Software

Turn off Word's smart quotes

Smart quotes can give your Word documents a polished appearance, but they can also create problems or cause display issues on various publishing systems. See how to control the insertion of smart quotes so you can use them only when you really want them.

By default, Word uses smart quotes. Smart quotes are curved quotation marks, both single and double sets. Most professional publications use them, but depending on where your content is headed, you might not want smart quotes. In fact, many editors insist that you not use them. You could replace each quote with its straight counterpart, but there's an easier way.

The easiest way to get rid of smart quotes is to disable the option as follows:

  1. From the Tools menu, select Auto Correct Options.
  2. Click the AutoFormat As You Type tab.
  3. Deselect the Straight Quotes With Smart Quotes option in the Replace As You Type section.
  4. Click OK.

The process is similar in Word 2007, but getting there is a tad different:

  1. Click the Office button and then click Word Options (bottom right).
  2. Select Proofing in the left pane.
  3. Click AutoCorrect Options.
  4. Click the AutoFormat As You Type tab.
  5. Deselect the Straight Quotes With Smart Quotes option in the Replace As You Type section.
  6. Click OK twice.

There are alternatives. If you want smart quotes most of the time, leave smart quotes enabled. When you insert a quotation mark, press [Ctrl]+Z to undo the smart quote format — Word will replace the smart quote with a straight quote. On the other hand, if you disable smart quotes, you can still insert an occasional smart quote:

[Alt]+0147 inserts an opening double quotation mark.

[Alt]+0148 inserts a closing double quotation mark.

[Alt]+0145 inserts an opening single quotation mark.

[Alt]+0146 inserts a closing double quotation mark.

Just remember that you must use the numeric keypad to enter the numeric digits.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

Editor's Picks