2 Easy Ways To Insert an Em Dash in Google Docs
Em dash or long dash might be a less popular dash character compared to, say, a hyphen, but when you will have to use it; you won’t find a key on your keyboard. Standard keyboards don’t come with a key to enter an em dash, you will have to use the text program’s built-in tools or use a supported keyboard command.
If you use Google Docs for document creation, then you should know how to make an em dash in Google Docs. In this post, I am going to show you 2 ways to insert an em dash in Google Docs and a bonus method to make it easier to enter em dash when needed.
Use Google Docs special characters to insert an em dash
Google Docs comes with hundreds of special characters, including an em dash. You can use this special characters section to find and insert an em dash. This method is a bit cumbersome, but it works fine if you don’t use em dash often. Here’s how to access it:
Click on the “Insert” menu in the top bar and click on the “Special characters” option in it.
Here in the search bar, type “em dash” and the em dash character will appear in the left panel. Click on the em dash and it will be inserted in the document. You can keep the special characters window open to insert more em dashes if needed.
Use keyboard key combination to insert an em dash in Google Docs
Another way to enter em dash in Google Docs is to use a keyboard key combination based on your operating system. If you use em dash often while writing, then remembering this combination will be very helpful.
In Windows, you will actually have to use a small code and it will automatically enter an em dash in Google Docs. Simply press and hold the “Alt” key and type “0151” using the numeric pad. Make sure you use the numeric pad as the regular number keys won’t work. As soon as you will type the code and release the “Alt” key, the em dash will be inserted.
In Mac OS X, you can press the keys Option+Shift+ – (hyphen) together and the em dash will be inserted.
Apart from these two methods, you can also create a substitution rule in Google Docs to enter em dash based on a custom shortcut. For example, you can tell Google Docs to enter an em dash wherever you will enter two hyphens (just like Microsoft Word). Here’s how to do it:
Click on the “Tools” menu in the top bar and select “Preferences” from it.
Here move to the “Substitution” section and add the trigger word in the “Replace” section and em dash in the “With” section. Afterward, press the spacebar key to register the substitution rule and click on “OK”.
You can use any trigger word you like, it could be a word or multiple characters. Such as emdash, edsh, — (double hyphen), or em. Most people prefer using double hyphens like this “–” so you might prefer doing that. And to add em dash in the “With” section, just write it down using the keyboard combination or copy it from here ( — ) and paste it there.
Once the trigger word is created, you can just enter it in the document and then press the spacebar key to insert an em dash.
If you don’t use em dash often, then using the special characters tool is the easiest option as you won’t have to memorize anything. Although for regular use, you should memorize the keyboard key combination or create a substitution in Google Docs. I have personally memorized the Alt+0151 combination as it helps me in using em dash in other text processing tools too.