How to Type Em Dash on Mac

Joel Mason

Mac, Tutorials

How to Type Em Dash on Mac

An em dash (—) is a punctuation mark used to indicate a break in thought or a change in tone. It is longer than an en dash (-) and is typically used to set off parenthetical phrases or emphasize certain parts of a sentence.

While the em dash may not be readily available on your keyboard, there are several ways to type it on a Mac. In this tutorial, we will explore different methods to effectively use the em dash in your writing.

Method 1: Keyboard Shortcut

One of the easiest ways to type an em dash on a Mac is by using a keyboard shortcut. Follow these steps:

  1. Place your cursor where you want to insert the em dash.
  2. Press Option + Shift + Minus (-) keys simultaneously.
  3. The em dash (—) will appear at the cursor’s location.

Note: The hyphen key (-) on your keyboard will not produce an em dash. Make sure to use the minus key next to the 0 key for this shortcut.

Method 2: AutoCorrect Feature in Pages or Keynote

If you are using Apple’s Pages or Keynote applications, you can take advantage of the AutoCorrect feature to automatically convert two hyphens into an em dash.

  1. Type two hyphens (–).
  2. As soon as you press space or enter, the two hyphens will be replaced with an em dash (—).

This feature can save time and effort when working extensively with em dashes within these applications.

Method 3: Character Viewer

If you are unable to use the keyboard shortcuts or prefer a more visual approach, you can utilize the Character Viewer on your Mac.

  1. Click on the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen and select “System Preferences”.
  2. In the System Preferences window, click on “Keyboard”.
  3. In the Keyboard tab, check the box next to “Show Keyboard and Emoji viewers in menu bar”.
  4. A small icon will appear in your menu bar. Click on it and select “Show Character Viewer”.
  5. In the Character Viewer window, search for “em dash” using the search bar.
  6. Double-click on the em dash (—) character to insert it at your cursor’s location.

This method allows you to access a wide range of special characters beyond just em dashes.


Using em dashes can enhance your writing by adding emphasis or providing additional information. With these methods, you can easily incorporate em dashes into your content on a Mac.

Whether you prefer keyboard shortcuts, AutoCorrect features, or utilizing the Character Viewer, mastering these techniques will make your writing more engaging and professional.

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