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Curly Quotes

I edited my chapters in ProWriting Aid by cutting and pasting from Dabble into PWA. I like to run reports and such. So now when I cut/paste back, my quote marks aren’t the same font as the ones I corrected in PWA. When I export to a mobi or RTF, will the quotes all go to curly? Or will I have to go through and fix them in Dabble? I would think that the quote font would carry over back to Dabble.



Dealing with straight and smart quotation marks is a pain in the royal bottom. This is hugely problematic when copying and pasting between different applications. You’re right in postponing that issue until the end.

In my workflow I write in plain text or in Markdown. When it’s time to improve the typography with smart punctuation I take advantage of a free, open source, cross-platform command line tool called Pandoc:

pandoc infile.txt \
       --to markdown-smart \
       -o outfile.txt

If you feel strongly that Dabble should include a feature to fix quotation marks in a single click then consider asking Jacob to add it to his do list. Personally I’d rather have him work on importing documents into Dabble :smile_cat:


Ugh. What’s the easiest way for me to change those from straight to curly? They started out curly in Dabble, were curly when i cut/pasted into PWA, stayed curly as I had that option turned on and some are and some aren’t now as I cut/pasted back into Dabble. I REALLY don’t want to have to go and fix each and every one. I’m lazy LOL

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The PWA editor does not change curly quotes automatically as Dabble does. So when you do this, you get the straight quotes. I should look at converting quotes when pasting as this is not the first or only time this has been an issue for someone.


Isn’t PWA built into Dabble? Just curious why you would paste from Dabble to PWA?

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Dabble doesn’t have all the reports like PWA has. It only checks grammar & style & spelling. I check for repeats and overused words, that type of stuff. If it does it in Dabble, I don’t know how! And it slows me way down in Dabble. I type fast & it can’t keep up so I have it shut off usually.

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I believe this is an upcoming feature as part of the new pricing tiers.

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Nice! I keep seeing those emails about tiers but haven’t been paying attention. If it’s in Dabble with the full functionality of PWA, will I need PWA too??


Dabble also includes PWA’s ability to detect incorrect use of punctuation. For example it knows how to format quotations, down to the use of smart quotation marks.


If it’s in Dabble with the full functionality of PWA, will I need PWA too??

Hopefully not but we’ll wait and see!

For example it knows how to format quotations, down to the use of smart quotation marks.

This particular feature drives me up the wall some days – I use straight quotation marks in Word because I got sick of having the wrong direction curly quotes on things, and I’m used to Markdown and Code IDEs where straight quotes are the norm.

Not sure is straight quotes over curly is a fiction writing faux pas I’m unaware of – it seems like an easy fix in copyediting if needed by using Word macros, I haven’t really had any editors or publishers that have minded, and I get zero grumbles on straight quotes compared to regular grumbles about my uncooperative curlies.

But Dabble is smart quotes only at the moment, whenever I combine written-elsewhere with written-in-Dabble work the different quotation marks give PWA palpitations and I have to spend a while doing manual curly quote additions. (I stuck a feature request in if anyone else is running into this problem.)

Thanks for the Pandoc link @Johannes_Rexx – going to need to give that a look!


I run into the problem if mixed straight and curly quotation marks all the time with copy and paste from Scrivener. It would be nice if there was an option to “paste and straighten quotation marks” or “paste and make curly all quotation marks” as well as a menu item to do the same throughout the manuscript. Until then we will have to put leverage Mr. Pandoc.

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An import feature would be better at this point! These tedious tasks are time consuming.


Dabble does not provide the full suite of tools the ProWritingAid does, just the spelling and grammar checking. I can look into it to see if it is affordable to add additional tools. That could be nice.

I added to my list of bug fixes to fix quotes on paste to be converted to curlies automatically. I may add a preference to choose straight in the future. Once this is done I will report back here.


Good news folks. v2.0.57 will auto-curly your quotes to match Dabble. There is no preference to keep them straight at this time, but at least they will be consistent within Dabble.

@Tracy_Mason, @Johannes_Rexx, @Emma1, let me know if you have problems with it.

I also added end-of-paragraph trimming to remove extra whitespace on paste at the end of newlines. While I was at it.


WOOHOO! Thanks so much!

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Yes indeed, anything that I now paste into Dabble that has either straight quotes or a mixture of straight and curly quotes converts correctly into curly quotes. Sweet!

Better yet, I removed a few quotation marks to unbalance the pasted text, and somehow Dabble knew which were supposed to be opening quotes and which were supposed to be closing quotes. That is powerful technology!

And Dabble removes on pasting any number of spaces following a paragraph. Sweet!

I did find something unexpected. I pasted some text with two consecutive hyphens and Dabble/PWA wanted to know if I meant an M-dash. That is new to me. Very cool.

Now I had always assumed that two hyphens meant an N-dash and three hyphens meant an M-dash.

@Jacob Question: Do I take it that Dabble converts a pasted hyphen to an N-dash and two hyphens into an M-dash?

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Dabble does not convert hyphens on paste, though I should probably do that as well as the quotes. When typing however, if you type 2 dashes it will convert it to an em dash. I don’t know if en dash is used in novels.

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@Jacob OK so then when Dabble offers to change -- to an M-dash that is ProWritingAid under the hood?

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No, that is Dabble’s auto formatting. “…” turns into ellipsis too.