Pull Quote

Adding a pull quote to your story or article is another way of breaking up the information into smaller chunks for your reader to comprehend the story more easily. Typographically, the pull quote should be treated as one of the several elements within the overall visual hierarchy of the page and appear to in order between the heading/title and the main text treatments.

In the example below the overall layout is on a 3-column grid. The story only goes over the middle and right-hand columns, while the first column remains empty except when there is a pull quote. When there is a pull quote, it starts from the left edge of the first column and extends to where the story warps around it in the middle column. This example uses settings that make the pull quote flush right and therefor easier to create a wrap on that side.

Notice how the Pull Quote paragraph style settings are set so that the point size and leading make the pull quote text relate to the baseline grid of the document.

Also, notice how the offset settings of the the text wrap have been adjusted so that the story wraps evenly around the pull quote.

A final refinement is adjusting the quotation marks so they fall sightly outside the vertical alignment. In this case, that is below the letter “n” above it since it is Flush Right aligned. This is called “Hanging Roman Punctuation” or simply “Hanging Quotes”. It is accomplished through the “Story” window “Optical Margin Adjustment” Settings. This window is found in two locations. One is located underneath “Window”>>“Type and Tables” or an alternative location is underneath “Type”. Both from the menu bar.Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 8.27.20 PM

Be sure you are actually making quotation marks and not ditto or inch marks. Correct typographers quotes are sometime referred to as “curly” quotes because they look like the ones surrounding the word “curly” when using a serif typeface. When using a sans-serif typeface the correct marks are slanted. In either case, they are NOT straight vertical lines. Those are either ditto marks or inch marks.

You can create them on the MAC from the keyboard by pressing the option + open bracket for the open quote or shift + Option + bracket for the close quote. In addition, the option + close bracket = the open single quote and the shift + option + close bracket = the correct apostrophe and close single quote.

You can also set up your software preferences to automatically use typographers’ quotation marks by checking the Use Typographer’s Quotes box from the Type preferences window.Screen Shot 2018-05-02 at 8.35.56 AM

curly smart quotes

The curly, or smart quote is an elusive character. There are some functional differences between straight and curly quotation marks.

Straight marks


Straight marks were invented for use on typewriters. Due to physical and mechanical constraints, you can only fit so many keys on a typewriter’s keyboard. Using straight quotes instead of curly quotes freed up two slots for other characters on the keyboard, which is why these characters were preferable.

When computers came into the fray, they put these straight marks to good use. Most programming languages require the use of straight marks to indicate string literals (e.g. “Hello world”), so they are still very useful today.


On any typical keyboard, simply press ' for a straight single mark, ditto or foot mark ( ‘ ) and Shift + ' for a straight double mark or inch mark (“).

Curly quotes

Unlike straight marks, curly quotes ( “, ”) are usually more legible in paragraphs and long texts, and match the other characters better. They are more suitable for reading, and should be used when writing documents, articles, blog posts, etc.


It turns out that producing curly quotes on a computer is super easy. I’ve committed these simple shortcuts to memory.


  • Alt + ] produces an opening single curly quote ( )
  • Alt + Shift + ] produces a closing single curly quote ( )
  • Alt + [ produces an opening double curly quote ( )
  • Alt + Shift + [ produces a closing double curly quote ( )


  • Alt + 0145 produces an opening single curly quote ( )
  • Alt + 0146 produces a closing single curly quote ( )
  • Alt + 0147 produces an opening double curly quote ( )
  • Alt + 0148 produces a closing double curly quote ( )

Converting straight marks to curly quotes

Some word processors like Microsoft Word will automatically convert straight marks to curly quotes for you on the fly, as you type. However, if you copy and paste text that includes straight marks into a word processor, it may not always convert the straight marks properly.

To manually convert straight marks to curly quotes within your word processor, simply use the search and replace function to find all instances of the straight single quote ( ‘ ) and replace it with the same character — a straight single quote ( ‘ ). You can do the same for straight double marks ( “ ) too.

I’m not sure why, but it works.

Who cares?

I like to believe that the devil is in the details. These small details in your writing will go consciously unnoticed by most, no doubt. Snobby typographers, bookworms, and other designers and developers will be among the few who may actually notice, and maybe that significant other you dated back in 2016 who majored in creative writing. However, attention to such details affects the meaning of the written word either consciously or subconsciously for all readers.