[OS X TeX] typing em dash (---)

Nicolae Garleanu garleanu at haas.berkeley.edu
Tue Sep 17 01:22:08 CEST 2013

Thank you, Ross. I definitely take your point concerning collaboration, it would have hit me pretty soon of its own. Initially I had not even considered not leaving the three dashes unchanged in the source, but some of the reactions to the original question made me think along these lines. As Herb wrote, better leave all these substitution boxes unchecked. I have lived 15+ years very happily with three (or two, depending on the case) dashes, will continue to do so. I guess that at some point I checked the smart dashes box (to see what it does?) and completely forgot about it..

From: Ross Moore <ross.moore at mq.edu.au<mailto:ross.moore at mq.edu.au>>
Reply-To: TeX on Mac OS X Mailing List <macosx-tex at email.esm.psu.edu<mailto:macosx-tex at email.esm.psu.edu>>
Date: Monday, September 16, 2013 4:07 PM
To: TeX on Mac OS X Mailing List <macosx-tex at email.esm.psu.edu<mailto:macosx-tex at email.esm.psu.edu>>
Subject: Re: [OS X TeX] typing em dash (---)

Hello Nicolae,

On 17/09/2013, at 8:33 AM, Nicolae Garleanu wrote:

> Thanks to all who replied. While I had one particular question I mind,
> there were actually two in my posting, as follows.
> 1) How not to have --- be replaced with an em-dash in the source? This was
> solved by unchecking smart dashes in
>        Edit -> Substitutions -> Show Substitutions
> The solution is gratefully acknowledged.

Glad that works.
In the TeX world you do *not* want such substitutions happening behind
your back. See my comment further down concerning collaboration.

> 2) Supposing one does have an em-dash in the source, can that translate
> into an em-dash in the output? Not in my set-up. For instance, a minimal
> example would be as attached (if possible), and pasted below. Output as
> expected given my original posting, i.e., first dash becomes a blank
> space. I am just running pdflatex in the standard installation.

You would need to either:

  1.  specify the input encoding
  2.  have the endash character automatically converted to '--'
  3.  pre-filter your input to become pure ascii,
      including conversions to --- or -- for the dashes,
      and to `...' for single quotes and  ``...'' for double quotes.

Option 3. is the most reliable, especially as you will undoubtedly
sometime be in a position where you send (La)TeX source to a colleague.
That colleague should not be put in a position of having to deal
with your choice to use 1. or 2.

Just to indicate the problem more clearly, look at your email as
I see it, in Apple's Mail program. The character that you have
inserted as an endash does not necessarily appear that way.
(This is *not* a TeX-only issue.)

[cid:53630e77-b162-40fb-ae8c-c39407cd489e at campus.berkeley.edu]

You can see the problem also in the quoted portion
immediately below.

> \documentclass[12pt]{article}
> \begin{document}
> ad ‹ asdas --- as asd
> \end{document}
> Nicolae

Hope this help,


Ross Moore                                       ross.moore at mq.edu.au<mailto:ross.moore at mq.edu.au>
Mathematics Department                           office: E7A-206
Macquarie University                             tel: +61 (0)2 9850 8955
Sydney, Australia  2109                          fax: +61 (0)2 9850 8114

[cid:8a335f73-6759-42b7-8e83-883909ab299d at campus.berkeley.edu]

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