# What is the LaTeX command for "em dash" (—)?

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?

• Probably the input encoding does not have the em dash configured. I'd suggest to use the solution by Keks Dose. Apr 26, 2012 at 10:58
• Also see How to look up a symbol? Apr 26, 2012 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... Jan 9, 2013 at 3:45
• Just came here for an answer, since the em dash looked like a space in the PDF previewer I was using. Turns out the font just had a very thin line for a dash. I embiggened the previewer, and voila!--there were the em dashes! In case someone else has the same issue. Nov 8, 2021 at 21:50

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

• Alternatively `\textemdash`. Apr 26, 2012 at 15:20
• Or use Xe/LuaLaTeX and just type `—`. Apr 26, 2012 at 20:48
• @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 `—`. Apr 28, 2012 at 9:54
• This is not a LaTeX command and it doesn't work universally: scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?item_id=xetex_faq#ligs Feb 14, 2013 at 9:41
• 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. Sep 25, 2013 at 15:08

• Hyphen: `-`
• En-dash: `--`
• Em-dash: `---`
• 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. May 1, 2012 at 13:13
• Donald Knuth, for completeness, adds the fourth one, the mathematical minus sign, \$-\$. (The TEXbook, page 4.) May 15, 2013 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. Sep 10, 2013 at 21:01
• @Marcin Add `Ligatures = TeX` as an option when you load your font. Sep 25, 2013 at 15:09
• @Sverre Did you get that from my answer? Sep 25, 2013 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}
\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.

• 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}`. Sep 25, 2013 at 16:03
• Question to anyone following this thread. Are there any known package clashes? I have `\usepackage{fontspec}` with `\defaultfontfeatures{Ligatures=TeX}` with `\usepackage{libertine}` and I compile with `XeLaTeX` and I don't get the `---` emdash effect at all. I'm considering asking a separate question, but perhaps I'm overlooking something obvious. Apr 30, 2016 at 12:06
• package clash with `\usepackage{xesearch}` apparently... Apr 30, 2016 at 13:14
• @PatrickT Right, hence why I include the official latex commands. Apr 29, 2019 at 17:17
• `! Fatal Package fontspec Error: The fontspec package requires either XeTeX or LuaTeX.` - FWIW Mar 25, 2021 at 7:51

In some contexts it is appropriate to put thin spaces around an em dash, e.g., `\,---\,`. I defer to the Chicago Manual of Style and Bringhurst on typography for more.

• I use full on spaces, like `{ }---{ }`. Dec 24, 2017 at 21:21

I used the command to achieve long dash

``````\textemdash
``````

For example:

``````2021 \textemdash \ The Capability of Wavelet Convolutional Neural Network for Detecting Cyber Attack of Distributed Denial of Service in Smart Grid, ICCWAMTIP, (EI)
``````

• Isn't this already covered by Marcin's answer? Mar 13 at 7:14