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Sorting out a mix of smart and straight quotes

I recently noticed that quite a few straight quotes and apostrophes have snuck their way into my text, presumably both from originally importing the text and from copypasting sentences from my notetaking app (Evernote). I have smart/curly quotes selected in the settings. Is there an easy way to make sure that all the quotes are of the same type in such a situation?

There isn’t yet a context-sensitive way to replace tick marks with typographical quotes automatically, but it can be done semi-automatically with the following technique. It isn’t exactly fun, but it gets pretty fast once you do a few pages this way.

  1. Use Ctrl-F to open the Find&Replace dialog box. You’re not going to use it for replacing, so you can stay on the Find tab. Enter ’ in the find field. Just the default tick-mark that’s so often used as an apostrophe. Make sure the search scope is ALL, and uncheck all options.

  2. Click the Find Next button. The first tick mark will be highlighted.

  3. Close the Find&Replace dialog box, using the X button at top right. The first tick-mark will remain highlighted.

  4. Type another tick-mark to replace the highlighted one. There’s no need to move the cursor. SEW’s context-sensitive typing logic will insert a correct-facing typographic single quote glyph.

  5. The Find&Replace dialog is closed, but F3 still works to perform a Find Next, and each hit will be highlighted, so now you can just whack F3, tick, F3, tick, until there are no more in the current scene.

The same procedure works for double-quotes. Find&Replace will find the opening or closing double-tick marks (aka “inches”), and when you type another straight double-quotes character SEW will replace the highlighted one with a correct-facing typographical double-quote glyph.

Of course, some care is required for exceptional situations, but 99% of the quotes and single-quotes can be changed pretty mindlessly this way.

Hopefully, your ms is a few long scenes rather than a huge number of short scenes . . . !

I hope this helps.


Thank you, that helps me sort this out for now, at least (even if it is a fair few individual scenes, notes and fragments than I’ll have to do this with). I guess in the future I’ll simply have to be more mindful with copypasting and such to keep these from reappearing?

The Editing punctuation checks is also a good way to verify that you don’t have a mix of straight and smart quotes:

Indeed, the editing punctuation check is what alerted me to this fact, as my eyes had happily glossed over the different types of quotation marks until now.