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  1. #1
    Lounger
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    Pasted apostrophe becomes a ? (XP)

    A major problem we have. We use software at our school to record teacher's report comments on pupils. The comments are written and spell checked in Word then copied and pasted into the software.

    On some computers/laptops the apostrphes appear as question marks (?) . Also on all computors a forced line break (Enter) pastes as, not a line break, but a small box. This limits the comments to, no paragraphs, no bullet points and a request not to use possessive apostrophes.

    The software company tell us it's a Microsoft pasting problem. This September we are having all new computers installed and maybe the apostrophe problem will dissapear, if not I may need to experiment some more with keyboards etc.

    I wonder if anyone knows what the problems are and a solution?

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Pasted apostrophe becomes a ? (XP)

    The problem is that Word is a highly customized word processor, and that the school software probably uses plain text.

    If the user has turned on "Straight quotes with smart quotes" turned on in the AutoFormat as you Type tab of Tools | AutoCorrect Options, an apostrophe will be replaced with a curly quote, and the school software probably doesn't recognize this.
    Also, the manual line break and bullets are specific Word features.

    For the moment, it would be best either to use Word, but forego all fancy formatting, or to use a plain text editor such as Notepad.

  3. #3
    Lounger
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    Re: Pasted apostrophe becomes a ? (XP)

    Hello again Hans, you certainly get around, from Excel to Word, but then I suppose code is code.

    Thanks for the confirmation. It had occured to me to ask people to change, but most are not computer literate and tearing them away from Word and its spellchecker will be difficult.

    As you may have guessed from my Excel questions I am creating a user interface for an Excel generated marksheet/comment writer that will import back to the software. If I can invoke the Excel spellchecker (which you've already advised me on) then I might wean them off of Word onto Notepad. The other way may be to create a Word template, add a macro to paste to notepadbefore it pastes into Excel. Wow my head hurts already.

  4. #4
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Pasted apostrophe becomes a ? (XP)

    Another suggestion in addition to what Hans has said. After doing the spell check, etc. in Word, save the file as a "text only file". Then open that file in NotePad, copy the text from there, and paste that into your software.
    Legare Coleman

  5. #5
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Pasted apostrophe becomes a ? (XP)

    How frequently do the users have to paste in this scenario? If it is one big paste, or several pastes from a document that has been finalized, that implies one set of solutions. On the other hand, if they are copying and pasting many times as they work, that suggests another.

    For the "one or more pastes from a final document" scenario, saving as plain text first seems simplest, and you could supply a macro that saves the document in native form, then clean up curly apostrophes or quotation marks to straight ones, then saves as plain text, then closes the "fixed" document in Word (to prevent destroying the original) and opens the plain text file using the default association for text files (usually Notepad) so that the user can copy and paste from there.

    For the "many pastes here and there" scenario, that's too cumbersome. It would be better to add a special keystroke (maybe Ctrl+Shift+C) to invoke a macro that copies the selected text and uses string manipulation to clean it up before using a DataObject to place it on the clipboard for pasting into the other program. Simple for the user and completely seamless, as long as they use the correct key combination -- and as long as you don't want to preserve rich formatting such as bold, italic, font size, color, etc.

    If the scenario is in between, go with whatever you think will create the least headaches for your users (and, by extension, you), or offer both options to let people work whichever way they prefer.

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