Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Replacing Some Smart Quotes.

Replacing Some Smart Quotes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 13, 2017)

Greg has a large document that uses smart quotes throughout it. He needs to replace some, but not all, of the quote marks and apostrophes with their non-smart equivalents.

This is actually a rather common occurrence. Many people use smart quotes in their documents to give a more "finished" look to what they are writing, but sometimes need to have regular quote marks and apostrophes used in some instances, such as when noting minutes and seconds with times in the text.

The trick to doing this type of search and replace is to turn off Word's smart quote capabilities. Follow 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. At the left side of the dialog box click Proofing.
  3. Click AutoCorrect Options button. Word displays the AutoCorrect dialog box.
  4. Make sure the AutoFormat As You Type tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The AutoFormat As You Type tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box.

  6. Make sure the Straight Quotes with Smart Quotes option is cleared.
  7. Click OK to dismiss the AutoCorrect dialog box.
  8. Click OK to dismiss the Word Options dialog box.

Now you are ready to do your find and replace operation:

  1. Press Ctrl+H. Word displays the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  2. Figure 2. The Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  3. Put either a quote mark or apostrophe in the Find What box.
  4. Put the same character in the Replace With box.
  5. Make sure you aren't searching for any formatting or using any formatting in the replacement text.

Use the controls in the dialog box to step through each occurrence of the character and replace it, if desired. Find and Replace will find every occurrence of the character you entered in step 2, regardless of whether it is "smart" or not. Since the smart quotes option is turned off, the replacement will be a regular quote mark or apostrophe, as desired.

There is one caveat to the information presented here: If you are doing a search with wildcards turned on, Word is much more discriminating in what is looks for. While a regular search doesn't differentiate between regular and smart quotes, a wildcard search does. Thus, you can't just type a regular quote in the Find What box when doing the wildcard search. Instead, you must hold down the Alt key and use the numeric keypad to type the correct code for the smart quote character you want: 0145 (opening apostrophe), 0146 (closing apostrophe), 0147 (opening quote), or 0148 (closing quote).

There is no way to avoid stepping through all occurrences of quote marks or apostrophes in the document, as they all must be examined so you can determine if you want to make a change. When you are done making your changes, make sure that you turn smart quotes back on (use the steps earlier in this tip), if you normally type with them turned on.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7551) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Replacing Some Smart Quotes.

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. ...

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