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Hyphens & Dashes

The hyphen is the punctuation mark that automatically appears at the end of a line when a word breaks onto the next in desktop publishing software, this is called hypenation. See alignment to learn more about using hyphenation. Additionally, the hyphen is used to link two or more words — such as line-height or pixel-per-inch.

The em dash is used to break or pause between parts of a sentence when you want more emphasis than a comma but less than a colon, semicolon, or parenthesis. The en dash is used to indicate a range of values (1880–1912, 330–39, A–E). It is also used to denote a connection or contrast two words (Hartford–Savannah). Both em and en dashes are set flush against letterforms; if they look too cramped it is OK in print and favorable on screen to add a space or better yet a thin space before and after the dash.

  Name Windows Mac HTML
- Hyphen - key - key - key
en dash alt 0150 option + hyphen –
em dash alt 0151 option + shift + hyphen —
Figure Dash alt 8210 glyphs panel ‒
Minus Sign glyphs panel glyphs panel −

A figure dash is the width of a a lining figure ans is used to indicate number ranges i.e. 10‒20. The figure dash is relatively rare, and if your typeface does not have one, the en dash is a strong substitute. The minus sign is a symbol used to indicate a negative number, i.e. −10.


  Name Windows Mac HTML
' straight single quote ' ' '
" straight double quote " " "
opening single quote alt 0145 option + ] ‘
closing single quote or apostrophe alt 0146 option + shift + ] ’
opening double quote alt 0147 option + ] ‘
closing double quote alt 0148 option + shift + [ ”
Fitting punctuation into your workflow

When I set type, I often use Copy Paste Character rather than search through glyph panels or type out HTML entities. Simply click and paste.

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