Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. 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: Extra Space after Quotation Mark when Pasting.

Extra Space after Quotation Mark when Pasting

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 26, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


Richard cuts and pastes quotations quite a bit. If he types a quotation mark and then pastes text right after the quotation mark, Word automatically puts a space between the quotation mark and the text he's pasting. Richard then has to go back and delete the added space. He wonders how he can stop this behavior in Word.

Actually, the behavior is "by design" in Word. It is part of what Microsoft refers to as "smart cut and paste." It means that Word tries to figure out whether it should add or subtract a space from things you are cutting or pasting. This can, for some people and some purposes, cause confusing results.

You can turn off smart cut and paste (and thereby stop Word from adding the unwanted space after the quotation mark) 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 or a later version, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Advanced at the left side of the dialog box.
  3. Scroll through the options until you see the Cut, Copy, and Paste section. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Advanced options of the Word Options dialog box.

  5. Clear the Use Smart Cut and Paste check box.
  6. Click on OK.

If you prefer, you could leave the check box selected (in step 4) and simply modify what things smart cut and paste does for you. You do that by clicking on the Settings button at the right of the option.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8759) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Extra Space after Quotation Mark when Pasting.

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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