How to Make an En Dash in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Making an en dash in Word is a simple task that can be accomplished in a few quick steps. Whether you’re writing an article, crafting a report, or creating any document, using the en dash correctly can make your writing look more professional. Ready to learn how? Let’s dive right in!

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Make an En Dash in Word

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s quickly discuss what exactly we’ll be achieving with these steps. An en dash is a punctuation mark that is slightly longer than a hyphen and is used to indicate a range of values, such as dates or numbers. By following these steps, you’ll be able to insert an en dash into your Word document effortlessly.

Step 1: Place the cursor where you want the en dash

Position your blinking cursor at the spot in your Word document where you’d like the en dash to appear.

Putting the cursor in the right place is crucial because, unlike some formatting changes that can be applied to selected text after the fact, the en dash needs to be inserted at the specific point where you want it to show up.

Step 2: Press the keyboard shortcut for an en dash

On your keyboard, press and hold the Ctrl key and the Minus key on the numeric keypad simultaneously to insert an en dash.

This keyboard shortcut is the quickest way to make an en dash in Word. Remember, you need to use the Minus key on the numeric keypad, not the one next to the ‘0’ on the main part of the keyboard. If you’re using a laptop without a numeric keypad, you might need to activate the Num Lock feature to use a section of your keyboard as a numeric keypad.

After completing these steps, you’ll have a beautifully inserted en dash in your document. This little punctuation mark may not seem like much, but it can make a big difference in the readability and professionalism of your writing.

Tips for Making an En Dash in Word

  • If you don’t have a numeric keypad, you can also use the Alt code to make an en dash: Press and hold the Alt key, then type 0150 on the numeric keypad.
  • To ensure that you’re using en dashes consistently throughout your document, use Word’s Find and Replace feature to search for hyphens that should be en dashes and replace them all at once.
  • Remember that en dashes are different from em dashes, which are even longer. Em dashes are often used to set off a clause or to indicate a break in thought.
  • If you’re using Word on a Mac, the keyboard shortcut for an en dash is slightly different: Press and hold the Option key, then press the Minus key.
  • You can also insert an en dash from the Insert menu: Click on ‘Symbol,’ then ‘More Symbols,’ and choose the en dash from the list of special characters.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between an en dash and a hyphen?

An en dash is longer than a hyphen and is used mainly to indicate a range of numbers or dates, whereas a hyphen is used to join words or split a word at the end of a line of text.

Can I use an en dash for bullet points?

It’s not common practice to use en dashes for bullet points. Typically, bullet points are formatted with actual bullet symbols, but if you want a different look, you might consider using en dashes as a stylistic choice.

How can I remember the keyboard shortcut for an en dash?

An easy way to remember the keyboard shortcut for an en dash in Word is to think of it as "subtracting" the space between numbers or words, just like a subtraction symbol (-) on the numeric keypad.

Why would I use an en dash instead of just a hyphen?

Using an en dash instead of a hyphen in the correct context (such as ranges or conflict/connection between words) can make your writing more accurate and professional.

Can I format en dashes differently, like making them bold or italic?

Yes, just like any other character in Word, you can apply text formatting to en dashes. However, remember that frequent use of such formatting might make your document look cluttered.


  1. Place the cursor where you want the en dash.
  2. Press and hold Ctrl and the Minus key on the numeric keypad to insert an en dash.


Congratulations, you’ve just learned how to make an en dash in Word! This seemingly tiny detail can elevate the quality of your documents, ensuring that your ranges and connections are clear and properly formatted. Remember, it’s the small things that often make the biggest difference in writing. Plus, now you have one more trick up your sleeve to impress your colleagues or classmates.

While it might take a little practice to get the keyboard shortcuts memorized, once you’ve got them down, you’ll be able to add en dashes without a second thought. So go ahead, give it a try in your next Word document and see how it improves the overall look and feel of your writing. Who knew that a punctuation mark could be so powerful?

If you’re ever unsure about when to use an en dash, there are plenty of resources available online to help guide you. And don’t forget, practice makes perfect. The more you use en dashes correctly, the more instinctive it will become. Happy writing!

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