September 2007
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Month September 2007

Figure Dashes

I have been using en (–, ) and em (—, ) dashes for a while now. I love HTML entities! I always try to use proper quotations (“, and ”, ) and apostrophes (’, [beware ' doesn’t work in IE6 use &8217;]), but I had never heard of figure dashes before. According to Wikipedia “The figure dash is used when a dash must be used within numbers, for example with telephone numbers: 634‒5789.”. I always use decimals to separate phone numbers. i.e. 909.555.7384, I just like the way it looks better so I had never really thought about it before. My guess would have been to use en dashes, but en dashes are suppose to be used to express ranges not separations.

On a side note I know the iPhone is suppose to turn phone numbers into clickable links so you can dial from a webpage. I wonder how it handles different variations such as: 909.555.7384, 9095557384, 909-555-7384, or 909‒555‒7384 (This one uses figure dashes, notices the longer length of the dash and increased readable of the numbers).

Figure dashes don’t have a HTML name like en and em dashes. You’ll have to use the numeric version which is or ‒. The only caveat is that IE6 doesn’t support this character. I haven’t tested it IE 7 yet, I’ll report back when I do. Also I am going try to do some research into why IE6 doesn’t support the figure dash as well as trying to find a solution(s) to getting it to work in IE6. I’m sure I could write a script that replaces with a normal hyphen for IE, but that seems a bit over kill unless your site is all about telephone numbers.