Re: en and em dashes

Subject: Re: en and em dashes
From: Yvonne DeGraw <yvonne -at- SILCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 22 May 1996 09:06:22 -0700

Michael Cargal <michael -at- NANMCKAY -dot- COM> wrote:
>On reflection and trial and error, it seems that whether an em dash in html
>shows up on my system depends on whether the font selected in the receiver's
>browser has an em dash for Alt-0151. In running down my stash of fonts with
>Windows Character Map, I see that virtually all fonts that have extended
>character sets do have an em dash at Alt-0151, but MS Serif and Sans Serif
>do not.

Yes, using "&#150;" for en dash and "&#151;" for em dash is common in HTML
because many fonts put those characters there. But, they are not required.
Here's a quote from the list of "ISO Latin 1 Character HTML Entity Names"
in Sandia's HTML Reference Manual at (This page lists the
symbol numbers. There's also a link to a page with the symbol names.)

"Values 128-159 are not assigned to displayable characters in the
ISO8859-1 code and should not be used for displayable characters in HTML."

What they are saying is that these characters won't work with all browsers
and with all fonts.

Yvonne DeGraw, Technical Services o Web Authoring
yvonne -at- silcom -dot- com o Technical Writing o Database Design and Publishing
Tel: 805/683-5784 o User-Interface Design
(Check out my latest project--the NanoTheater at

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