technology. I believe that fundamentally, all computer users are typists. So, learning how to type was the first step I took when I first decided to learn about technology. This blog is about teaching you how to type the symbols or characters hidden on the keyboard.

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