On Mac and some other systems, typing two hyphens quickly "--", would be automatically converted to an em dash "—" or an en dash "–" depending on the setting. But Stack Exchange fields are different, and this feature does not work.

Therefore, how to type dashes in Stack Exchange?


The HTML entities – and — work on all systems: in the rendered post, they will be shown as – resp. —.

On a Mac (and on iOS devices connected to a physical keyboard), you can use + - for an en-dash and ⇧ Shift + + - for an em-dash. ( is the Option or Alt key).

On iOS, you can hold the - button and a sub-menu will appear which allows you to choose between different types of dashes.

On Windows, if you have a numeric keypad, you can use Alt + 0150 resp. Alt + 0151.

  • Oh cool! I forgot about HTML entities... And the Mac shortcut seem to be more handy and as helpful as well!! Thanks! – jackxujh Dec 28 '17 at 14:12
  • @jackxujh thank you for spotting the mistake. I always mix them up; because the m precedes the n in the alphabet, my mind thinks the m must correspond to the shorter dash. – Glorfindel Dec 28 '17 at 14:58
  • 2
    You are welcome! I got that too! I found it is easier to distinguish them by their widths – an em-dash has the width of an "m", which is wider than an en-dash, who has the width of an "n". Wish it help! – jackxujh Dec 28 '17 at 15:06

On Chrome OS and some Linux distros, you can press Ctrl+Shift+U, then type:

  • 2013 for an en-dash, or
  • 2014 for an em-dash

(You can also type the hex code of any other Unicode character to enter it, too)


The system doesn't have a way to do this. People achieve it by having their own shortcuts or by copying and pasting them.

Shift plus dash becomes underscore because that's how QWERTY keyboards are set up. That's not a Stack Exchange customization.

  • 1
    Thanks for the reminder of the shortcut for underlines! – jackxujh Dec 28 '17 at 15:07

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .