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  • Writer's pictureJessica Nacovsky

21: Quote Formatting issue with Google Docs & Solution

Updated: Dec 4, 2021

dumb quotes and smart quotes
Dumb (Straight) Quotes and Smart (Curly) Quotes

Howdy! On Google Docs, my preferences are set for curly quotes, yet I looked through my manuscript and found it peppered with both curly and dumb quotes. Why? Apparently, my preferences only matter on the desktop version of Google Docs. On the mobile version, quotes are dumb/straight by default and I see no means of altering that setting.

How I solved the issue:

  1. Copy, paste, and save the file into Microsoft Word.

  2. In Microsoft Word, go to File→ Options→ Proofing → AutoCorrect Options → and double check that “AutoFormat” & “AutoFormat As You Type” both have the “Straight Quotes With Smart Quotes” box checked.

  3. Exit the File menu. Go to Home→ Replace→ and swap " with ", and ' with '. (I didn't have to manually place dumbs into the first box and smarts into the second. One or the other worked for all.) It auto changed all dumbs to smarts.

  4. Save the Word Doc.

  5. Return to Drive, go to settings and check the box for Convert Uploads.

  6. Upload the Word doc. (This worked without screwing up my spacing and kept my file a Google Doc instead of shoving a Word doc onto Drive.)

What did not Work:

In my Google Doc, going from Tools → Preferences → Substitutions, and setting dumb quotes & apostrophes to swap for smart, as it didn't affect the highlighted text.

Copy & pasting from Word to Drive screwed up all the spacing and I couldn't find an easy way to fix the suddenly massive gaps between paragraphs.

Uploading from Word without hitting Convert in Drive Settings first just shoved a Word doc into Drive. It did not create a Google Doc.

I have reported this issue to Google through the Android Play Store and their Support feature in Google Drive and never received a response.

Thanks for stopping by! I put out a new blog post every Monday. Toodles!

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