MS Word: Change Smart Curly Quotes to Simple Ones

Microsoft Word by default converts simple quotes into nice looking curly quotes (also known as “smart quotes”). But sometimes we want our plain straight quotes back. We just want to get rid of smart quotes and replace them with plain quotes. Curly quotes look nice both on screen and on paper but they may create hiccups in data-processing work. While plain quotes are easily recognized by other computer applications, smart quotes might not be recognized and create errors.

When caught in such a situation, for the life of you, you just somehow want to get back to straight quotes (it happened with me a week ago –and that it why this post!). MS Word does not provide a simple way to toggle between smart and plain quotes. But thankfully there is a way! Here is how you need to deal with the situation.

MS Office 2007 and above
  • Go to the Office button given in the top-left corner of MS Word (its a colorful spherical button bearing MS Office logo)
  • A menu will appear. Click on Word Options button present in the bottom right corner of the menu
  • A box will appear. Go to Proofing tab
  • Click on AutoCorrect Options button
  • Another box will open. Click on AutoFormat tab
  • Now depending upon what you want, check or uncheck the “Straight quotes” with “smart quotes” check box.
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ALSO LEARN: How to replace line and paragraph breaks

That was for the newer versions of MS Office. but if you’re using older versions of MS Word, here are the steps:

In MS Office XP and below
  • Go to Tools menu and select AutoCorrect
  • A box will come. Click on AutoFormat as you type tab
  • Under Replace as you type section, Now depending upon what you want, check or uncheck the “Straight quotes” with “smart quotes” check box.

This will prevent MS Word from converting simple quotes to smart quotes as you’ll type further.

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If you want to use content from an MS Word document as input for some computer code or program, it is advisable that first you change smart quotes with plain simple quotes. Smart quotes may cause program to work erroneously because most computer codes expect simple quotes. And they are usually not equipped with instructions for finding and processing curly quotes.

I hope this was useful for you. Please let me know if you have any questions about this topic. I will be happy to try and assist. Thank you for using TechWelkin.

1 thought on “MS Word: Change Smart Curly Quotes to Simple Ones”

  1. This does not really explain how to replace nuisance quotes, but how to prevent them.

    To replace existing curly quotes use Find and Replace. Refer to the quote characters by their ASCII code, using the caret prefix.
    Find = ^0147 for open curly quote (“) or
    ^0148 for closing curly quote (”)
    Replace = ^34 for straight double quote (“)

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