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I am trying to insert the symbol in the title of the question, which I copied from a PDF article, but it appears as space in the output file. What is the corresponding LaTeX command?

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@HarishKumar: The symbol is an em dash. –  Thorsten Donig Apr 26 '12 at 10:39
    
O my god! I was expecting something else after the emdash as the OP said it appears as space. –  Harish Kumar Apr 26 '12 at 10:44
    
Probably the input encoding does not have the em dash configured. I'd suggest to use the solution by Keks Dose. –  topskip Apr 26 '12 at 10:58
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Also see How to look up a symbol? –  Caramdir Apr 26 '12 at 20:51
    
If my typographer's memory serves me, the first item in the list above is not known as a hyphen but as a tee dash. (Or was it simply a matter of tee spaces, en spaces, and em spaces?) Gosh, I used to all know this back when I did actual physical typography... –  John Laudun Jan 9 '13 at 3:45

3 Answers 3

up vote 57 down vote accepted

The LaTeX command for such a line are three small ones: ---

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21  
Alternatively \textemdash. –  Torbjørn T. Apr 26 '12 at 15:20
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Or use Xe/LuaLaTeX and just type . –  Caramdir Apr 26 '12 at 20:48
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@Caramdir: You don't even have to use Xe/LuaLaTeX; pdfLaTeX with \usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}\usepackage[T1]{fontenc} works fine for directly inputting an em dash . –  doncherry Apr 28 '12 at 9:54
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This is not a LaTeX command and it doesn't work universally: scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?item_id=xetex_faq#ligs –  Roman Cheplyaka Feb 14 '13 at 9:41
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If you're using Unicode fonts (i.e. you're using XeTeX or LuaTeX), just add Ligatures = TeX as a font option. You need that for any of the typical TeX conversions such as `````, ', -- etc. –  Sverre Sep 25 '13 at 15:08

The question has already been answered, but for completeness' sake:

  • Hyphen: -
  • En-dash: --
  • Em-dash: ---
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9  
To avoid misunderstandings, I like to call the first one (-) a hyphen, because it's usually not used as a dash. In Unicode it's called Minus-hyphen, that's the one normal keyboards enter. (Unicode also has a symbol called Hyphen‌​. –  doncherry May 1 '12 at 13:13
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Donald Knuth, for completeness, adds the fourth one, the mathematical minus sign, $-$. (The TEXbook, page 4.) –  Pål GD May 15 '13 at 14:57
    
Using xelatex (XeTeX, Version 3.1415926-2.4-0.9998 (MiKTeX 2.9)) this does not work. Two hyphens just come out as two hyphens. –  Marcin Sep 10 '13 at 21:01
    
@Marcin Add Ligatures = TeX as an option when you load your font. –  Sverre Sep 25 '13 at 15:09
    
@Sverre Did you get that from my answer? –  Marcin Sep 25 '13 at 17:00

The latex commands are:

  • Hyphen: -
  • En-dash: \textendash
  • Em-dash: \textemdash

With the latter two, you will likely want to append {}, because they swallow following space.

If you want to use the ligatures -- and --- with standard unicode fonts, use:

\usepackage{fontspec}
\defaultfontfeatures{Mapping=tex-text}
% and/or - see comments
\defaultfontfeatures{Ligatures=TeX}

This will emulate substitution of unicode characters for certain "latex standard" ligatures which are present as ordinary unicode characters in modern fonts.

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It's preferable to use the Ligatures=TeX version, which works both with XeLaTeX and LuaLaTeX, while the other (older) version can't be interpreted by LuaLaTeX. The option can also be used when defining a specific font with \setmainfont, \newfontfamily and similar commands; it's not necessary to use \defaultfontfeatures. If one uses it, probably a declaration \setmonofont should go before \defaultfontfeatures{Ligatures=TeX}. –  egreg Sep 25 '13 at 16:03
    
@egreg Thanks, useful. –  Marcin Sep 25 '13 at 17:01

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