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How To Type Quotes, Apostrophes, and Primes

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Woman's hands typing on laptop computer
PhotoAlto/Antoine Arraou/PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections/Getty Images
Avoid the look of an amateur by properly using typographer’s quotation marks (curly quotes) and apostrophes and primes in your desktop published documents. Learn how to access the curly quotes and proper apostrophes on a Mac or Windows PC.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Just a few seconds to insert typographer's marks or do a search and replace.

Here's How:

  1. Don't Use the Keyboard Symbols
    Don't use the ' and " (Shift + ') marks on your keyboard for proper quotation marks and apostrophes [ ‘ ’ “ ” ].

  2. Type Curly Single Quotes
    On a Mac, use Option+] and Shift+Option+] for the left (open) and right (closed) single quotes. For Windows, use ALT 0145 and ALT 0146 for the left and right single quotes (hold down the ALT key and type the numbers on the numeric keypad).

  3. Type Curly Double Quotes
    On a Mac, use Option+[ and Shift+Option+[ for the left and right double quotes. For Windows, use ALT 0147 and ALT 0148 for the left and right double quotation marks (curly quotes).

  4. Add Curly Quotes to Web Pages
    In HTML code the characters as & #0145; for ‘ and & #0146; for ’ and & #0147; for “ and & #0148; for ” (ampersand-no space, pound sign, number, semi-colon).

  5. Use Unicode
    Or, use the Unicode numeric entities of & #8216; for ‘ and & #8217; for ’ and & #8220; for “ and & #8221; for ” (ampersand-no space, pound sign, number, semi-colon).

  6. Use the Keyboard Symbols for Measurements
    Called primes, use the upright tick mark ' for feet and minutes and " for inches and seconds as in 1'6" (1 foot, 6 inches) or 30'15" (30 minutes, 15 seconds).

Tips:

  1. Automate the Process
    Many programs offer an option to automatically (as you type or on demand) convert all ' and " marks to typographer’s quotation marks. Use it to speed up the task but be careful about converting primes used to designate measurements.

  2. Get Creative
    Oversized curly quotes can add interest to pull-quotes in your design.

  3. Use the Numeric Keypad
    When using the ALT keystrokes in Windows, use the numeric keypad not the row of numbers above the alphabet and be sure Num Lock is turned ON.

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