How do I insert an En dash or Em dash in Microsoft Word?

Updated: 05/04/2019 by Computer Hope
Microsoft Word

Using the AutoFormat feature in Microsoft Word, you can create both an Em dash () and En dash () automatically by typing hyphens. Alternatively, you can insert these special characters using the Insert Symbol menu. You can also copy and paste the dashes from another document, such as a web page, into your Word document.

Tip

If AutoFormat is not enabled in your copy of Microsoft Word, see our page on how to enable/disable AutoFormat.

Insert an Em dash using AutoFormat

Inserting an Em dash using Microsoft Word AutoFormat

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

In a Word document:

  1. Type a word, with no space after it.
  2. Type two hyphens, with no space between or after them.
  3. Type another word.
  4. Type a space.

For example, typing:

Something--Something(space)

Will automatically format the line as:

Something—Something

When you press the spacebar after typing the example text above.

Insert an En dash using AutoFormat

Inserting an En dash using Microsoft Word AutoFormat

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

In a Word document:

  1. Type a word, with a space after it.
  2. Type a single hyphen, with a space after it.
  3. Type another word.
  4. Type a space.

For example, typing:

1993(space)-(space)1995(space)

Automatically format the line to:

1993 – 1995

When you press the spacebar after typing the example text above.

Insert an Em or En dash using shortcut keys

To create an Em dash, use the shortcut key combination Ctrl+Alt+Minus.

To create an En dash, use the shortcut key combination Ctrl+Minus.

Note

Num Lock must be enabled and you need to use the Minus key located on the numeric keypad.

Insert an Em or En dash using the Symbol menu

You can also insert a special dash using the Insert Symbol menu:

  1. In a Microsoft Word document, choose Insert in the Menu bar.
  2. Choose Symbol.
  3. Choose More Symbols.
  4. Click the characters you'd like to insert. The Em dash should be on the second row. To insert multiple characters, click them one at a time.
  5. When you're finished, click Close to close the special characters window.

Inserting an Em dash using Microsoft Word Insert Symbol menu

Note

If the En dash is not offered in your Symbol menu, you can still use another method to insert it.

Insert an Em or En dash using copy and paste

If all else fails, copy and paste the dash from another document, such as this page.

  1. Highlight the dash you want to insert:

Em dash:
En dash:

  1. Copy it. (Press Ctrl-C, or -C on a Mac)
  2. In your Word document, place the text cursor where you'd like the dash to go, and paste it. (Press Ctrl-V, or -V on a Mac)

Remove an Em or En dash

If your Word document has an Em dash or En dash and you want to remove it, do one of the following.

  • Highlight the Em dash or En dash using your mouse, then press the Delete key.
  • Place the text cursor after the Em dash or En dash, then press the Backspace key.

If you want to replace the Em dash or En dash with a normal hyphen, type the hyphen after removing the Em or En dash.

Additional information