Disable smart quotes in Microsoft Word
Smart quotes are the nightmare of online writers. If you’ve never heard of them and have already tried submitting writing for publication online, you’re probably already familiar with them without even knowing it. If you’re lucky enough to find out about this problem early on, it won’t present much of a problem, as it’s an easy format solution. However, if you’ve already written tons of smart quote-infested text that you expect to load on the web, things can get a bit tricky.
So what are smart quotes?
In short, smart quotes or “smart quotes” are the default quotes and apostrophes used by Microsoft Word. Instead of using standard straight quotes or “dumb quotes”, Word automatically reformats them into the curly annoyances we’re talking about here.
If you don’t fix this problem before you upload your nice, shiny new article to the Internet, it won’t look like you wrote it. Most likely, every case where apostrophes or quotation marks are used will turn into a question mark or some other unsightly character. The result will be a very unprofessional, unfinished article and a very frustrated writer.
How to get rid of smart quotes
Fortunately, this is an extremely easy solution. If you are using Microsoft Office 2007, here are the steps:
1) Click the Office button in the upper left corner of your screen. Scroll down to Word Options (at the bottom of the box). Click it. Scroll down to the “tests” selection in the new window that just opened, click on it.
2) Now, click on Autocorrect Options. A new window will open. Browse the tabs at the top of the box and click AutoFormat. You will see the word “replace” with six boxes below it. The first is the one you want. You should say “straight quotes” with “smart quotes”. Uncheck this box. If you want, you can also uncheck the rest of the boxes, save the last one titled “hyperlinked internet and network paths” to further simplify any internet formatting issues you may experience.
3) You are almost ready. Go back to the tabs at the top of the box and click the one that says AutoFormat As You Type. Now just do the exact same thing you did in step 2 by unchecking all the same boxes here.
What if I already have articles written with smart quotes?
If you’ve already typed text using Microsoft Word with the smart quotes option, I’ll tell you what I did. There may be an easier way to do this, but this seemed the easiest to me. I just used the find function (just hold Ctrl and press F) in Word to find all the apostrophes in my article, then all the quotes. This way, the program will take you to each one, one at a time, and you can deal with them as they come up. This will save you the hassle of going through your articles by hand trying to select every last apostrophe.
That’s all there is to say about smart quotes and what to do with them. I just hope you were able to find this information before smart quotes could cause you too much trouble. That is all for now!