What is an Em Dash?
An em dash (—) is one of the most versatile punctuation marks used in writing. It can be used to indicate a break in thought, to set off an appositive, or to add emphasis to a sentence. Em dashes are also known as m-dashes, because they’re the same width as the letter m.
6 Ways to Create an Em Dash
Creating an em dash can be tricky, as not all word processing programs have a specific keystroke for it. Here are six ways to create an em dash in your writing, no matter what tool you’re using.
1. Use a Keyboard Shortcut
The simplest way to create an em dash is to use a keyboard shortcut. On a PC, press Alt + 0151; on a Mac, press Option + Shift + Hyphen.
2. Insert an Em Dash from the Symbol Library
Word processing programs like Microsoft Word and Google Docs have a built-in library of symbols. To insert an em dash from the symbol library, open the library and select the dash.
3. Use Autocorrect
Many word processing programs have an autocorrect feature that changes commonly misspelled words into the correct spelling. You can also set up autocorrect to change two hyphens into an em dash.
4. Copy and Paste
If you don’t want to type out the em dash, you can copy and paste it from another source. This is a quick and easy way to add an em dash to your document.
5. Use a Word Processor Add-On
If you’re using a word processor that doesn’t have a built-in library of symbols or an autocorrect feature, you can use an add-on. There are many free and paid add-ons that allow you to easily insert an em dash into your document.
6. Type Out the Em Dash Manually
If all else fails, you can always type out the em dash manually. This may take a little more time, but it’s the surest way to make sure the em dash is inserted correctly.
Creating an em dash can be tricky, but with these six tools and techniques, you can easily insert em dashes into your writing. Whether you’re using a keyboard shortcut, inserting an em dash from the symbol library, or typing it out manually, you’ll have no trouble adding the perfect punctuation to your document.