How to Type Ellipsis Points on a Mac

Ellipsis 700 v1The syntax involved in using the dash, apostrophe, and ellipsis is complex enough but it doesn’t help matters when you’re trying to type them with your word processing software and there’s no logical way to do it.

We’ve already covered creating the dash and the apostrophe on a Mac. It’s time now to look at making the ellipsis (or as some call it the “ellipsis points”).

The ellipsis is a series of three dots usually inserted into a sentence to represent words left out from a quotation as in, “It was the best of times … the worst of times,” or a pause in thought like a trailing off, an abrupt ending, or a building of suspense. He said, “I know what you’re up to Mr. Microsoft Office, you little …” and stormed out the room.

Most times you’ll see an ellipsis typed as three full stops. That’s fine, but there’s actually an inbuilt ellipsis “mark” with most word processing programs, that provides a really tight grouping of dots. As we’ll see, this is mostly relevant when writing in the USA.

Here’s the tip:

a) To type the ellipsis on a Mac hold Option + the ; key.

Well, how totally unintuitive is that? But voila …

When it comes to typing an ellipsis at the end of a sentence though, you have two options depending on your editor, publisher, and audience:

1) In the USA, it’s common to type a full stop (to signal the end of the sentence) followed by the ellipsis (leaving you with four dots at the end). … It’s just that this often looks ugly given most software programs and is really best achieved with a professional printer’s touch.

2) Everywhere else (and in the USA if it’s your intent) it’s ok to type a space followed by the ellipsis to give a sense of trailing off …

In either case, the new sentence begins with a capital letter.

There you go.