Why em and en dashes look similar in Editor?

In the Editor, em and en dashes look equally long when they shouldn’t. I create an em dash with alt+shift+hyphen and en dash with alt+hyphen. In other applications the em dash is clearly longer. It’s always been this way for me in Scrivener. I wonder, is there a setting somewhere in Scrivener affecting this? Thanks for any enlightenment.

What font are you using in the editor vs. other programs?

If you select a piece of text in Scrivener and change the font, does this change?

Ah, a good suggestion! Indeed, if I change the font, the em dashes stretch. I’m using Bitstream Vera Sans Mono by default in Scrivener. It’s the mono version doing this, as Bitstream Vera Sans differentiates en and em dashes. Some other mono fonts, like Courier and Menlo, seem to have the same deficiency, so maybe this is a common mono feature, so to speak? I don’t know if I want to switch from using a mono font, though. A bypass would be great.

Yeah, silly me. Monospaced means that all characters are equally wide, including the dashes. Still, the en dash is wider than a simple hyphen. Would it be impossible to create a three-scale hyphen then?

If you search the forums, we’ve had some good discussions over the years about editor fonts, including some choices that are a cross between mono and proportional, precisely because of characters like ‘m’ and em-dashes needing to have a little more real estate.

Here’s an example post:


Thanks, I didn’t know this has been a topic. Retrospectively it’s quite obvious, though. I did search with “em dash” but I guess I didn’t look deep. Cousine looks pretty good. I need to check those mentioned in the thread. Thanks again!

My pleasure – that thread was a good one, I got some good font choices out of it! :slight_smile:

Would it be out of the question for you to use one, two or three dashes in the editor, and simply tell the compiler to replace two dashes with an en-dash, and three with an em-dash? That would be obvious while editing. :smiling_imp:

Rdale has a point. I was one of the participants in that thread (I believe I first mentioned Cousine), but I’ve switched to Rdale’s system. First, even in monospaced fonts that distinguish among the dashes, the differences are slight and easily confused. Second, in my own work, being able to see the difference between English open quotes and close quotes is more critical as quotes are more common than the em dash or en dash. (This last may not be an issue in Finnish typography! :smiley: )

Yes, this is a valid option of course, but currently I’m working on a project that I just copy-paste from bit by bit. Search and replace is obvious too but yeah, there’s an extra manual stage there. Using a system wide service, an Automator script… Um. I’m relatively happy with Cousine though.