I’m so proud of my discovery that I have to tell the world. I learned how to solve a Microsoft Word problem, no thanks to Word Help or online Q & A’s.
The marks at the left are straight quotes and a straight apostrophe or single quote mark, relics of the typewriter age. A straight apostrophe can never be backwards. But it’s not the mark you expect to see in professionally printed documents.
Sometimes the apostrophe, which is the same as the single quote key, comes out backwards.The backwards apostrophe will appear in contractions like years (graduate of ’12) or slang (get ’em!) if you’ve changed your preferences to smart (curly) quotes. Curly apostrophes will be fine in words like can’t, where the apostrophe is inside a word. But when it comes first, as in contractions of years or other slang usage, the curly quote will be backwards.
I’ve been frustrated by this, because though I’ve used Windows for several years, I used to work exclusive on Macs, and regularly used a keyboard shortcut to type curly quotes and correct, left-curling apostrophes.
You’ve read enough, so here’s the procedure. When typing an apostrophe that comes first in its word, press these keys: Control/FN/and hit the apostrophe key twice. To fix an existing backwards quote, select it, then press Control/FN and hit the apostrophe key twice.
On my HP laptop and my Toshiba laptop, the FN key is to the right of the Control (ctrl) key. On Dell and maybe other keyboards too, use the Windows key that’s to the right of the Ctrl key.
So there you go. Let me know if this procedure does/doesn’t work for you.
UPDATE, 8/7/2013: I now use Word 2013 on a Windows 8 computer, and the above technique does not work. But here’s something easy that does: when you need an apostrophe in front of a word (like class of ’68), type the apostrophe key twice. That will give you both right and left facing quote marks. Then delete the first one! Duh. 🙂
ULTIMATE UPDATE 10/18/2013: EASIEST of all, from the Insert Menu choose Symbol and the punctuation mark you need. Double Duh.