How Apple’s Change to Smart Quotes Messed Up My Database and How I Fixed It

Apple systemically enables smart quotes and inadvertently messes things up for me
Apple systemically enables smart quotes and inadvertently messes things up for me
I send out a periodic newsletter via USPS mail and use the built-in Apple Address Book on my MacBook and iPhone to store the addresses.  I need to be able to edit addresses at any time and often I’ll run into someone who I want to add to the list while I’m out and about so I want to be able to update them directly with my iPhone.  It has worked pretty good now that Apple has iCloud working better.

How Apple’s Change to Smart Quotes Messed Up My Database and How I Fixed It

I used phrases in the note field to enable me to organize them easily using Smart Groups that look for the particular phrases in the note.
Smart Groups in the File Menu

 

Whether it is a smart quote or not makes all the difference in the world now

That all worked great until Apple systemically enabled smart quotes in Mavericks OS 10.9.  I had created my Smart Group rules pre-smart quotes and then when I added new contacts and also the tag phrases to my new contacts they received the “smart quotes” and therefore did not show up in the groups like they should.  This caused me to accidentally omit about 30 people from my year-end newsletters–NOT GOOD.  There are different ways you can correct this problem.  I searched a bit for a good search and replace App for Address Book but didn’t find anything that looked like a good long-term solution.  I read where people were exporting their entire address book as a vCard and then would edit it in a text editor and use the search and replace functionality of the text editor there but I didn’t want to do that with my 3,000+ contact address book.  You can disable smart quotes globally in OS X by going to:

System Preferences > Keyboard > Text > Uncheck “Use smart quotes and dashes”

System Preferences > Keyboard

 

System Preferences > Keyboard > Text > Uncheck “Use smart quotes and dashes”

I ended up deciding to eliminate quotes (or better, apostrophes) from my database tags so that this won’t be an issue at all.  I don’t want to have to think about this anymore!  I now tag them with no apostrophe.  If you are a programmer this “feature” can really mess you up so you likely want to disable the system-wide replacement of quotes with smart quotes.

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