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.
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.
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