Changing the Appearance of Quotation Marks in Microsoft Word

Straight vs. curly quotes makes a difference in the final document's appearance

If you use Word to create content that will be used in web-based applications or other electronic formats, you could encounter some formatting issues. If you have trouble with quotation marks, learn how to flip quotation marks in Word to change curly quotes to straight ones, or vice versa.

Instructions in this article apply to Word for Microsoft 365, Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, and Word 2010.

What Are Smart Quotes?

To help you produce documents that look great and behave as expected in other uses, Microsoft loaded Word with smart quotes. This feature automatically changes straight quotation marks to typographer’s quotes as you type.

The curly smart quotation marks curl toward the text they precede and away from the text they follow. While this feature makes for a nice printed document and attractive headlines, it can be troublesome if your work is going to be used electronically, where straight quotation marks are preferred—particularly with computer-code listings.

How to Toggle Smart Quotes On and Off

Decide which type of quotation marks you want in your document before you begin. Toggle smart quotes on or off to control the appearance of all quotations marks that are entered into the document after the change is made.

  1. Select the File tab and choose Options to open the Word Options window.

    Word with the Options button highlighted
  2. Select Proofing.

    Microsoft Word options with the Proofing heading highlighted
  3. Select AutoCorrect Options to open the AutoCorrect dialog box.

    Word options with the AutoCorrect tab highlighted
  4. Select the AutoFormat As You Type tab.

    Autoformat as You Type tab in Word's Proofing settings
  5. In the Replace As You Type section, select or clear the Straight quotes with smart quotes check box to turn smart quotes on or off.

    This setting doesn't affect quotation marks that currently exist in the document.

    Quotation marks options in Word Proofing settings
  6. Select OK to save the changes and close the dialog boxes.

How to Change the Existing Quotation Mark Style

If you've done a considerable amount of work on your document and you want to change the quotation style in the existing portion of the document, use Find and Replace.

This procedure won't work if you haven't set the AutoCorrect setting to correct straight to smart quotes.

This process works for both single and double quotes, although you need to do separate replace operations, selecting the appropriate options for each. Microsoft Word uses your preference for current and future documents until you make a change in the AutoCorrect section.

  1. Press the Ctrl+H shortcut key to open the Find and Replace dialog box.

  2. Enter " in both the Find what and Replace with boxes.

    Find and Replace in Word
  3. Select Replace All to convert all quotation marks in the document to your preferred style.

    Find/Replace in Word with Replace All button highlighted
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