[Solved] Mac, iPhone & iPad: Double hyphen is replaced with long em dash

The problem that a double hyphen (- -) is replaced by a dash or em dash (-) is known to everyone who uses double "minus signs" - whether intentionally or accidentally. But how can you turn off this automatic correction when word processing or writing messages? In which settings can you specify that the double hyphen remains and is not replaced by the dash or em dash? I would like to clarify that in this guide. I will also show you a workaround with which you can avoid unwanted consequences of deactivating the correction!

Is the double hyphen replaced by a long dash (dash) on your Mac, iPhone and / or iPad? Here you will find solutions against it!

Is the double hyphen replaced by a long dash (dash) on your Mac, iPhone and / or iPad? Here you will find solutions against it!

Mac: Deactivate "Typographical Punctuation" - solution with disadvantages

If you write two hyphens in order to keep them in the document, in the message, in the mail or elsewhere and not to be replaced by a "long hyphen", then you can call up the system settings on the Mac. There you remove the checkmark next to "Typographical punctuation" in the keyboard settings.

In detail it looks like this:

  1. In the menu bar on the Apple menu Click ()
  2. There the System settings ... choose
  3. The settings for the Keyboard click
  4. The rider Text choose
  5. The checkmark at Typographic punctuation remove
One solution is to turn off the Typographic Punctuation setting. But that has disadvantages.

One solution is to turn off the Typographic Punctuation setting. But that has disadvantages.

By the way: If you do need an em dash or dash, simply use the key combination alt + Shift + -. So you can also create it under macOS on Mac, iMac and MacBook.

Disadvantage: The correct quotation marks disappear

As you can see under the selection point, the checkmark of which you have to remove for the above solution, the correction of punctuation does not only regulate the hyphens. The quotation marks are also placed initially at the bottom and then at the top. In addition, they are not straight, but slightly curved depending on the font. 

It should be the same with German texts. Anyone who always puts something in quotation marks or writes a story with verbatim speech must now make manual corrections or find a workaround for the hyphen problem. That's exactly what I did for you;)

Workaround: keep two hyphens AND correct quotation marks

If you look at the screenshot above, you will find one Replace-By-Table. You can fill these individually with abbreviations, misspellings and character combinations so that the system automatically replaces them with something else. For example, do you have to give your e-mail address somewhere more often? Then write @@@ in the "Replace" column and your email address in the "Through" column on the same line. Zack done: your own shortcut. It works in a similar way with telephone numbers, etc.

I figured for the problem of the two dashes becoming a dash that I could bypass macOS by replacing - - with - -. That did not work. The two hyphens were still corrected with one long dash. So I just copied it, put it in the first column and put the two single lines in the second column. And then it worked! This is what it looks like:

For a simpler solution, leave the typographic punctuation activated and simply replace the em dash yourself with two hyphens (or minus signs).

For a simpler solution, leave the typographic punctuation activated and simply replace the em dash yourself with two hyphens (or minus signs).

(At first I feared that the Mac would get caught in a loop because it had to continuously exchange the individual characters: D Fortunately, that didn't happen.)

Simple workaround: cmd + Z is your friend

A few Keyboard shortcuts for the Mac or for macOS you should already know. One of them is cmd+Z (or command+Z, or ⌘+Z). This is the shortcut for the "Back" command. As part of the word processing in Pages or Word, I use cmd+Z whenever the system corrects the punctuation or makes other changes on its own. 

For WordPress, for example, I sometimes copy codes or plugin anchors into the text that have "superscripted quotes". If I continue to write after this, these will be replaced by "German quotation marks". If I press the back shortcut immediately after the correction, it will be canceled. This also works with the two hyphens that become ems.

Note: When using the two workarounds, of course, leave the checkmark next to "Typographical punctuation". 

iPhone and iPad: Deactivate "intelligent punctuation"

On iOS on the iPhone and iPad, you can also disable the punctuation correction, in which a double hyphen is replaced by a long hyphen. The setting point is called there, however Smart punctuation. However, you also have to do without the correct spelling of the quotes on Apple mobile devices. Therefore, you should also define an exchange rule here or use a back function;)

This way you can find this option:

  1. Settings
  2. General
  3. Keyboard
  4. Smart punctuation
The unwanted conversion of double or triple hyphens can also be switched off on the iPhone and iPad by deactivating intelligent punctuation in the "Keyboard" settings area.

The unwanted conversion of double or triple hyphens can also be switched off on the iPhone and iPad by deactivating intelligent punctuation in the "Keyboard" settings area.

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2 comments

  1. Alisia says:

    Unfortunately, the replacement didn't work for me. I still have the em dashes in the HTML code. For me, it's easier to just erase and rewrite because then it leaves.

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