Learn how to type an em dash, an en dash, and a hyphen in Google Docs whether you’re using Chrome OS, Desktop Chrome, Android, or iOS.
The hyphen (-), en dash (-), and em dash (–) each play a distinct role in punctuation. The hyphen often joins two words, such as cloud-based, front-facing, or two-dimensional. An en dash, which is slightly longer, signifies a range (e.g., 2004-2010), indicates scores (e.g., 4-2), or links connected entities (e.g., New York-Los Angeles or east-west). The em dash–the longest of the three–separates a phrase from a sentence, as shown here.
Of the three marks, only the hyphen appears as a character you can type (or tap) directly with a keyboard. On most US English keyboards, you’ll find the hyphen in the upper right corner, to the right of the zero key. And on Android and iOS devices, switch to the number key screen, then look for the hyphen: On iOS, it is below the 1 key, and on Android, it is to the left of the + key.
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To type an en dash or an em dash in Google Docs, try one of the following techniques.
Desktop Chrome: Insert
While in a Google Doc on Chrome, on any laptop or desktop computer, go to Insert | Special Characters and type Em Dash in the search box. The first search result shown in the grid of characters will be the em dash; select it to insert it. You can also search, select, and insert an em dash (Figure A).
The Insert | Special Characters Menu also gives you access to thousands of other characters on your system.