How to make a long dash / em dash in Google Docs

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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  • Few standard keyboards include a key for the em dash punctuation mark.
  • This guide includes six alternative ways you can enter an em dash into documents within Google Docs.
  • Check out our useful Google Docs page to find out more about this subject.
  • Explore our Teamwork & collaboration section for more easy-to-follow guides.
add an em / long dash google doc

The em dash (—) is a long dash punctuation mark that can be added to set off non-essential sentence clauses. However, the em dash is not widely utilized. Consequently, em dash keys are widely omitted from standard QWERTY keyboards.

So, some users might wonder how they can add em dashes to Google Docs documents. There are numerous ways you can enter em dashes into documents. Here are six alternative methods for entering the em dash in Google Docs.

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How can I use an em dash in Google Docs?

1. Select em dash in Google Docs

  1. Open a Google Docs document to edit.
  2. Select the place in the document you need to add the em dash to with the cursor.
  3. Click Insert > Special Characters to open the window in the shot directly below.
    The Insert Special Characters utility em / long dash google doc
  4. Input em dash in the Search by keyword box.
    em dash search em / long dash google doc
  5. Then click the em dash to add it to the document.

2. Add the em dash to Docs’ automatic substitutions

  1. First, copy an em dash mark in a Google Docs document with the Ctrl + C hotkey.
  2. Click Insert > Preferences.
  3. Click the Substitutions tab.
  4. Enter a couple of hyphens (–) in an empty Replace box.
  5. Then select the adjacent With box, and press the Ctrl + V hotkey to paste in the em dash.
    Substitutions tab em / long dash google doc
  6. Click the OK option. Now entering two hyphen marks and pressing Space in a Docs document will add an em dash to it.

3. Copy em dash with Windows 10’s Character Map

  1. To copy an em dash from the Character Map in Windows 10, press the Windows key + S keyboard shortcut.
  2. Type Character Map into the search box.
  3. Click Character Map to open its window.
    Character Map window em / long dash google doc
  4. Select the Advanced view checkbox.
  5. Enter em dash in the search for box, and click the Search button.
  6. Click the Select option.
  7. Press the Copy button.
  8. Now press the Ctrl + V hotkey to paste the em dash into Google Docs documents.

4. Desktop Chrome: Insert / Find & Replace

  1. To replace text in a Docs document with the em dash, press the Ctrl + H hotkey in Google Docs.
  2. Next, type in some text within the document in the Find box.
  3. Copy an em dash with the Ctrl + C hotkey.
  4. Then click in the Replace box, and press the Ctrl + V keyboard key.
  5. Thereafter, you can click the Replace or Replace All buttons to replace the text entered within the Find box with em dashes.

5. Press the em dash keyboard shortcut in Google Docs

  1. Press the NumLock key.
    NumLk key em / long dash google doc
  2. Open a Google Docs document to add the em dash to.
  3. Then hold the Alt key and type the code 0151 on the numeric keypad to add the em dash.

6. MacOS (method)

Mac keyboard em / long dash google doc

MacOS users don’t need to select em dash in Google Docs. Instead, press the Shift + Option + Minus hotkey for em dash on the macOS keyboard. Pressing the hyphen key twice and Space bar will also add an em dash to documents in macOS.


7. Android or iOS: Long-hold hyphen

iPhone mobile em / long dash google docYou can add em dashes to documents with the on-screen keyboards on some Android and iOS mobiles. To do that, tap and hold the hyphen key until your mobile’s on-screen keyboard displays alternative character options. Select the longest dash, which is the em dash.


These are the most efficient ways to add the em dash to documents in Google Docs and other word processors. Users can utilize Google Docs’ Special Characters utility, but that tool isn’t essential for entering em dashes within the Docs word processor.

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