Typography, vol. 2 - How to write properly

Typography, vol. 2 - How to write properly

It's not the first time we write about correct typography on our blog. A while ago, we summed up for you how to use typography for making your text look good and easy & comfortable to read. But what typographical principles apply for writing itself? And what are the most common mistakes in this regard?

What symbols to use and how to write them?

Of course we all know for what purpose we write dots, commas, colons, or quotation marks. But do you for example know that when writing three dots, you should actually use one specific symbol called ellipsis?

But how to properly write this and many more symbols? You usually need a combination of several keyboard symbols, most commonly by holding left Alt button while entering a series of numbers:











Type it in Windows

Alt + 0147

Alt + 0145

Alt + 0133

Alt + 0169

Alt + 0174

Alt + 0153

Alt + 036

Alt + 0128

Alt + 0150 (en dash)

Alt + 0151 (em dash)

Alt + 064 (či Ctrl + Alt + V)

Alt + 035 (či Ctrl + Alt + X)

Alt + 037 (či Shift + %/=)

Alt + 038 (či Ctrl + Alt + C)

Type it in Mac

option + [

option + ]

option + ;

option + g

option + r

option + 2

option + 4

option + shift + 2

option + -

option + shift + -

option + 2

option + 3

shift + 5

option + 7


Non-breaking space

A special combination (Alt + 255, to be specific) could be used for so called non-breaking space, which purpose is to prevent an automatic line break at its position and to ensure that individual lines won't have awkward breaks, for example between numbers and symbols or units, titles, dashes, or abbreviations (10 %, 1 ft, ¶ 42, Fig. 10, etc).

How to properly write horizontal bars

Not every horizontal line is a dash. There are actually several types of horizontal lines, each of them having a unique use.

Typography, vol. 2 - How to write properly

For example the hyphen (-) is represented by a key that is usually used for writing a classic dash (on your keyboard, you can find it on the left side from your right shift), but it should actually be used for word division or "gluing" them together, because they usually represent one term combined from two or more words (for example: eye-opener, free-for-all). Hypen can also be used for the mathematical minus sign. You can read more about when to use and when not to use the hyphen symbol in this article.

On the other hand, a proper dash should be used for typical sentence pause or spliting up whole words. However it is written differently and it actually contains two individual symbols:

The first is called en dash (Alt + 0150) and it can be used as an alternative to represent a span or range of numbers, time, or dates (1999–2000, 8:00–22:00, etc.), or word conflicts and connections (Sydney–Los Angeles flight, liberal–conservative debate). For more information about the propper use of the en dash, read here.

The second way of writing a dash is with the so called em dash (Alt + 0151). This type of dash can act as a comma, colons, or parentheses. Again, for more specific examples of how to use or not use the em-dash, visit this website.