Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Using Correct Apostrophes.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 3, 2018)
As you learn in other WordTips, Word includes a feature that automatically converts straight quote marks to smart quotes—the type that pretty well match those used by professional typesetters. While this is great in most instances, it can be annoying when typing some types of words. For instance, you may want to type terms such as "the '80s" or "the '90s." Proper typography dictates that the apostrophes just before the numbers should curve down and to the left, but Word shows them as curving up and to the right. (The Word way would be fine if you were using the apostrophes to start out a full word or phrase.)
So how do you get the apostrophe to point in the proper direction? Granted, you could use the Symbol option from the Insert menu, or you could remember an arcane Alt sequence on the keypad, but there is an easier way. Type a character—any character—before you type the apostrophe. This fools Word into producing an apostrophe pointing in the proper direction. Now you can go back and delete the extraneous character. Word leaves the proper apostrophe and you can continue typing as desired.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13274) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Using Correct Apostrophes.
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