Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Inserting Different Dashes.

Inserting Different Dashes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 14, 2013)

Typographers use different dashes for different purposes. The only difference between the dashes is their width. For instance, you get one type of dash when you press on the minus key-it is a dash that is very narrow. A longer dash is called an en dash, because it is the same width as a lowercase n. An en-dash is typically used to denote ranges of numbers. Wider still is the em-dash, which is just as wide as a lowercase m. The em-dash is typically used in sentences, as a dash between clauses. To insert an en-dash in your document, hold down the Alt key and type 0150 on the numeric keypad; an em-dash is produced by holding down the Alt key and typing 0151.

Another way to insert the dashes is to use the minus key on the numeric keypad. If you press Ctrl+- (remember, on the numeric keypad), then Word inserts an en-dash. The wider em-dash is inserted by using Ctrl+Alt+-.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9319) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Inserting Different Dashes.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


Inserting Text with a Macro

Need to have your macro insert a bit of text into your document? It's easy to do using the TypeText method.

Discover More

Determining If a Number is Odd or Even

If you need to know whether a particular value is odd or even, you can use this simple formula. Designed to be used in a ...

Discover More

Different Layout for a Portion of a Page

Got a document layout that requires a portion of the page to be in one layout and another portion to be in a different ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Consistent Spacing

It is a good idea to make sure that the spacing following each sentence in your document is consistent. Here's a handy ...

Discover More

Overlining Characters

Want to add an overline above a character or two in your document? There are several ways you can try, as described in ...

Discover More

Replacing Spaces in Part Numbers with Dashes

Word has a power capability to search for information and then replace that information in some way. Finding the right ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 5 + 9?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.