How to Add a Dash in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

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By Matthew Simpson

Adding a dash in Excel is a breeze once you get the hang of it. First, you’ll need to select the cell where you want the dash to appear. Then, simply type in the dash symbol, which is located on the same key as the underscore on your keyboard. Voilà! Your dash should now be displayed in the selected cell.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Add a Dash in Excel

Adding a dash in Excel is something you might need to do when working with data that requires a separator, like dates or phone numbers. It’s a simple task that can be done in just a few steps.

Step 1: Select the Cell

First things first, click on the cell where you want to add the dash.

When you select the cell, it becomes active, which means you can now enter data into it. Make sure you’re on the right cell to avoid errors.

Step 2: Type the Dash

Next, press the dash (-) key on your keyboard.

The dash key is usually located next to the zero key on the top row of your keyboard. Once you press it, the dash will appear in the selected cell.

Step 3: Press Enter

Finally, press enter to confirm the entry.

After hitting enter, the dash becomes a part of the cell’s content. You can now proceed to enter more data or move on to another task.

Once you’ve completed these steps, the dash will be visible in the cell you selected. If you need to add dashes to multiple cells, simply repeat these steps for each one.

Tips for Adding a Dash in Excel

  • If you’re adding dashes to a series of cells, consider using the fill handle for quicker input.
  • Remember that the dash symbol can also serve as a minus sign in Excel, so make sure it’s being used in the correct context.
  • To add a longer dash, known as an em dash, you can use the Alt code Alt+0151 on your numeric keypad.
  • If you’re entering data like social security numbers that require a dash, you can set up a custom format to include the dash automatically.
  • Make use of Excel’s find and replace feature if you need to add dashes to data that has already been entered.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I add a dash in a formula?

To include a dash within a formula, enclose it in double quotation marks.

For instance, if you’re creating a formula and need to add a dash, it would look something like this: ="Part 1" & "-" & "Part 2". This will result in "Part 1-Part 2".

Can I add dashes to multiple cells at once?

Yes, you can add dashes to multiple cells simultaneously by selecting all the desired cells and typing the dash in one cell, then pressing Ctrl+Enter.

This shortcut will fill all the selected cells with the dash, saving you time if you need to insert dashes in bulk.

Is there a difference between a dash and a hyphen in Excel?

Technically, a dash and a hyphen are different, but Excel doesn’t differentiate between them. In Excel, you can simply use the dash key for both purposes.

Can I create a custom dash format for cells?

Yes, you can set up a custom format with dashes for cells that will automatically format the data as you enter it.

To do this, select the cells, then go to Format Cells > Number > Custom and set up the desired format including dashes.

What if I want to add an em dash or en dash?

For an em dash, use the Alt code Alt+0151, and for an en dash, use Alt+0150. Make sure Num Lock is on and use the numeric keypad to enter the codes.


  1. Select the cell where you want to add the dash.
  2. Type the dash (-) key on your keyboard.
  3. Press enter to confirm the entry.


There you have it! Adding a dash in Excel is as simple as 1, 2, 3. Whether you’re organizing data, creating lists, or formatting numbers, knowing how to add a dash efficiently can save you time and make your spreadsheets look more professional. Excel’s versatility extends beyond just numbers and formulas; it allows for a variety of formatting options, including the humble yet essential dash. So go ahead, give it a try, and see how a small dash can make a big impact on your data presentation. Remember, practice makes perfect, and with these tips in hand, you’ll be dashing through Excel like a pro in no time!