You may want to quickly add an em dash within your text container—be it a placeholder, text box, shape, or even a table. It's very easy to add an em dash, and there is more than one way to achieve this task, although there may be some differences, and all ways may not work in the version of PowerPoint you are using. But certainly, using one of these options, you will be able to add an em dash in PowerPoint for Mac.
What’s an Em Dash?
An Em Dash is a dash that's roughly as wide as the capital letter M. Characters can be wider or less wide, depending on the font used. The M in Arial is wider than the M in Calibri, as you can see in Figure 1, below. Depending upon the font used, the width of your em dash can differ.
Figure 1: Width of the em dash depends upon the font used
One aspect though will always be constant—the em dash will be longer than the en dash, which is similarly roughly based on the width of the capital letter N, as can be seen in Figure 1, above. Also, the en dash is wider than the figure dash, the hyphen, and the minus sign.
We will look at three ways to add an em dash in PowerPoint for Mac. We have a separate tutorial on how to add an em dash in PowerPoint versions on Windows.
- Use a keyboard shortcut
- Use the Symbol option to bring up Character Viewer
- Create an AutoCorrect entry
1. Use a keyboard shortcut
To add an em dash using a keyboard shortcut, follow these steps:
- Click in any text container object to place your insertion point, as shown in Figure 2, below.
Figure 2: Place your insertion point
- Now hold the Shift and Option (Alt) keys while you press the hyphen (-) key (see Figure 3, below)
Figure 3: Add an em dash
2. Use the Symbol option to bring up Character Viewer
To access the em dash character from the Symbol dialog box, follow these steps:
- Click in any text container object to place your insertion point, as shown in Figure 1, previously on this page.
- Now access the Insert tab of the Ribbon, and click the Symbol button, as shown in Figure 4, below. Alternatively, press the Control + ⌘ + Spacebar keyboard shortcut.
Figure 4: Click the Symbol button
- Either option brings up the Character Viewer dialog box, that you can see in Figure 5, below.
Figure 5: The Character Viewer dialog box
- Drag the Character Viewer diaog box a little so that you can see the controls at the top of the box, as shown in Figure 5, below (compare with Figure 5, above). You then scroll within the dialog box, until you see the Technical Symbols category. Here you will find the em dash symbol, as you can see again in Figure 6, below.
Figure 6: Locate the em dash in the Character Viewer
- Double-click any character to quickly add it to your insertion point in PowerPoint.
3. Create an AutoCorrect entry
Finally, you can create an AutoCorrect entry that lets you add an em dash quickly, with a shortcut. To do so, follow these steps:
- Choose Tools | AutoCorrect Options in the menu, as shown in Figure 7, below.
Figure 7: AutoCorrect Options in the Tools menu
- This will bring up the AutoCorrect dialog box, as shown in Figure 8, below. Select the AutoCorrect tab, and type in your shortcut in the Replace box, highlighted in red within Figure 8. We typed ---, that is three dashes.
Figure 8: AutoCorrect dialog box
- In the With box, we typed in an em dash. You can use any technique, explained previously on this page to bring the em dash character in this With box, highlighted in blue in Figure 8. Next, click the Plus button, highlighted in green.
- Now click the red close button on the top right of this dialog box.
Now, whenever you type ---, PowerPoint will replace the three dashes with an em dash. In case you don't want three dashes to be replaced with an em dash, press Cmd + Z to undo. Also, do note that any AutoCorrect entry you create will work in all Microsoft applications, such as Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.
Symbols: Add an Em Dash (Glossary Page)