The Jumping Quotation Mark


The problem occurs when I copy text from another program paste it into Scrivener. The other program is the popular Biblical Studies software called Accordance.

When I copy text using Accordance, it adds the quotation marks and reference information. For example, in Accordance, the text might look like this:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

I copy it in Accordance (using a special copy command that will add quotations and reference info).

Then I paste it into Scrivener. Here is what it looks like then:

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

So far, so good. The problem comes now, when I try to type something in front of the quoted text in Scrivener. When you type something before the quotation mark, the mark “jumps” into the word just typed. This is what it will end up looking like:

T"his is a nice verse In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1)

See how the quotation mark jumps into the first word I typed?

I think this is a Scrivener problem, because when I do the same thing in Pages, the quotation mark doesn’t jump. I wish I could test it with another app that adds quotes in a similar way. Also, this problem didn’t exist in Scrivener 1.

I’m running Scrivener 2.05 on 10.6.7.


Does it happen when you paste into TextEdit (part of OS X)? Testing that might help Keith work out if it is a Scrivener issue or a problem with Apple’s text.

No, it’s not a problem in TextEdit.

Do you have anything installed that interferes with text input, such as TextExpander, TypeIt4Me or suchlike?

I can’t think of anything that would cause anything like this - and you say it happens consistently? Does it only ever happen when you copy from Accordance? I’m wondering if there’s something special about the characters it pastes in. Can you please send us a zipped up project with some text pasted in from Accordance so that we can test this and see the problem for ourselves?


I don’t think I have anything installed that messes with text input.

Yes, only Accordance, but that is the only app I have that adds quotation marks.

And, on closer inspection, it seems that the problem is slightly different than I originally explained.

When I type any characters to the left of the quotation mark, there is about half a second delay and then the cursor actually jumps to the right of the quotation mark. So it’s not the quotation mark jumping left, it’s the cursor jumping right.

If you type “t-h-i-s” very slowly, and there’s enough time between the “t” and the “h” the cursor will jump to the other side of the quotation mark, like below:

T"his is a nice verse In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1)

If you rapidly type a long string of characters with no delay between them, the cursor will hold until you stop, half-second, then it jumps to the right of the quotation mark, like below:

aldfjlasdkjflskadjflkasdjflkjsadflkjsadlkfjsaldjf”In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1)

You can’t see it, but the cursor in my Scrivener project had moved to between the " and the I, whereas it should have stayed between the f and the ".

I think I’ve figured out how to zip up the project. Do I just attach it here, or something else?


At the end of character speech, the quotes (smart quotes) jump.
Cromwell waved the heavy bar. “Lie down. Stay still.”
may be the original. I want to add “And shut your face.” Place the cursor after the full stop after
“Lie down. Stay still.”
Add the words “And shut your face.”
Immediately after typing in the ‘A’ of ‘And’ the cursor jumps ahead of the closing quotes and leaves the sentence looking like this:
"Lie down. Stay still. A"nd shut your face.
Close quote relegated to the wrong place, with a bit of correction to do, especially if you are typing quite quickly and don’t notice it happening.
It doesn’t happen all the time - just when the text has been returned to after doing something else.
Mac Book Pro, retina. New machine, previous machine (G5 iMac) not affected. Font Optima regular 13.
Any ideas gratefully received as this is a bit of a nuisance at times, although I can work round it.

I see this on occasion; I think it’s related to smart quotes, somehow. I think it has something to do with typing fast and adding text before the smart quote replacement is done.

I’m also on a MBPr, in case that matters.

I’m on a MBPro and having a slightly different smart quote issue with Scriv (that I don’t remember having before).

When I type a double-hyphen to give me an en-rule (or em-rule, whichever one it is - the long dash that signals an interruption to speech) Scriv or the text engine consistently fails to close the smart quote properly. eg:

When I type the same sentence in Pages (and manually insert the em dash) it doesn’t do this.

And lastly, I’ve just copied that em dash in from Pages to Scriv, and the same thing happens (so it’s not a font or other issue - it does appear to be whatever post-processing happens after you type in Scriv).

Pages uses a different text system. If you test in TextEdit, you’ll find it works the same (as does Word, for that matter, but uses a different text system again). I long ago developed the habit of typing a “d” (no reason for that particular letter, just a habit) after the hyphen/em-dash before hitting the quotation mark, then getting rid of the “d” afterwards (I developed this habit in Word).

At any rate, this is out of my control as it’s part of OS X’s auto-correction, not Scrivener’s.

All the best,

Ah, ok. Cheers Keith. Now that I think about it, despite years of Scriv usage, I’m a late convert to the technical distinction between an ellipsis and an em-dash - hence not noticing before.

Probably Zeus’ way of persuading me to write British dialogue rather than American…

Dang, another ellipsis. Curses. Foiled again. If it hadn’t been for that pesky auto-correct I’d be a multi-millionaire, Rodders.

Etc etc. Don’t mind me. Nothing to see here. Move along now.

I have the exact same problem as Hugh Morrison above. The right smart quote jumps as I’m inserting text. It happens every time I insert text that involves smart quotes. Not earth-shattering but annoying nonetheless.

Other than that, I can say I’ve always been a no-frills writer who tried other “writing software” and found it lacking. Scrivener, however, is the best I’ve ever used, and I’ve now trash canned my word processor completely.

Thank you.

EDIT: I just wanted to add that after checking, I found that this jumping quote only seems to happen on documents I’ve imported from OpenOffice. Odd. So maybe it has something to do with the conversion process.

What happens if you copy and paste the text into TextEdit - does the same thing happen there?

Thanks, and thanks for the kind words about Scriv, too!

All the best,

This is a really old string, but I am having the same issue ten plus years later.

MacBook Pro, latest OS and Scrivener 3.3.1. My documents were imported from Nisus. Based on my former work, designers told me to keep curly/smart quotes off. So when I bring in a document from Nisus (switched from Word to that because, well, Microsoft) all the dialog has straight quotes.

If I put the cursor after the straight quote and type, it makes no real difference if it’s a close quote. If it’s an open quote, Scriv will turn it curly. But move it. How much it moves depends on how fast I’m typing. This does not happen in Text Edit.

If I put the cursor at the end of the sentence, before the close quote, then it will, upon beginning to type, change the mark to curly, but then leave it where it is when it decided to change it. That depends also upon how fast I type. So the dialog could be:

“That isn’t technology I’ve seen before,” he said.
And if I add something at the end of it, after the punctuation, it will change it to curly.
"That isn’t technology I’ve seen before to"day, he said.

So the system doesn’t react instantly, and I can usually type two or three letters before it changes to curly but then doesn’t move to the right as any other item would.