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How to [un]format the Google Docs "Smart Quotes" italicized quotes

October 1, 2015.Finn.0 Likes.0 Comments
Home/Blog/Google/How to [un]format the Google Docs "Smart Quotes" italicized quotes

Where I first found the answer: I found the answer on StackExchange.com. Someone asked a similar question. Another member posted the pick and the path: Opened Google Docs >>> Menu Bar >>> Tools >>> Preferences… >>> uncheck the damned box. ****. I should have looked that up 5 years ago.

Blogging using Google Docs can be a pain in the ass. Why? Because if you’re running default settings, then in order to use any type of code in your post when writing in Google Docs, you need to find and replace all the quotes and apostrophes in a separate text editor in order to remove the italicized quotes.

Why?

Because

  1. For Links: if you don’t remove those italicized quotes and apostrophes, then any links or code you tried to include in your article, when published in WordPress, links back to the website.

    For example, if you try to link from your article to https://google.com/, it will go to www.natfinn.com/google.com

  2. For code: the code will do anything but what you intended it to do.

Why does Google Docs do that?

Around 5 years ago, Google introduced the “smart quotes” feature. While it made marketers’ documents marginally better-looking, it SNAFUed everything developers, coders, and programmers try to do.

Why do “smart quotes,” SNAFU up code?

Great question. Smart quotes, when used in coding / development / programming, are typically perceived as different characters from standard quotes and apostrophes. Here’s your first hint: there’s no “smart quotes” button by default on your keyboard.

As my buddy Bruer tells me:

“If you cannot type it on a standard english keyboard you should never use it in code unless it’s for string localization.”

That’s all I need to know.

The old way I would have to clean code.

For the last 5 years, I’d write in Google Docs because I’d want spell check, grammar check, and format my content. I’d put simple markup characters in my writing so I wouldn’t have to go do it again later. Also, putting in the code helps me to understand how the content is going to look on the webpage.

Then, I’d copy and paste the content in Sublime Text Editor so I could spend the next few minutes finding and replacing all the italicized “smart quotes” and apostrophes.

Then I’d spend a few more minutes testing links and cleaning up what odd, unique code formations kept me from being able to clean out the issues with the find and replace.

Then, I’d be able to finish spell checking and final checks.

Why I finally looked for a better solution

Last night, after finishing campaign optimization and client content writing, I was still trying to stick to my content writing schedule. Late at night, blurry and sleepy, I started editing my post pre-movie viewing book review of The Martian. I opened up a new tab and started to edit the smart quotes in Sublime, then went up to go to the bathroom, came back, and saw that I kept spelling, “Martian” like, “Martin.” So, I fixed the spelling errors, copied them over to another tab in Sublime, cleaned the not-so smart quotes, and started double checking my research.

When I went back to Sublime, somehow, somewhere along the line I switched back to the old tab – probably thinking I was coding and that I was in the backup file – and posted in the content with the misspelling. Then I copied and pasted bits of content from the post into the title, meta, and url permalink without reading. It was late. I wanted to be up in the morning for Coffee with Katie. I quickly scheduled the post and syndication to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google Plus and LinkedIn.

I woke up to a content nightmare.

I wasn’t even looking when one of my groomsmen pointed out via Facebook that I forgot how to spell, “Martian.”

Fuck. So, I had to go back and delete all those updates to all those social media pages and accounts.

It was finally time to find the solution.

We actually anticipated this in BiziPorts

Our WYSIWYG editor – BiziWYG – actually catches the smart quotes and treats them as quotes, but I haven’t yet found a solution for it in WordPress.

How did I do?

Right now, my blogging time has been cut in half. But if someone’s got a quicker idea, I’m all ears.

Categories: Google, Google Docs
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