Standard keyboards don’t have special keys for special punctuation like en or em dashes if you want to use them in Google Docs. This is how you can create hyphens and dashes in your documents.

Since we are a technology website, we won’t go into detail on when and how to use each form of punctuation. Instead, you can check what is hyphen, dash, and dash if you don’t know when to use each punctuation mark. Essentially, a hyphen is a dash (-), a dot dash is the length of two dashes (-), and a dash is the length of three dashes (-).

Manually create hyphens and dashes

The first thing you need to do is fire up your browser and open your Google Docs file to get started.

The hyphen is the simplest punctuation mark you can create in Google Docs. Chances are your keyboard already has a key just for this purpose. Depending on the keyboard layout, the hyphen is at the top and next to the zero (0) key. All you have to do is click on it and that’s it. The hyphen has been created.

The dashes En and em are a bit harder to find. There are no keys on keyboards dedicated to these punctuation marks. Unless you’re a professional writer, you probably won’t use them as often.

While you could enter the appropriate Alt key code for en or em dash, you have an easier way to insert them into your document. Documents have a special character tool that allows you to add them without having to remember their codes.

Click the document you want to insert a dash into, open the Insert menu, and click Special Characters.

Click Insert and then click Special Characters.

Once the tool opens, type «em dash» or «en dash» into the search bar and then click on the symbol with the results on the left.

Type em dash into the search bar and then click on the symbol to paste it into your document.

Note . Search results show several types of en and em spaces. To make sure you’ve selected the correct option, hover your mouse over each one before clicking on it.

Hover over each one to make sure you've inserted the correct type of dash.

When you click on the desired stroke, it is inserted directly into the file where the cursor is in your document.

a dash is inserted at the position of the insertion cursor.

If you rarely use en and em dashes, this method is great. However, if you use them frequently, you can tell Docs to automatically format hyphens to en or em hyphens.

Automatically generate dashes

Microsoft Word has a built-in AutoFormat feature that automatically converts hyphens to en and em when you type. -- and --- respectively. Google Docs does not replace them by default. However, you can tell it to convert character strings to anything, such as special characters like en and em dashes.

From a Google Docs file, use the method above to insert a dash or dash into a document, highlight the dash character, right-click it, and then click Copy. Or press Ctrl + C on Windows or Ctrl + C on macOS to copy the character.

Select the dash, right-click it, and select Copy.

Next, select the «Tools» menu and click «Settings».


In the «Auto Replace» section, enter two or three hyphens in the «Replace» field. Then paste the copied slash into the «With» box by right-clicking the box and choosing «Paste» or by pressing Ctrl+V on Windows or Command+V on macOS. Click OK to save your changes and close the window.

In the following sections, enter two or three hyphens in the

Now repeat these steps for another type of dash and that’s it. The next time you need to insert a dash, just type two or three hyphens for the en or em dash. Documents do the rest and automatically convert them without the Special Characters tool.

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