How to write an em dash

In the [Drupal docs](http://drupal.org/handbooks) we often see misuse of the hyphen where an [em dash](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Em_dash#Em_dash) should be the order of the day. For my own reference as well as yours here's how to write an em dash.

Windows: Alt+0151 (en dash Alt+0150)

OSX: Shift-option-dash

Linux: Go to: System > Preferences > Keyboard > Layouts > Layout Options > Compose key position, and check ‘Right Alt is Compose’.
Then, gasp, — = Right Alt + —

en dash and em dash characters
glyph Unicode HTML HTML/XML
en dash – U+2013 (8211) – – or –
em dash — U+2014 (8212) — — or —

The [PagePlus keyboard](http://www.aimwell.org/Fonts/Keyboards/keyboards.html#PagePlus) looks interesting but I haven't tried it. I have a Swedish keyboard so perhaps it won't work anyhow.

> God forbid that the em-dash's unique function be gradually encroached upon by the comma, the semi-colon and the parenthesis, just because of an ignorant oversight at the dawn of the PC. It would be a tragic loss. There are some times when nothing less than an em-dash will do.[^1]

Amen to that.

[^1]: [http://makebelieve.nfshost.com/posts/04/02/20/0](http://makebelieve.nfshost.com/posts/04/02/20/0)

Last updated 24th April, 2009 - 3:29am

Authored by Jeff Burnz on