Help identify unknown hyphen character
Thread poster: Samuel Murray

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:21
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Nov 26, 2017

Hello everyone

Can anyone please tell me what character is used in this Word file to represent the hyphen or dash? When I copy/paste it, it pastes as a space. How does one type this character, and how does one find/replace it (e.g. to replace all instances with an actual hyphen or dash)?



Tony M
Local time: 10:21
French to English
+ ...
Standard hyphen? Nov 26, 2017

Copies and pastes fine for me, seems to be just a standard hyphen character?

Do you have an issue with fonts, perhaps? Maybe try again, changing the font before you copy and paste?


Daniel Frisano
Local time: 10:21
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
Mystery Nov 26, 2017

My Word sees it as a regular dash:


However, if I open the file in Notepad I get "PharmaEthicsnavorsingsetiekkomitee"

If I copy it from Notepad and paste it here it becomes "PharmaEthicsnavorsingsetiekkomitee"

If I paste it to Excel, it is a space, with the same ASCII code as a regular space (32).

(I have a similar issue sometimes when converting from PDF to Word)

[Edited at 2017-11-26 14:23 GMT]


Endre Both  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:21
Member (2002)
English to German
Non-breaking hyphen Nov 26, 2017

It seems to be a non-breaking hyphen. Searching for ^~ in Word 2010 I can find it, and looking into document.xml within the docx file created when saved in docx format, you will find that it is represented as &ltw:noBreakHyphen/>.

[Bearbeitet am 2017-11-26 14:33 GMT]


Vesa Korhonen  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:21
English to Finnish
+ ...
Would this be... Nov 26, 2017

...of any help:

Especially the section about "MS Word Specialities",

As far as I can see, "Non-breakin hyphen", Ctrl+_ appears very similar.

br, Vesa K.


Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Local time: 10:21
Member (2016)
English to German
Non-breaking hyphen Nov 26, 2017

When you save your doc file "as html" you can see the character code in the html, for example "Suid‑Afrika".

#8209 is a non-breaking hyphen in UTF-8.


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:21
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Thanks, everyone Nov 26, 2017

Thanks, everyone. It's a non-breaking hyphen.

I suspect it is the work of a [lazy] translator who didn't want to go through the file to manually check which hyphens ought to be non-breaking, so he just changed all hyphens to non-breaking ones (which has some side-effects, particularly when long hyphenated words are supposed to break across lines). I also encountered files that went through a translator's hand who turned all spaces preceding and following numbers into non-breaking spaces. That, at least, has fewer weird side-effects (and more benefits).

In the file that I posted via WeTransfer, the hyphen looks like a standard hyphen, but in the original file from the client, these non-breaking hyphens look like n-dashes.


Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
Record separator Nov 26, 2017

Notepad++ says it's an RS character, i.e. record separator, corresponding to ASCII code 30 (ref. the ASCII chart here: ).

That's a non-printable character, and so it may display differently depending on the application, if it is displayed at all.

The trouble with converting this to another format before displaying it is that the conversion may also change the ASCII code. If for example I copy it into Excel, it says it's ASCII code 63, but that's a question mark, and if I convert the code back to character, it shows a question mark instead of the dash I first see.

It seems it's an ordinary or non-breaking hyphen you need.


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Help identify unknown hyphen character

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