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Old 05-17-2008, 12:43 AM   #1
Ravenlocks
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Default Hard hyphens in Final Draft

Anybody know if it's possible to insert a hard hyphen in Final Draft and if so, can you tell me how to do it?

I'm tired of typing "--" and having it break in the middle. Even if I use a single hyphen to indicate a dash, sometimes it still ends up on the wrong line.

TIA
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Old 05-17-2008, 07:16 AM   #2
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Default Re: Hard hyphens in Final Draft

That drives me crazy too! I use a lot of hypens. So if anybody has an answer, I'd like to hear it too...
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Old 05-17-2008, 07:51 AM   #3
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Default Re: Hard hyphens in Final Draft

If I understand correctly, you're trying to do something like this...

John skitters across the rooftop, the chopper closing in —

...instead of having two hyphens: closing in --

I just use the Windows Character Map for special symbols. Hold down Alt and press 0151 and you have "—".

Hope I'm not off the mark/this is what you wanted...
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Old 05-17-2008, 09:11 AM   #4
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Default Re: Hard hyphens in Final Draft

Put on your tinfoil hat and try something for me, will you?

In FD, go into Document > Macros
Select New button
In the Name field type: emdash
Copy/paste this em-dash character: — into the Macro text field (may appear as a vertical bar!)
In the Alias field type: -- (2 hyphens)
Select OK button

In your script, try typing 2 hyphens anywhere. Do they change to — (single em-dash character)? I'm hoping your answer is yes, since I tried this and it works for me.

If yes (?) then try joining words with the em-dash (by typing 2 hyphens, which triggers the macro). Do the words and the em-dash stay together when you get to the end of a line instead of breaking up? Again I'm hoping your answer is yes since I tried this and it works for me, the joined words dropped down to the next line together.

But wait: a single — em-dash doesn't look long enough in FD (an em-dash looks twice as long in vBulletin posts or in MS Word, for example). So, I edited the emdash macro (went back into Document > Macros, scrolled down the EXT, I/E., DAY etc. list to the bottom, selected emdash) and pasted another — into the Macro text field, so this contained 2 vertical bars. Then hit the OK button.

Now when I type 2 hyphens: -- a longer and better-looking em-dash character appears.

Let me know it this works! Or doesn't!

PS - sorry, had to dash (no pun) -- back again. Using the same steps above I created another macro called hyphen and pasted a single em-dash — into the Macro text field and typed an underline _ in the Alias field. So now when I type an underline (holding down the Shift key as usual) anywhere in the script this gives me a single em-dash which looks like a hyphen and glues itself onto words on either side, in other words, the "hard hyphen" you're looking for, in addition to the emdash macro. If you want. (Why underline? Because I never use this when writing script or prose. And because it's on the same key as the hyphen, so I'll remember it easily.)

-Derek
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Old 05-17-2008, 09:19 AM   #5
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Default Re: Hard hyphens in Final Draft

EDIT: I posted the message below while Derek was posting his, so I did not see what he had written. He is quite correct in his directions for how to create a macro, and thanks to him for pointing it out. I had never created a macro in FD and was really not at all familiar with that feature.

However, please note the following issues, which I discovered while trying out Derek's method in FD version 6 (I do not know how it works in version 7).

The macro does not continue to work unless you (1) save it in your template, or (2) you save it in the particular document (it saves with the document automatically) and then activate it each time you load the document.

1) The best thing is to save it in your template. You have to open a blank document, create the macro, and then save the file. When you save it, you have to save it as "stationery" in the folder/directory where your templates are. Either overwrite the default template or create a new one (name it whatever you would like). Templates have the extension .fdt instead of .fdr. So make sure you give it the correct extension. Your templates are probably stored in the \Program Files\FinalDraft\Templates directory. If you save the macro in your template, it will load when you open a new document based on that template.

2) If you just want to store the macro in a particular document, you have to create the macro, as already described by Derek, and then save the file. When you reopen the file the next time, you have to click on Document / Macros and then click OK on the macros screen. It did not seem to be necessary to select your macro and then click OK. Just clicking OK on the macro screen loaded the em-dash macro.

Derek mentions the 'longer' em-dash, which he creates by putting two em-dashes next to one another. The reason that one em-dash does not look as long in Final Draft as it does in Microsoft Word has nothing to do with the program; it is a matter of font. Courier is a monospaced font. Each character is allotted the same amount of space and cannot extend beyond that amount. In Word you will get the same 'shorter' em-dash if you create it in a Courier font. If, however, you shoehorn an em-dash into your text by using the INSERT/SYMBOL method, you will get a longer em-dash because the character is not really Courier.

I only use only one em-dash in Courier, but I put a space before and after it. NOTE: Courier fonts vary in the lengths assigned to the hyphen, the en-dash, and the em-dash.


That problem of the '--' which breaks between hyphens is a major pain. It should have been addressed a long time ago.

The double hyphen '--' is the old typewriter method of indicating an em-dash.

I always use a true em-dash, instead of two hyphens, in all of my writing. This is what dc_guy is talking about.

In the Windows operating system, turn on NUM LOCK and just leave it on forever.

Press the left ALT key, keep holding it down, and type 0151 on the numeric keypad. Let go of ALT. The em-dash will appear.

If you have a laptop, you may have to jump through some hoops to do this, because there may be no numeric keypad (you have to hold down a special key and use some of the regular keys that also have little numbers on them).

By the way, sometimes in Final Draft I have to type the code (all the steps) a second time to make it work. This only happens to me in Final Draft. It is some kind of quirk in the program.
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Old 05-17-2008, 09:36 AM   #6
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Default Re: Hard hyphens in Final Draft

Thank you for this.

It's bugged me forever.

Good morning, everyone,

Corona
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Old 05-17-2008, 10:19 AM   #7
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Default Re: Hard hyphens in Final Draft

Hey Ray, I'm glad you posted that update, I was having a hell of a time figuring out how to save the pesky critters.

Saving as Stationary (.fdt extension) does indeed do the biz (I saved as filename "emdash-hyphen.fdt"). When I next started FD7 with a new/blank document I selected Document > Macros, then selected the Load button which listed the saved .fdt file. When I selected this, hey presto the emdash and hyphen macros re-appeared at the bottom of the INT/EXT/etc. list.

That's my lucky guesses for the month all used up!

-Derek
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Old 05-17-2008, 01:50 PM   #8
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Default Re: Hard hyphens in Final Draft

Hmm, I didn't even think of using a macro or keyboard shortcut to make an em-dash instead of the two hyphens. Until now I didn't know how to make macros in FD either. Are em-dashes acceptable in screenwriting? I guess there's no reason why they wouldn't be. I've always heard that for novels and short stories editors prefer the two hyphens, though.

Thanks!
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Old 05-17-2008, 09:03 PM   #9
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Default Re: Hard hyphens in Final Draft

anyone know how to do this on a mac?
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Old 05-18-2008, 08:15 AM   #10
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Default Re: Hard hyphens in Final Draft

I half followed dpat's instructions. Opened up the macros section, copy-pasted two em-dashes from his post, and set it to the empty Opt+0 macro. Not as handy as having it set for when you hit -- but best way I could find in my spare 20 mins yesterday.
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