What About Curly Quotes vs. Straight Quotes? Does it really matter if you use straight quotes (“)?
Curly quotes (“ ”), also known as “smart quotes” are used in good typography. Straight quotes are plain ASCII characters and are not confusing to web browsers and email servers.
In Microsoft, straight quotes can be changed to curly (or ‘smart’ quotes) automatically. If you use the free Open Document Text or Google Sheets programs, the quotation marks are straight. Many other word processing programs do the same thing.
Does it matter which you use? Only if you want to publish a digital book. KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) requires curly or ‘smart’ quotes. Turn on this feature in your Microsoft Word program to automatically turn your straight quotes into curly quotes.
- Go to File/Options/Proofing.
- Click on the “AutoCorrect Options” button.
- From the drop-down menu, select the AutoFormat tab.
- Check the box under “Replace” for “Straight quotes” with “smart quotes.”
What? You already have a whole manuscript full of straight quotes? No worries. You don’t have to search through the whole thing and replace them all (like I once did).
Sometimes you learn there’s a better and easier way. Perform a find and replace to change all of them at once!
- Go to your document and find a straight quote.
- Copy it by highlighting it, and pressing Ctrl C (or right click/copy).
- Press Ctrl H to get the find and replace tool.
- Paste the straight quote in the “search” field with Ctrl V (or right click/paste).
- In the replace field, simply type a quotation mark. (You can also copy/paste a curly quote if you’re not sure it will work).
- Click on “Replace all” and see how fine it works!