June 04, 2014

How to Find Straight Quotes and Apostrophes in Word 2010

Did you ever wish you could hunt down those pesky straight quotation marks and apostrophes in a Word document without using AutoFormat (whose "smart quotes" feature sometimes curls the marks the wrong direction)?

Did you try looking for them using Unicode values, only to discover the Find tool in Word 2010 doesn't recognize Unicode? Frustrating, right?

But don't worry, you can find straight quotes and apostrophes in Word 2010 if you use ASCII codes in the "Find what" field in the Find dialog box. It works in the Navigation Pane, too.

Here's how to find the ASCII codes:
  1. Open the Insert Symbol dialog box. Select the symbol you want to find (in the picture below, you can see that I've selected the straight apostrophe, which is in my list of recently used symbols).
  2. In the "from" box, choose "ASCII (decimal)"; this is where the right-hand red arrow is pointing.
  3. In the "Character code" you'll see a code; this is where the left-hand arrow is pointing.
  4. In either the Navigation Pane or the Find dialog box, type a caret (this is a caret: ^). Then type the ASCII code for your character.
For example, to find straight apostrophes in Word, you'd type: ^39

(Period omitted from the previous sentence for clarity.)

Yes, it's as quick and easy as that! You use ^34 to find straight double quotes.

Additional references:
Word Banter forum post on finding unicode/ASCII characters in Word
Graham Mayor on using wildcards in Word (not necessary to find straight apostrophes/quotes but fascinating nonetheless)
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