The curly quotes trick

When I worked in Scrivener and in Word, I had trouble with curly quotes. They look like this:

“curly quotation marks”

The default for most systems is the more modern straight quotes:

"straight quotation marks"

Most of my work is historical, and I use fonts that look a little more like printing or typeset, so I want curly.

In Word, there is a setting to do curly quotes, but it’s inside the settings for autocorrect. 

autocorrect setting

Many of us find it doesn’t work. We set it but it still does straight quotes, and it doesn’t change straight quotes that are there anyway.. Sometimes a curly one jumps in. We don’t know why, and spend hours changing the quotation marks.

A simple trick: replace them all. I know it won’t look right, but select your whole book, then do Find and Replace with your double quotation marks.

find and replace

I know it seems weird, since it looks like you’re replacing straight quotes with straight quotes. So:

  1. Use Word – Preferences – Autocorrect to set the curly quotes
  2. Use Edit – Find – Replace and put double quotes in both

Caveat: For single quotation marks, this doesn’t work as easily, and with good reason.  Sometimes we use a closing mark () for contractions, apostrophes, or even leaving off letters at the beginning of a word:

My country tis of thee
That was Gretchens streudel 
You dont know who he is

Word can’t always tell the difference. So we do need to go back and look at all those individual (using Find can help, though!)