Smart Quotes with Dragon Naturally Speaking

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 25, 2017)


Jerry very often uses Dragon Naturally Speaking to create documents. When he does, it produces straight quote marks and apostrophes instead of "smart" ones. Jerry finds it a bother to go through the laborious Find and Replace process every time he "speaks" text into the document, so he wonders if there is a setting that will fix this or, perhaps, a faster way than using Find and Replace all the time.

There are obviously two players in the mix here: Word and Dragon Naturally Speaking. For the part of the latter, ever since version 13 the program will transcribe the correct quotes (regular or smart) if you have smart quotes turned on in Word. There are reports that Dragon doesn't use the correct quotes if you are using Word as your editor for Outlook e-mails.

If you are using an older version of Dragon (or you are using it to compose e-mails), then you could create a special word in the program that results in an opening smart quote being typed and another word that enters a closing smart quote. That way you could "speak" the quotes, much as you would speak other punctuation marks.

Another approach is to use Find and Replace to convert your regular quotes to smart quotes. As long (again) as you have smart quotes turned on in Word, you should be able to search for quote marks (") and replace with quote marks ("). When you click on Replace All, they are all changed to smart quotes. You can do the same operation for apostrophes to make them "smart," as well. This process could also be automated through the use of a macro, if desired.

Sub ReplaceQuotes()
    With Selection.Find
        .Text = """"
        .Replacement.Text = """"
        .Forward = True
        .Wrap = wdFindContinue
        .Format = False
        .MatchCase = False
        .MatchWholeWord = False
        .MatchWildcards = False
        .MatchSoundsLike = False
        .MatchAllWordForms = False
    End With
    Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
    With Selection.Find
        .Text = "'"
        .Replacement.Text = "'"
    End With
    Selection.Find.Execute Replace:=wdReplaceAll
End Sub

A couple of times in this tip I've mentioned making sure that smart quotes are turned on in Word. You can check that this is the case by following these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and later versions display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Proofing at the left side of the dialog box.
  3. Click the AutoCorrect Options button. Word displays the AutoCorrect dialog box.
  4. Display the AutoFormat As You Type tab. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The AutoFormat As You Type tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box.

  6. Make sure that the Straight Quotes with Smart Quotes check box is selected.
  7. Display the AutoFormat tab. (See Figure 2.)
  8. Figure 2. The AutoFormat tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box.

  9. Make sure that the Straight Quotes with Smart Quotes check box is selected.
  10. Click OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (767) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


Dynamic Worksheet Tab Names

Need a worksheet's name to change based on the contents of a cell? You'll need to rely on a macro to do the changing, but ...

Discover More

Using VLOOKUP to Access Information to the Left

One of the most useful function in Excel is VLOOKUP. One thing it won't do, however, is allow you to lookup information ...

Discover More

Extracting Hyperlink Information

In Excel, a hyperlink consists of two parts: the text displayed for the link and the target of the link. You can use a ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Inserting a Non-Breaking Hyphen

Non-breaking hyphens can come in helpful for some types of writing. They force the words (or characters) on both sides of ...

Discover More

Repeating Your Typing

Want a quick way to repeat a word or phrase you just typed? Here's the shortcut you need.

Discover More

Capitals After Colons

Do you want Word to always capitalize the first letter appearing after a colon? The program won't do it by default, but ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is six more than 8?

2017-02-25 08:31:48

Rod Grealish

I think this text could be clearer if the embedded visible html tags were actioned ie the text had visible paragraph breaks and other formatting. A glitch in the presentation.

2017-02-25 04:24:15


Could we please have this in plain English. I can't understand the language this is written in. Thank you.

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.