There are two main ways to type the various types of dashes: using keyboard keys and shortcuts and (in Microsoft Word) using the Insert menu.
Dash use 1 of 2: Keyboard keys and shortcuts
This table shows the various shortcut keys for inserting the different types of dashes in Microsoft Word.
|Dash symbol||Keyboard key or shortcut|
|Mac OSX||Windows OS|
|Hyphen (-)||Hyphen key||Hyphen key|
|Minus sign (−)||Not available||Not available|
|En dash (–)||Opt + hyphen key||Ctrl + hyphen key|
|Em dash (—)||Opt + Shift + hyphen key||Ctrl + Alt + hyphen key|
|The 3-em dash (———)||Opt + Shift + hyphen key (×3)||Ctrl + Alt + hyphen key (×3)|
Using keyboard shortcuts or inserting symbols in Word uses Unicode referencing, a uniform standard for expressing computer text. For example, UTF-8, the most common type of character encoding for digital text, represents the majority of character expression and thus can convert non-English characters, such as Chinese, into digital text using a uniform referencing system. Therefore, inserting and expressing symbols is generalized among languages other than English, allowing uniform symbol use for authors using language other than English on their Word processor or keyboards.
Dash use 2 of 2: Using the Insert menu in MS Word
The below figure shows how to insert an en dash, em dash, 3-em dash, or minus sign in Microsoft Word on the Mac OSX.
For MS Word, go to the Insert ribbon, then choose Symbol, and then More Symbols: