Insert Em Dash from Keyboard?

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Insert Em Dash from Keyboard?

Postby marketmannh » Fri May 30, 2008 5:24 pm

Hi,

I'm using Writer to write a book on Mozilla Thunderbird. This is relevant only because I switched from Word 2007 after giving up on it's clumsiness and general lack of usability (everything is much more difficult than it needs to be and some "features" are just brain dead!). That said, I do miss some little things. Is there a keystroke sequence (like Word's Ctrl + Alt + - (minus sign on numeric pad) for inserting an em dash anywhere/anytime you want without having to rely on auto-correct? Thanks in advance for any help with this!

Bill
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Re: Insert Em Dash from Keyboard?

Postby foxcole » Fri May 30, 2008 5:36 pm

Hi! You might want to become familiar with Unicode characters.

A quick search of the forum turned up this thread:
[Solved] Inserting em dash

You might also be interested in this:
line breaks before and after emdash
Cheers!
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Re: Insert Em Dash from Keyboard?

Postby Jallan3 » Fri May 30, 2008 7:35 pm

Word’s method of unique keyboard combination unique to Word has the disadvantage that they don’t work outside of Word.

First, you if you type “--” following an alphabetic character or numeric digit and then type another alphabetic character to numeric digit, you will get an em-dash. You can search on dashes in OpenOffice.org Help and see how various types of dashes can be created by various typing combinations.

What is odd, is that people who only vaguely know that dashes exist distinct from hyphens but who type either “--” or “ - ” for a dash will find them automatically turned into em-dashes or en-dashes. While people like you who know about them don’t notice this because you are entering your dashes in some more difficult way. (The same is true in Word.) Just make sure you have tick marks in front of “Replace dashes” under Tools → Autocorrect… → Options.

You can of course create a macro which only types an em-dash, but the problem with that or a pre-established key combination in Writer (like the one in Word) is that it woudn’t work outside of OpenOffice.

I suggest you look at some free utilities which you can use to enter an em-dash in every Windows program.

Try AllChars from http://allchars.zwolnet.com for one method of entering every character in your current Windows 8-bit character set. I’ve used this for over ten years myself. Just press the control key followed by either “m-” or “M-”. You can also edit your keyboard using the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Editor from Microsoft at http://www.microsoft.com/globaldev/tools/msklc.mspx. There are more advanced keyboard editors available that will do more (and which cost), but this one is quite satisfactory.
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Re: Insert Em Dash from Keyboard?

Postby marketmannh » Fri May 30, 2008 11:34 pm

Thanks to all for the timely feedback! I'm going to try a "keyboard stuffing" program to address the problem (as suggested). This may be the fastest approach.

Thanks again for the info!

Bill
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Re: Insert Em Dash from Keyboard?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat May 31, 2008 8:18 am

My PagePlus Keyboard for Windows will give you easy access to em-dash (Ctrl Alt M), en-dash (Ctrl Alt N), and many other special symbols and accented characters. Since it is a Windows keyboard it will work in most Windows applications. It was designed for the UK keyboard. Layouts for US keyboards will be different.

Characters accessible directly with Ctrl Alter
Image

Characters accessible directly with Ctrl Alter Shift
Image

The grey keys are dead keys for typing accented characters, e.g. ç ą é ů etc.
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Re: Insert Em Dash from Keyboard?

Postby trvalentine » Sat May 31, 2008 1:36 pm

The simplest way (IMO) in Windoze to enter characters not on the keyboard is to use the Keystroke combination of an Alt key plus numbers on the numeric keypad. For an em dash, hold down an Alt key, type 0151 on the numeric keypad, then release the Alt key. I keep handy a chart of characters I frequently use. To find the number, either do a search or use Windoze's Character Map (Start/Run type 'charmap') to find the desired character and look in the bottom right corner to see if there is an entry such as 'Keystroke: Alt+0151' for the em dash (—). Alt+0150 produces an en dash (–), Alt+0247 produces a division sign (÷). There are a great number of characters that can be produced this way. Characters used regularly become memorised just as one previously memorised MS Word's 'Ctrl + Alt + -'. Alt+0215 is an example of a character I regularly use because a lower case 'x' is not the same thing as '×'.

A partial list can be found at http://tlt.psu.edu/suggestions/internat ... dealt.html

Hope that helps.
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Re: Insert Em Dash from Keyboard?

Postby trvalentine » Sat May 31, 2008 2:00 pm

Jallan3 wrote:First, you if you type “--” following an alphabetic character or numeric digit and then type another alphabetic character to numeric digit, you will get an em-dash.


Not to be picky, but you actually get an en dash. A lot of writers use them differently. Printers always distinguish between the two.

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Re: Insert Em Dash from Keyboard?

Postby foxcole » Sun Jun 01, 2008 3:44 am

trvalentine wrote:The simplest way (IMO) in Windoze to enter characters not on the keyboard is to use the Keystroke combination of an Alt key plus numbers on the numeric keypad. For an em dash, hold down an Alt key, type 0151 on the numeric keypad, then release the Alt key.

Those are ASCII characters, available to Windows, but I'm not sure they're usable in other OS's or for other language installations than English. The universal character standard is Unicode: http://www.unicode.org/standard/standard.html
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Re: Insert Em Dash from Keyboard?

Postby Robert Tucker » Sun Jun 01, 2008 11:17 am

On Linux hitting the compose key followed by three hyphens gives an em dash (two hyphens and a full stop for an en dash).

ctrl+shift+U followed by 2014 will also give an em dash on some Linux distributions including Fedora (but excluding SuSE) – there is also a Unicode method under SCIM which can be used.
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Re: Insert Em Dash from Keyboard?

Postby Jallan3 » Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:39 pm

trvalentine wrote:
Jallan3 wrote:First, you if you type “--” following an alphabetic character or numeric digit and then type another alphabetic character to numeric digit, you will get an em-dash.


Not to be picky, but you actually get an en dash. A lot of writers use them differently. Printers always distinguish between the two.

TRValentine


No, I get an em-dash, not an en-dash.

If I type “ -- ” or “ - ” following an alphabetic character or numeric digit and then type another alphabetic character or numeric digit, then I get an en-dash.
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Re: Insert Em Dash from Keyboard?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:17 pm

It depends on whether you type a space or not:
This is from the help file:
Dashes.png
Dashes.png (9.81 KiB) Viewed 19611 times
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