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Using dashes in email and web design

October 21, 2013

Are you checking which dashes you use in your emails and web pages?

When writing in packages such as Word or Outlook, you’ll usually have the inappropriate usage of hyphens corrected for you, but when it comes to email and website design, these can get missed as they require HTML special character codes to be inserted.

It’s not important for some people, but for others an email littered with hyphens instead of the correct dashes could be jarring and affect how they perceive your message and company.
 

The different dashes


(-) Hyphens
  Used to link words
  To join prefixes to other words
  To show word breaks
(–) en dash
  The width of the letter n
  Used to connect a range of numbers  (pages 30–140)
  Used to indicate a period of time (June–July)
(—) em dash
  The width of the letter m
  Used sparingly, often used to indicate an interruption, emphasis or change in thought
  Connecting independent clauses to each other
  Sometimes used to indicate the source of quotes
     

 

Dashes

Using the range of dashes

HTML

In your HTML you’ll need to encode en and em dashes as special characters

  (–) en dash –
  (—) em dash —

Word

Word can automatically insert the correct dash for you

  Separating a hyphen (-) with two spaces either side will convert to an en dash.
  Typing two hyphens (--) in Word between words will automatically convert to an em dash

Shortcuts

  On an iPhone, hold down the hyphen symbol and you’ll get the full range
  On a PC you can use the combination of Alt + 0150 (–) Alt + 0151 (—)
  On a Mac you can use Opt + - (–) Opt + Shift + - (—)
     

Posted by Joel Jarman
Email Design


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