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

Updated: 07/12/2017 by Computer Hope

Microsoft WordUsing 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

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.

Inserting an Em dash using Microsoft Word AutoFormatFor example, typing:

Something--Something(space)

Will automatically format the line as:

Something—Something

After you type the final space.

Tip: With Num Lock enabled, you can also use the shortcut combination Ctrl+Alt+Minus to create an Em dash (using the Minus key located on numeric keypad).

Insert an En dash, using 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.

Inserting an En dash using Microsoft Word AutoFormatFor example, typing:

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

Automatically format the line to:

1993 – 1995

After you type the final space.

Tip: With Num Lock enabled, you can also use the shortcut combination Ctrl+Minus to create an En dash (using the Minus key located on the numeric keypad).

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.

Using copy and paste

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

  1. Highlight the dash you want:

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)

Additional information