Minus symbols

In text, when referring to negative numbers, make sure you are using the typographically correct minus symbol (−). This is longer than a hyphen (-) and differently positioned than an en dash (–). Using the correct symbol will ensure that “minus” is read out by screen-reading software.

Most keyboards don’t have the correct minus symbol as a character. There are a number of ways you can render it in a document. The simplest is to copy and paste it from this page.

Copy this to your Word document:

Inserting a minus symbol in Microsoft Word

Click “Insert” in the ribbon at the top of the page
Select “Symbol” from the ribbon that appears underneath
Select the minus symbol

Using shortcuts and number lock

Put on your keyboard’s number lock (Num Lock), type the number 2212, highlight it, and then hold down “Ctrl” and “x”.

By selecting “Insert” in the Microsoft ribbon, you can select “More symbols” under “Symbol” and edit your keyboard shortcuts for something simpler, for example “Ctrl” and “m”.