Inserting special characters

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A "special character" is one not found on a standard English keyboard. For example, © ¾ æ ç ñ ö ø ¢ are all special characters. To insert a special character:

  1. Place the cursor in your document where you want the character to appear.
  2. Click Insert > Special Character to open the Special Characters dialog box.
  3. Select the characters (from any font or mixture of fonts) you wish to insert, in order; then click OK. The selected characters are shown in the lower left of the dialog box. As you select each character, it is shown on the lower right, along with the numerical code for that character.
Documentation note.png Different fonts include different special characters. If you do not find a particular special character, try changing the Font selection.
The Special Characters dialog box, where you can insert special characters.
Tip.png Notice that the characters selected appear in the bottom-left corner of the window.

Inserting non-breaking spaces and hyphens

Non-breaking spaces

To prevent two words from being separated at the end of a line, press Control+spacebar after the first word.

Non-breaking hyphen

You can use a non-breaking hyphen in cases where you do not want the hyphen to appear at the end of a line, for example in a number such as 123‑4567. To insert a non-breaking hyphen, press Shift+Control+minus sign.

Inserting en and em dashes

To enter en and em dashes, you can use the Replace dashes option under Tools > AutoCorrect > Options. This option replaces two hyphens, under certain conditions, with the corresponding dash.

In the following table, the A and B represent text consisting of letters A to z or digits 0 to 9.

Text that you type: Result
A - B (A, space, minus, space, B) A – B (A, space, en-dash, space, B)
A -- B (A, space, minus, minus, space, B) A – B (A, space, en-dash, space, B)
A--B (A, minus, minus, B) A—B (A, em-dash, B)
A-B (A, minus, B) A-B (unchanged)
A -B (A, space, minus, B) A -B (unchanged)
A --B (A, space, minus, minus, B) A –B (A, space, en-dash, B)

Another means of inserting en or em dashes is through the Insert > Special Characters menu. Select the U+2013 or U+2014 character, respectively.

A third method uses keyboard shortcuts. These shortcuts vary depending on your operating system.

Tip.png You can also record macros to insert en and em dashes and assign those macros to unused key combinations, for example Ctrl+Shift+N and Ctrl+Shift+M. For more information, see Chapter 17 (Customizing Writer).


Hold down one of the Alt keys and type on the numeric keypad: 0150 for an en dash or 0151 for an em dash. The dash appears when you release the Alt key.

Tip.png On a keyboard with no numeric keypad, use a Fn (Function) key combination to type the numbers. (The Fn key is usually to the right of the left-hand Ctrl key on the keyboard.)

For example, on a US keyboard layout, the combination for an en dash should be Alt+Fn+mjim and for an em dash it should be Alt+Fn+mjij.


Hold down the Compose key and type two hyphens and a period for an en dash, or three hyphens for an em dash. The dash appears when you release the Compose key.

Tip.png The key that operates as a Compose key varies with the Linux distribution. It is usually one of the Alt or Win keys, but may be another key, and should be user-selectable.

Mac OS X

Hold down the Option (Alt) key and type a hyphen for an en dash. For an em dash, the combination is Shift+Option+Hyphen.

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