Smart quotes can cause a lot of problems when you’re working online. This tutorial will show you how to quickly turn them off in OS X so you don’t have to go back and fix them later.

If you’ve never heard of smart quotes before, they’re the kind of quotes that “curl” in towards your text. If you use Microsoft Word, you’ve probably seen these beforeā€”a lot of word-processing programs insert them into your text. However, using smart quotes in online text (if you’re posting a blog, for example) can cause some problems due to different ways of encoding text in different programs.

This happens a lot if you type something in Word or another desktop word processor and copy and paste it into your browser. Usually this means that you (or your editor!) will have to go back later and remove them, which takes time.

To preempt this problem and save yourself the time of going back to edit, you can use straight quotes (like the ones you see in this article) by default. Turning smart quotes off on your Mac is quite easy. Just open up System Preferences from the Apple menu and click on the Keyboard icon.

In the Keyboard window, click on the Text tab in the bar across the top. Once the Text tab is open, just un-check “Use smart quotes and dashes” (it’s the checkbox near the middle of the window).

That’s all there is to it! If you ever want to re-enable smart quotes, just follow the same procedure, but make sure that this option is checked.

~ Dann