How to Type an Em Dash on Mac

Charlotte Daniels

Mac, Tutorials

Do you find yourself frequently needing to use an em dash in your writing on your Mac? An em dash is a versatile punctuation mark that can add emphasis, indicate a pause, or set off a phrase or clause.

While it may not be readily available on your keyboard, fear not! There are simple ways to type an em dash on your Mac.

Method 1: Keyboard Shortcut

If you prefer using keyboard shortcuts for efficiency, the following combination of keys will allow you to type an em dash in no time:

  1. Step 1: Place your cursor where you want to insert the em dash.
  2. Step 2: Press the Option key and the Shift key simultaneously.
  3. Step 3: While holding down the Option and Shift keys, press the – (hyphen) key.

This combination of keys will instantly create an em dash at the location of your cursor. It’s as simple as that!

Method 2: Character Viewer

If you prefer using a graphical interface, Apple provides the Character Viewer tool that allows you to select and insert special characters, including the em dash. Here’s how to access it:

  1. Step 1: Click on the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen.
  2. Step 2: Select “System Preferences” from the drop-down menu.
  3. Step 3: In System Preferences, click on “Keyboard”.
  4. Step 4: Go to the “Input Sources” tab.
  5. Step 5: Check the box next to “Show input menu in menu bar”.
  6. Step 6: Close System Preferences.
  7. Step 7: Click on the input menu icon in the menu bar (it looks like a flag).
  8. Step 8: Select “Show Character Viewer”.

The Character Viewer window will appear, displaying a vast array of symbols and special characters. To find the em dash, simply search for it using the search bar or browse through the Punctuation category. Once you’ve located it, click on it to insert it at your cursor’s position.

Bonus Tip: Create a Keyboard Shortcut (macOS Sierra and later)

If you frequently use the em dash and want an even faster way to type it, you can create a keyboard shortcut. Here’s how:

  1. Step 1: Go to “System Preferences” > “Keyboard”.
  2. Step 2: Select the “Text” tab.
  3. Step 3: Click on the “+” button below the list of shortcuts.
  4. Step 4: In the “Replace” field, type a memorable keyboard shortcut like “–“....>
  5. Step 5: In the “With” field, paste an em dash (—) copied from another source or type two hyphens (–).
  6. Step 6: Click “Add” to save the keyboard shortcut.

Now, whenever you type your chosen shortcut followed by a space or punctuation mark, it will be automatically replaced with an em dash.

With these methods at your fingertips, you can effortlessly incorporate em dashes into your writing on your Mac. Whether you prefer using keyboard shortcuts or the Character Viewer, typing an em dash has never been easier!

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