[found on makeuseof.com]“Stop avoiding dashes in your writing just because you don’t know how to type them outside of word processors. Learn the proper keyboard shortcuts and you can type these essential parts of the English language in basic text editors, browsers and anywhere else you may need them. The en dash (–) is my favorite piece of punctuation–it’s perfect for inserting points, like this one–but I’ve been neglecting it in my writing for a couple of years, for a really dumb reason. What’s my dumb reason? I’ve stopped using Word and Open/Libre Office. I know their shortcut for an em dash–type two dashes between two words and they will transform once you type a space after the second word. I stopped using word processors when I started writing for the Internet, however, because they add a bunch of nonsense code to my writing. But outside programs with their own shortcut, I never got around to learning how to write em or en dashes. This means the text editors and browsers I now do my writing in are dashless wastelands. There are online tools for creating em dashes, and I’ve resorted to Googling “en dash” and copying the resulting punctuation, though Not anymore. I’m going to stop restructuring sentences out of laziness, and I’m going to help you do so as well. Here’s how to make your favorite punctuation on your favorite operating system. Keep reading!
Create Em and En Dashes On A Mac!First up: the easy one. Apple’s operating system OS X comes with a couple of keyboard shortcuts that make typing em and en dash a snap.
- For an en dash (–), use “Option” and “-”.
- For an em dash (—), use “Option”, “Shift” and “-”.
Create Em and En Dashes on Windows!
Windows users can easily make an em dash if they’re using Word: just type two dashes between two words, as I explained above. Outside of Word, however, the story is different: you need to use four digit alt codes. You’re going to need a keyboard with a number pad for this–the block of numbers to the right of the arrow keys:
Laptops without physical number pads can occasionally use the “Fn” key and some letter keys instead of a number keypad–search your keyboard for blue numbers. Lacking that, you may be out of luck.
- To create you dash, first put your cursor where you’d like it and hold down the “Alt” button. Now you need to type a four digit code:
- 0150 for the en dash (–)
- 0151 for the em dash (—).”