When writing emails and articles I often find myself in the need to use a long/em dash character, not to be confused with the hyphen - character. Normally what I end up doing is I type two consecutive hyphens -- and hit the Space key, which then ends up replacing the two hyphens with the long dash.

However, when posting articles in browser-based editors this doesn't always work — such as with the post editor here — so I have to type the double hyphen + Space elsewhere, like in a dummy email, copy the long dash from there and paste it here. This is very inconvenient of course.

I'd like a shortcut to enter the long dash character directly.


This might be one of those that changes by language, but on a UK English keyboard [& from comments, also US English], there are 4 dashes available from the key to the right of 0, Minus.

- - key alone (hyphen)
- Opt ⌥ (en dash)
- Opt ⌥ Shift ⇧ (em dash)
_ - Shift ⇧ (underscore)

Late Edit...
To complete the set, & from comments...

Ctrl ⌃ Opt ⌥ - will give 'information separator one' which looks like a space "" & doesn't even seem to print in here. You could, however use the keyboard replacement tool to turn that into a true minus sign... −

enter image description here

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    This is true on the American English keyboard as well. – OldBunny2800 Apr 11 '19 at 13:22
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    To complete the standard quartet, is there a way to type U+2212 MINUS SIGN (−) without the manual Unicode input method? – wchargin Apr 12 '19 at 1:54
  • @wchargin for U+2212 you have to use character viewer or unicode hex input. Do you really have a need for that? Is there a problem using the ascii version available on every keyboard, which is called "hyphen-minus". – Tom Gewecke Apr 12 '19 at 12:29
  • @TomGewecke: Yeah, I use U+2212 all the time. One benefit is that “+” and “−” are the same width (in any good font). It’s also just semantically the right thing to do—for the same reason that you wouldn’t typeset an em dash as three consecutive hyphens. – wchargin Apr 13 '19 at 1:46
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    @wchargin - I added a method to complete your 'set' :) – Tetsujin Apr 13 '19 at 7:47

After some digging around I've found that Alt+Shift+Minus renders the long/em dash (—) character.

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    I was about to write an answer, but discovered that though I can set all 4 dashes in here as comments - – — _ that in the answer space the n-dash – & m-dash — were coming out as the same character. – Tetsujin Apr 11 '19 at 8:37
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    & yet once posted, it corrects itself. Odd. – Tetsujin Apr 11 '19 at 8:40
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    @Tetsujin It's because the monospace font renders and identically. – wizzwizz4 Apr 11 '19 at 13:39
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    Macs do not have Alt keys. The key you are looking for is Option. – Glen Yates Apr 11 '19 at 16:05
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    @GlenYates Don't be so hasty: Every Mac keyboard I've owned has 'alt' on it. The beige ones use to have Option written as well as alt, but that was phased out. It may depend on region/language layout. – benwiggy Apr 11 '19 at 16:35

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