Inserting Special Characters in Word Documents

Follow the steps below to add special characters to Microsoft Word documents:

  1. On the Insert tab, go to Symbols > (down arrow) > Symbol > (down arrow) > More Symbols. (We’ll use the em, or longest, dash as our example symbol.)
  2. The Symbol dialog box will appear. In the General Punctuation subset, select the em dash to the immediate left of the horizontal bar.
  3. Insert the em dash and close the dialog box. Congratulations—you’re done!

Tip: After you’ve used the em dash (or some other symbol), it will appear among your recently used symbols. To access them:

  • On the Insert tab, go to Symbols > (down arrow) > Symbol > (down arrow).
  • Click on a symbol to insert it.

Note: Em and en dashes may look similar, but they do different things.

  • Em dashes indicate strong breaks in thought.

Example: Automated spell-checkers work well most of the time—but not always.

  • Em dashes also replace pairs of commas or parentheses.

Example: These tools often miss—and sometimes even introduce—major errors.

  • En (medium-length) dashes indicate ranges—e.g., “The website should contain 6–10 pages.”

Want more step-by-step guidance? Get in touch.