Skip to content

How to insert em dash in Google Docs?

  • by
  • 4 min read

The em dash is an important part of any writer’s toolkit. It’s a great alternative to commas and colons and is useful in a bunch of situations, Unfortunately, though, not a lot of keyboards have the em dash key.

In this article, we’ve discussed three methods that explain how you can insert the em dash in Google docs; followed by a guide to help you replace all old em dashes with the new one.

Insert em dash in Docs using the universal keyboard shortcut

The simplest way to type the em dash just about anywhere is to use its alt code. All you need to do is press the following key combination.

Alt + 0151

And you’ll have an em dash on your screen. Do keep in mind though that this method only works on keyboards that have a dedicated numpad. So if your keyboard doesn’t have one, read on for the other methods in this article. 

Also read: How to make Google Docs landscape?

Insert em dash using Google Docs’ automatic substitution

Google Docs has an inbuilt feature that lets users define substitutions for the words they type. We’re simply going to make Google Docs replace double dashes for an em dash.

Step 1: Open a Google Doc and click on Tools.

Step 2: Click on Preferences. 

Step 3: Head over to the Substitutions tab.

Step 4: Add a substitution that replaces double dashes for a hyphen dash. You can either type in the hyphen dash using the step above or simply copy/paste it from the internet. Click OK when done.

Now every time you type in double dashes and press the space bar, it’ll automatically be substituted by an em dash. Note that you can also use this feature to substitute specific words if you mistype them frequently.

Also read: How to change margins in Google Docs?

Insert em dash in Google Docs using special characters

Google Docs has a special feature for typing in special characters. Here’s how to use it to type the em dash.

Step 1: Open a Google Doc and click on the Insert menu.

Step 2: Click on Special Characters.

Step 3: Search for em dash and click on the em dash icon to insert it in the document.

Also read: How to make a checklist in Word?

Replacing previous em dashes in Google Docs

All of these methods are only for adding new em dashes, but none of them will impact if you’ve already inserted double dashes or any character in its place. Here’s how you can fix this.

Step 1: Press Ctrl + H to bring up the Find and Search window.

Step 2: In the Find field, type in the character you used to replace the em dash, in this case, double dashes and in the Replace field, type in the em dash using either one of the aforementioned methods or copying it off the internet. 

Step 3: Click on the Replace All button to replace all alternate instances with the em dash.

Also read: How to add or remove Strikethrough in Google Docs?

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here:

Exit mobile version