I'm doing a proofing check of a book prior to submitting to publication and want to make sure it's as neat as possible before doing so.

Recently, I've had to merge two versions of the document - from Pages on iPad to Word on a PC and I need to check that none of the tick marks that appear in the Pages version appear in the Word document, as I need to change them to smart quotes.

Is there a way of searching specifically for a character? I can't find the option in the Search box! Help!

3 Answers 3


You can search for a particular UTF glylph by entering its decimal representation after a carret and a u in the "find" box, when "use wildcards" is not checked.

So, if you want to find U+2018 (the left single quotation mark), you need to first convert the Hexadecimal number 2018 to its decimal equivalent of 8216, and then enter ^u8216 in the "Find" box.

You can follow the directions at http://www.gmayor.com/replace_using_wildcards.htm for converting a hexidecimal number to decimal, or if you have Excel you could just use the HEX2DEC function. If you have a character already, you can copy it into Excel and use the UNICODE function instead.

Be aware that the "find unicode" functionality doesn't work with Word's "use wildcards" option turned on.

In general, if you just want to make sure your quotes are all the right "smart" quotes, you can rely upon Word to automatically convert to and from smart quotes in its find and replace box. The correct common the UTF codes for quotation marks and apostrophes are treated more or less as follows:

  • U+2018 (left single quotation mark) and U+2019 (right single quotation mark) are treated as a simple apostrophe (').
  • U+201C (left double quotation mark) and U+201D (right double quotation mark) are treated as a simple quotation mark (").
  • Both the apostrophe (') and the quotation mark (") are translated automatically based on your current AutoFormat settings.

So, if all you want is to apply the standard autoformat settings, just do a "find and replace" for ' to ' and " to ".

If you want to step through them one at a time, you can usually perform a "search again" in Word by pressing Ctrl + PageDown or Ctrl + PageUp, though you may need to make a minor adjustment.


You can search based on ASCII char codes. ASCII for single quote will be 39

So you search for single quote as ^039

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  • Welcome to Writers. I'm afraid this doesn't really answer the question, but only restates the problem. How do you differentiate between tick marks and apostrophes/single quote marks in the Word search box? Mar 9, 2014 at 20:51
  • 1
    Sorry, I misunderstood the question... You can search based on ascii character codes. i am revising answer above Mar 12, 2014 at 22:29

Word doesn't recognize the difference between tick marks and smart apostrophes in the Find/Replace dialog. Just type the apostrophe character in both fields. As long as the preferences in your document are set to "smarten quotes," it will replace them all with smart apostrophes.

  • Unfortunately, that doesn't cover instances like [’cause] (short for because, which has a single closed smart quote at the start of the abbreviated word), so I really do need to search for just tick marks and have control over the replacement process. Mar 8, 2014 at 11:05
  • @LeonConrad Then you search for [space-apostrophe] first. Mar 8, 2014 at 13:04

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