Josh Philpot

Theology, the Church, and Music

Tip on How to Replace Hyphens with En Dashes in MS Word

with 4 comments

Recently I was looking over a paper I had written for a seminary class which conformed to the SBTS Style Manual. This manual is unique to SBTS and is loosely based off of the Chicago Style Manuel (Turabian). But I wanted to submit this paper to a journal, and nearly every biblical studies journal requires SBL Style, also similar to Chicago style but much different from the SBTS style. One difference, for instance, is that SBL style requires en dashes between numerals (Gen 3:14–19) while SBTS style allows for simply hyphens between numbers (Gen 3:14-19). It’s a very small difference, but I guess editors are different people.

So who wants to go through an entire research paper and change all hyphens to en dashes?! I don’t, so after two minutes of googling I found this quick solution for those who use MS Word on a PC or Mac (I happily fall into the latter category):

  1. Go to “Edit” and click on “Find” or “Find and Replace” (or just Ctrl + “F” or Cmd + “F”)
  2. Click on the “Replace” tab
  3. In the “Find what” field type ([0-9])-([0-9])
  4. In the “Replace with” field type \1–\2 (notice the en dash in between, not a hyphen)
  5. Select “Use wildcards”
  6. Click “Replace All”

And there you have it. If you run this script all hyphens between numerals will be replaced with en dashes. If you have hyphens between words they will remain the same. Saved me a bunch of time. Might be helpful for others. Thanks to Phil Gons for the help.


Written by Josh Philpot

December 6, 2011 at 1:58 pm

4 Responses

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  1. I love you!

    Jenn Philpot

    December 6, 2011 at 3:26 pm

  2. For me the \1–\2 “Replace With” code puts the en dash at the end of the expression. Instead of “1980-1981” I get “19801981–”

    Rumit Pancholi

    August 23, 2013 at 1:39 am

  3. I’m editing an old paper (.docx, but not sure what it was originally typed in) for a friend and the hyphens don’t show up when copied and pasted into the Replace window. This 74-76 becomes this: 74 76


    September 30, 2020 at 12:33 am

  4. … so the Replace doesn’t recognize the hyphen in this ([0-9])-([0-9])


    September 30, 2020 at 12:35 am

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