Cannot Insert an Em Dash in Text Box

May 26, 2012

Every time I try to insert an em dash into a text box in Storyline using the Symbol tool, the result is not an em dash but, instead, a regular dash. Even if I enter the hexadecimal code Alt-0151, the result is the same. Is this a bug in Storyline? This is driving me crazy, as I'm an editor and proofreader who hates seeing a dash, en dash, and em dash used incorrectly!

When I use the Symbol tool, it also messes up my cursor position in the text box so that my cursor appears to be in one position but when I start typing, it's in another.

18 Replies
David Anderson

Hi Jen!

That's just how SL's text functionality works today. We're looking to do a lot more with the text editor, but for now you'll have to find a work around such as saving em dash formatted text as images before inserting into SL. Text formatting is an important issue, so please consider submitting a feature request for this or other text functionality you'd like to see in Storyline.

Bruce Graham

I came across this concept (and problem) with an existing client about 6 weeks ago for the very first time.

I had wondered whether this was by design or not - to be honest, I was completely unaware of the em-dash concept before they spoke to me, it's not something that I have ever come across educationally over here in UK. I am wondering whether it is one of those facets of punctuation that is generally dissappearing except in "technical" areas?

I know MS-Word occasionally makes your hyphen larger, but had no understanding of why. A complete understanding of the difference between hyphen, en-dash and em-dash is something that I still need to gain, despite several readings of Wikipedia!


Brett Rockwood

Peter, that's clever, and useful but it's still not a true em dash. I've put in numerous text handling feature requests so I won't bug you with another but there are very real and specific uses for hyphens, dashes, en dashes, em dashes, and horizontal bar and it will be great when SL allows us to use them properly. I'm dying to get new text handling features...

Brett Rockwood

For those wondering what the differences are between these I present this from the Chicago Manual of Style:

Q. What is the difference in usage between an em dash and an en dash?

A. I will try to condense the various bits of information scattered throughout CMOS. First of all, there are three lengths of what are all more or less dashes: hyphen (-), en dash (–), and em dash (—). I frame it this way because the work they do is roughly related to their length (though I don’t think CMOS puts it this way outright).


The hyphen connects two things that are intimately related, usually words that function together as a single concept or work together as a joint modifier (e.g., tie-in, toll-free call, two-thirds). [hyphens are also used for hyphenation ]


The en dash connects things that are related to each other by distance, as in the May–September issue of a magazine; it’s not a May-September issue, because June, July, and August are also ostensibly included in this range. And in fact en dashes specify any kind of range, which is why they properly appear in indexes when a range of pages is cited (e.g., 147–48). En dashes are also used to connect a prefix to a proper open compound: for example, pre–World War II. In that example, “pre” is connected to the open compound “World War II” and therefore has to do a little extra work (to bridge the space between the two words it modifies—space that cannot be besmirched by hyphens because “World War II” is a proper noun). Now, that is a rather fussy use of the en dash that many people ignore, preferring the hyphen.


The em dash has several uses. It allows, in a manner similar to parentheses, an additional thought to be added within a sentence by sort of breaking away from that sentence—as I’ve done here. Its use or misuse for this purpose is a matter of taste, and subject to the effect on the writer’s or reader’s “ear.” Em dashes also substitute for something missing. For example, in a bibliographic list, rather than repeating the same author over and over again, three consecutive em dashes (also known as a 3-em dash) stand in for the author’s name. In interrupted speech, one or two em dashes may be used: “I wasn’t trying to imply——” “Then just what were you trying to do?” Also, the em dash may serve as a sort of bullet point, as in this to-do list:

—wash the car

—walk the dog

—attempt to explain em and en dashes


We're still waiting for the update that will allow us to use all three appropriately in SL...

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