Dash#Em dash

The em dash (-) is in typography a horizontal line, which is an em long. It is used as indent and tables as well as indents in different languages ​​such as English and Spanish. Other horizontal lines are the minus sign, the district em dash, the en dash and the em dash double.


The very long em dash is often bothersome, since its use by the length of the stroke rather large "holes" rips into a text. Therefore, it is rarely used in English.

As indent it serves to separate list items from one another. Sometimes it is set on smooth currency amounts below the decimal (25, - € ), because it is about the width of two digits in most fonts. Typographically correct would be here but for the run block the use of the half- square stroke. In tables with prices, however, the em dash is quite possible to replace two zeros; In addition, he is also wrongly understood as currency specified ( formerly DM, now Euro ) and is therefore also in non-smooth price information may be found eg on price tags of supermarkets. The em dash can also be used for the identification of fields without an entry in a table or form. Moreover, it is often so used in lists to save repetitive words, as underpass characters.

Indent in English

In traditional English pleading the en dash is also used as indent, but without surrounding spaces or enclosed only by "Hair Spaces" in order to keep the resulting "gap" in the text is small ( the fire drill -it what chaos ). However, this tradition disappears in modern English typesetting more and more. Today, most of the en dash is used with surrounding spaces, as is the case in German typesetting ( What did you say - he will only come tomorrow? ).

Representation on computer systems

The em dash is in Unicode block General Punctuation at position U 2014 (821210) and included in the character set Windows -1252 at position 151 ( 9716). It can be entered in different systems by key combinations or codes:

Compose, -, -, -