MS Word

Replace Dumb Quotes with Smart Quotes

The Problem:

Our reps are supposed to send me their reports as Word documents attached to email messages, but of course what most of them do is just type the reports directly in email. Some of the reports are so short, I'm sure they're at the beach (or bar, or both) on their BlackBerries. Anyway, I can copy the text from the emails into Word, but I need to smarten up the straight quotes in the emails. And boy, do they use a lot of those quotes!

The Solution:

Provided that you've got the "'Straight quotes' with 'smart quotes'" box on the AutoFormat As You Type tab of the AutoCorrect dialog box (Tools » AutoCorrect) selected, you can change all these quotes quickly using Replace. Copy all the text into your document, choose Edit » Replace (or press Ctrl+H), and run two replace operations. In the first, replace " with ". In the second, replace ' with '. Word will automatically put in the smart quotes for you.

Strip Blank Paragraphs from a Document

The Problem:

Two hard returns after each paragraph, three hard returns after each heading, and four hard returns before a heading...will someone please tell my colleagues, many happy returns, but the typewriter is dead? I know I'm wasting time by telling them about styles, but if only they'd cut down on thumping the Enter key so many times, I'd be a far happier camper.

The Solution:

Relax, you can fix this easily enough. Choose Edit » Replace, type ^p^p in the "Find what" box and ^p in the "Replace with" box, and click the Replace All button. When Word tells you how many replacements it has made, click the OK button, and then click the Replace All button again. That should take care of the problem: the first pass reduces each set of four hard returns to two, each set of three hard returns to two, and each set of two hard returns to one. The second reduces each remaining set of two hard returns to one.

by BrainBellupdated
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