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Lesson 20. Using Symbols and Special Cha... > Understanding Special Characters

Understanding Special Characters

Some of the special characters that Word offers may seem unfamiliar to you, but they can be quite useful in certain documents. The following are brief descriptions of the less well-known ones:

  • En dash A dash that is the same as the standard dash (inserted with the key above the P key on your keyboard). The en dash is properly used in combinations of figures and/or capital letters, as in "Please refer to part1–A."

  • Em dash Slightly longer than an en dash, the em dash has a variety of purposes, the most common of which is to mark a sudden change of thought. For example, "She said—and no one dared disagree—that the meeting was over."

  • En space A space slightly longer than the standard space. This space is an en space.

  • Em space A space slightly longer than the en space. This space is an em space.

  • Non-breaking space A space that will not be broken at the end of the line. The words separated by a non-breaking space always stay on the same line.

  • Non-breaking hyphen Similar to a non-breaking space. That is to say, two words separated by a non-breaking hyphen will always stay on the same line.

  • Optional hyphen A hyphen that will not display unless the word it is in needs to be broken at the end of a line.


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