Copywriting has recently become a larger part of my job description. This has led to an increase in fun, a decrease in stress, a trip to Mexico and… no, no sorry none of those things. It has led to the entirely unwelcome discovery that certain problematic pieces of punctuation have odd hotkeys that do weird things— I’m looking at you, Em Dash.
The Em Dash, or Long Dash, is a versatile little line. According to the Punctuation Guide, it can take the place of a comma, parentheses or a colon. It’s fun to use in headlines, more suspenseful than an ellipsis (…), and makes that extra piece of your run-on sentence look a lot less like a three-inch apple on an eight-inch apple tree.
But it has one major drawback, which is that the hotkey I expected to use to make the symbol didn’t make it.
And what’s worse, the key combo I assumed would connect my vastly disjointed thoughts with a large horizontal doesn’t even have the bland decency to do nothing. It changes stuff that you can’t undo. Like the zoom level. Command-Z has no power over that! And then you have to go manually figure out what your fingers did on autopilot to see if you can find the secret equal-but-opposite combination that will make your screen go normal again. Oh, and redo whatever you just ⌘Z’d out of existence.
I’d like to save someone else from having to paste the little bugger into Word for copy-pasting like some more-cooperative triforce and just leave this here:
Alt-Shift Dash makes an Em Dash
Alt-Dash makes an En-dash.
Dash makes a dash. Duh.
And Command-Dash changes your zoom level, because hey, that’s also a minus sign.