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Don't Quote Me On That

Thursday, March 01st, 2001 | 2 comments

Quotation marks are perhaps the most confusing punctuation marks for desktop publishers. More often than not, people simply use vertical prime marks (which are used to indicate inches and feet) and appear on the keyboard. These are not technically correct. If you are using html, however, you'll discover that it translates actual quotation marks into other characters; consequently, using prime marks for indicating quotations is better suited to html coding.

To type proper (curved) quotation marks in Macintosh and Windows, see below:

Left Single Quote - Option-]
Right Single Quote - Shift Option-]
Left Double Quote - Option-[
Right Double Quote - Shift Option-[

Left Single Quote - Alt-0145
Right Single Quote - Alt-0146
Left Double Quote - Alt-0147
Right Double Quote - Alt-0148

Some word processing programs, such as Microsoft Word, will automatically replace prime marks with proper (curved) single or double quotation marks if you want to do this. You may be unaware of this option to replace all "straight quotes" with "smart quotes" (the terms Microsoft uses) because neither of these terms nor "quotation marks" is in the online index. If you use Microsoft Word™, you can find this option under the Tools-AutoCorrect-AutoFormat menus or under the AutoCorrect option underneath the Symbol dialog box. You will no longer be able to obtain prime marks from your keyboard without removing this option. However, if you wish to use prime marks to indicate inches or feet, simply find these characters under the Insert-Symbol menus. (Of course, the proper quotation marks are also in the Symbol dialog box; using it is an alternate method to the directions we have given above.)

Some European languages use Guillemets to indicate quotations. Guillemets confound html even further because they resemble html tags. We tell you how to obtain Euro quotation marks (using North American keyboard layouts) below:

Left Single Guillemet - Shift Option-3
Right Single Guillemet - Shift Option-4
Left Double Guillemet - Option-\
Right Double Guillemet - Shift Option-\

Left Single Guillemet - Alt-0139
Right Single Guillemet - Alt-0155
Left Double Guillemet - Alt-0171
Right Double Guillemet - Alt-0187


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