Pages 3.0: Can’t find text string with curly apostrophe

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Pages
October 3rd, 2007 • 10:27 am

This looks like a big bad bug to me… Try the following.

In Pages, turn on the feature that automatically changes straight quotation marks and apostrophes to curly quotation marks and apostrophes (in the preferences, under “Auto-Correction”).

Then open a new blank document and type the following phrase:

Find Patricia’s friend.

As expected, the apostrophe in this string will automatically be changed by Pages from a straight one to a curly one.

Then double-click on “Patricia’s” to select that particular string and copy it to the Clipboard (command-C).

Then deselect that string and put your cursor back at the top of the document.

Then bring up the Find/Replace dialog box and paste into the “Find” field.

Then press “Next” to start the search for that string.

If your Pages behaves like mine, you’ll get zero results. In other words, if the search string contains a curly apostrophe, Pages wrongly reports that there are no occurrences of the string in the document, even when there are some.

Further investigation reveals that this only affects curly apostrophes. In other words, if your document contains occurrences of “Patricia’s” with a straight apostrophe, and if you try to find occurrences of “Patricia’s” with a straight apostrophe, Pages will find them—although in my opinion even a search for “Patricia’s” with a straight apostrophe should also return the occurrences of “Patricia’s” with a curly apostrophe in the document (but that’s another story).

Even more intriguingly, if you have a Pages document that contains occurrences of both “Patricia’s” with a straight apostrophe and “Patricia’s” with a curly apostrophe, and you do a search for “Patricia’s” with a curly apostrophe, Pages finds… the occurrences of “Patricia’s” with a straight apostrophe!

Clearly there is something very wrong here, and based on other issues that there are with straight and curly apostrophes in the Find/Replace dialog, I would say that Apple’s engineers haven’t bothered to test this aspect of Pages’ search feature at all.

The bottom-line, unfortunately, is that if you use curly apostrophes in your Pages documents (and I would guess that most people do), you simply cannot do any Find/Replace operation that involves strings with curly apostrophes—unless I am missing something obvious here.

3 Responses to “Pages 3.0: Can’t find text string with curly apostrophe”

  1. Paul Ingraham says:

    Oh, dear, that’s a doozy. I just duplicated it here. Thanks for the heads up.

  2. sjk says:

    Interesting discovery. Helped me finally know why NetNewsWire toolbar search strings containing an Apostrophe don’t match when the target character is really a Right Single Quotation Mark (as Character Palette calls it). In that context I’d prefer a search for the former to automatically include the latter, similar what you think Pages should do (c.f. your “another story” remark). I’ll go read your other straight/curly apostrophe posts now that I better understand how something’s amiss with the interchangeably between those characters. Thanks!

  3. Pierre Igot says:

    Glad that other people can confirm the problem :). Don’t forget to submit a bug report to Apple when you get the chance!

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