What do I enter for an ellipse?

I’m exportting to LaTeX and working out problems I’ve encountered in the process, some of which are a result of my entering characters for a function for which Scrivener expects something else, e.g., “–” insteadh of “—” for an em-dash.

It seems I’ve also been entering the wrong thing for ellipses, too, as Scrivener substitutes {\ldot} for what I’ve been entering the ellipses–"…"—three periods with no space between them or between them and the preceding and following words. I’m told by LaTeX folks that {\dot} is a math environment, which generates problems with my LaTeX compile set up.

What should I be entering?


OSX use opt-; for ellipse …

Try that. Should work everyplace in OSX.

Thanks, Jaysen. I had no idea. Curious: If I do a search and replace to replace all my triple periods with ellipses, will “opt-;” in the replace field generate an ellipse? [I guess I’ll find out.]

Thanks again,

It did for me.

I assume that opt-; inserts the Unicode representation of the character HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS into your text. That’s fine for word processors that support Unicode. For LaTeX, if it works with your LaTeX installation, go for it. But not all versions of LaTeX support Unicode. LaTeX was developed in the days of ASCII, and anything not supported in ASCII (such as an ellipsis) was done with macros. \dots and \textellipsis are the canonical (i.e. old-fashioned) ways of getting an ellipsis into the typeset text. They insert dots with appropriate spacing between them (there’s some controversy about the spacing before and after, however; the “ellipsis” package is supposed to fix this issue). That works without requiring a font that has an ellipsis character.

That’s just a cautionary note. I’ve spent the past twenty years writing C and C++ code that has to work with pretty much every compiler in existence, so I tend to not push the edges. I would use \dots, because it works everywhere; opt-; should work almost everywhere; that “almost” means I’d stay away from it. YMMV.

It may be/probably is that ‘opt-;’ inserts unicode, but [1] when exporting to latex we have the option of replacing ellipses with three periods. Likewise with en- and em-dashes, [2] I’m looking into installing the tex gyre fonts, which are unicode and would support compiling of unicode.

While I’m at it, is there a Mac keyboard sequence for inserting en- and em-dashes?


A general site that might help is nouilles.info/keyboard_shortcuts.html. Scroll down for a big chart including HTML, OS X and Windows key sequences.

En-dash = opt± (opt plus minus). Some fonts don’t show this very well.
Em-dash = shift-opt± (shift-opt plus minus)

If you want to work with Latex and Unicode then, for my money, the best bet is to use the Xetex/Xelatex options. The two main benefits are:

  • You can use the normal fonts on your Mac without any additional tinkering.
  • You can use Unicode characters, like en-dash, em-dash and ellipsis ‘as is’.

In addition to setting TexShop to Xetex/Xelatex, you will need to load the fontspec package and include the font definition in your tex files. I put that all in a file mmd-xelatex-fonts.tex which is called by an input{} in mmd-memoir-setup.tex. The whole file is:

\usepackage{fontspec} \setmainfont{Optima} \setromanfont{Optima} \setmonofont{Courier}

The only think to watch out for is the Transformations pane in the Compile dialogue. Keep everything unchecked (or unticked where I live) and all the dashes and ellipses should make it through unaltered.