Em dashes (—) are powerful characters you can use in your writing to create a long, dramatic pause or place emphasis on a phrase. While a standard keyboard allows you use a regular dash (-), it may not have the impact or excitement you intend. Here’s how you can rectify this with a few shortcuts.
If there were ever a competition for the most versatile punctuation mark, the em dash would without doubt be a front runner for the title. Whether you’re typing away on Microsoft word or in the backend of a CMS there’s plenty of ways to summon this special character.
How to insert an em dash on Mac
It’s simple to use an em dash on Mac computers.
All you need to do is hold down the following keys: ALT + SHIFT + MINUS.
Hey presto, you have your very own em dash.
If you’re currently using a Windows machine, it’s a bit more complicated.
How to insert an em dash on Windows PC
There’s several ways to insert an em dash on PC, but not every technique will work for you. Here are a few choice picks:
- Press the WINDOWS key + [ . ] then select Ω in the emoji keyboard — from here you can find and insert your em dash
- Hold down ALT + type 0151 then release the alt key (this may not work on all Windows PCs)
- Use a free program like AutoHotKey to set your own shortcuts
- If you’re using Microsoft Word, you can set two (-) dashes to auto-correct to an em dash (—)
Alternatively, you can use the Sticky Notes app to copy and paste this character for added convenience (or copy it from Google).
Em dashes are wonderful inventions and great for proving a point. Next time you need that added ‘oomph’ in your sentence, crack out one of these bad boys.
You can’t go wrong with a good em dash — and that’s a fact.