Insert or Type an Em Dash in PowerPoint Presentations

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated September 13, 2021

Applies to: Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)

You can insert or type an em dash in a PowerPoint presentation using built-in commands or keyboard shortcuts. The em dash (often referred to as a long dash) is the longest of the 3 types of dashes (em dash, en dash and dash).

The 3 common types of dashes appear as follows:

  • Em dash (—) which is the width of the letter m
  • En dash (–) which is the width of the letter n
  • Hyphen or dash (-)

In this article, we'll review 3 ways to insert an em dash in PowerPoint in Normal View:

  1. Use the Insert Symbol command
  2. Use an Alt code shortcut by pressing Alt and then entering a number sequence
  3. Create an AutoCorrect entry

Recommended article: How to Print a PowerPoint Presentation with Notes

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1. Inserting an em dash on a slide using Insert Symbol

If you want to insert an em dash in a line of text, in a cell in a table or in a shape, you can use Insert Symbol.

To insert an em dash using Insert Symbol in PowerPoint:

  1. Display the slide on which you want to insert an em dash.
  2. Position the cursor in the text box or placeholder where you want to insert an em dash. You can also click in a cell in a table or click a shape.
  3. Click the Insert tab in the Ribbon.
  4. In the Symbols group, click Symbol. A dialog box appears.
  5. Select (normal text) from the Font drop-down menu and then General Punctuation from the Subset menu.
  6. Scroll through the list of symbols until you find the em dash and then click it.
  7. Click Insert.
  8. Click Close.

Once the em dash has been inserted, you can change its size or color using the Home tab in the Ribbon or by right-clicking and selecting formatting options from the mini-toolbar.

In the example below, the em dash is selected in the Insert Symbol dialog box:

Insert symbol dialog box in PowerPoint with em dash selected.

2. Inserting an em dash using an Alt keyboard shortcut

You can press the Alt key in combination with numbers on the numeric keypad to insert an em dash.

To insert an em dash on a PowerPoint slide using Alt:

  1. Display the slide on which you want to insert an em dash.
  2. Position the cursor in a text box, placeholder, table cell or shape where you want to insert a check mark symbol.
  3. Press and hold Alt + 0151 or Alt + 8212 on the numeric keypad. If the sequence doesn't work, press NumLock on the numeric keypad. If you want to insert an en dash, press and hold Alt + 0150 or Alt + 8211.

3. Inserting an em dash using an AutoCorrect entry

You can also add a custom AutoCorrect entry to insert an em dash.

To create an AutoCorrect entry for an em dash that you can use in PowerPoint:

  1. Open a PowerPoint presentation.
  2. Click the File tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Select Options. A dialog box appears.
  4. In the categories on the left, select Proofing.
  5. Click AutoCorrect Options. A dialog box appears.
  6. Select the AutoCorrect tab.
  7. In the Replace box, enter the characters you want to replace with an em dash (such as \em).
  8. Click in the With box and press and hold Alt + 0151 on the numeric keypad to insert an em dash.
  9. Click Add.
  10. Click OK twice.

The AutoCorrect dialog box appears as follows with an em dash entry:

AutoCorrect dialog box in PowerPoint with em dash entry.

To use the AutoCorrect entry you created for an em dash:

  1. Display the slide on which you want to insert an em dash.
  2. Position the cursor in the text box or placeholder where you want to insert an em dash. You can also click in a cell in a table or click a shape.
  3. Type the entry (such as \em) and then press the Spacebar.

You can also add a similar entry for the en dash or other symbols.

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More resources

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Summary
How to Insert or Type an Em Dash in PowerPoint (3 Ways with Shortcuts)
Article Name
How to Insert or Type an Em Dash in PowerPoint (3 Ways with Shortcuts)
Description
You can insert or type an em dash in a PowerPoint presentation using built-in commands or keyboard shortcuts. The em dash (often referred to as a long dash) is the longest of the 3 types of dashes (em dash, en dash and dash).
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Avantix Learning

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