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I think it's a Mountain Lion thing, when you type - (dash) twice, it becomes — (emdash). When you type tm, it becomes ™ (trademark symbol). Or when you type three . (dot), it becomes … (elipsis). Some are useful, some are very annoying. Overall, I want to stop that. How can I achieve this?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Go to the system preferences and choose "Language & Text"

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In the "Text" tab you will find the list of substitutions.

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If you want to stop -- from being turned into (emdash) you need to use the + button and add a new rule to replace -- with -- (replace with itself)

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that looks awesome and thank you for this answer, but the thing annoys me most "--" to "—" is not there… Hmm… –  beatak Feb 22 '13 at 7:35
4  
ah okay, so if I make another rule as "--" to "--" then it saves my double dashes. Thanks! –  beatak Feb 22 '13 at 7:38
    
Ok I thought that it was missing in my case, but I also don't have the substitution. Did it happen in all applications? –  Matteo Feb 22 '13 at 8:00
    
At least, I'm running Mountain Lion in English env, where it happens substitution, it happens. (e.g.: Finda.app, naming a file/directory) –  beatak Feb 22 '13 at 12:55

Not sure if you folks are still having this problem but I just discovered how frustrating it can be. I was writing a unix script for Apple Remote Desktop which requires a --get flag and it kept getting converted to an em dash, ruining the command.

I couldn't find a way to turn off the em dash conversion, but all hope is not lost. In the Language & Text menu (Text tab) I created an entry that replaces -- with -- (i.e. it replaces two dashes with itself). This overrides the system converting -- to an em dash.

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I encountered this same problem on Mavericks (10.9), where the fix has changed slightly. Go to System Preferences, then "Language & Region" then click the "Keyboard Preferences..." button and to go to "Text" tab. It is no longer a substitution, however, but instead on the right-hand side of the window there is a tickbox "Use smart quotes and dashes". Unticking this stops it changing two hyphens into an en-dash.

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