Basic Toolkit: Smart Quotes after Em-Dashes

If you’re anything like me in your obsessive use of em-dashes, you know the age old problem: wrong smart quotes after em-dashes.

Instead of: —”

You’re stuck with endless autocorrects of: —“

If you’re like me, you probably just added another letter after your em-dash or added the quotes before, and THEN inserted the em-dashes.

Well, be frustrated with smart quotes no longer. A knowledgable writer friend FINALLY show me how to end my wrong smart quote woes tonight. And it’s so easy, too!

Here is what you do if you have a Mac, though I’m sure there is an equivalent for Windows users.

First off, go to your system preferences:


Select Keyboard:


Click on the “Text” tab:


Copy/paste the “wrong” version into replace, then the “right version” (closed instead of open quotation marks) into with. Make sure you check the “Use smart quotes and dashes” box on the right.


And that’s it. Easy, right? Just be sure you repeat this for any computer or device you’re using and you’re good to go.

Also, yes, I totally should have figured out this trick years ago, but somehow it only just now clicked.

Anyway, happy (smart quote frustration-free) writing!

  1. Oo, thank you for this! I realized I can do the same thing in Windows, and I already knew how but had never done so. 😛 Here are the Windows instructions:

    > Open Word
    >> In the main menu (Windows icon in top left corner), open Word Options
    >>> Go to Proofing tab
    >>>> Open AutoCorrect Options
    >>>>> In the AutoCorrect tab, insert the replacements you want it to make


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