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Quotation Marks in Strings

Quotation Marks in Strings

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Last modified: July 29, 2015

Applies to: Access 2013 Preview

In this article
Include Single Quotation Marks
Include Double Quotation Marks
Include a Variable Representing Quotation Marks

In situations where you must construct strings to be concatenated, you may need to embed a string within another string, or a string variable within a string. Situations in which you might need to nest one string within another include:

  • When specifying criteria for domain aggregate functions .

  • When specifying criteria for the Find methods.

  • When specifying criteria for the Filter or ServerFilter property of a form.

  • When building SQL strings.

In all of these instances, Access must pass a string to the Microsoft Jet database engine. When you specify a criteria argument for a domain aggregate function, for example, Access must evaluate any variables, concatenate them into a string, and then pass the entire string to the Jet database engine.

If you embed a numeric variable, Access evaluates the variable and simply concatenates the value into the string. If the variable is a text string, however, the resulting criteria string will contain a string within a string. A string within a string must be identified by string delimiters. Otherwise, the Jet database engine won't be able to determine which part of the string is the value you want to use.

The string delimiters aren't actually part of the variable itself, but they must be included in the string in the criteria argument. There are three different ways to construct the string in the criteria argument. Each method results in a criteria argument that looks like one of the following examples.

"[LastName] = 'Smith'"

– or –

"[LastName] = ""Smith"""

You should include single quotation marks in the criteria argument in such a way that when the value of the variable is concatenated into the string, it will be enclosed within the single quotation marks. For instance, suppose your criteria argument must contain a string variable called . You could construct the criteria argument as in the following example:

"[LastName] = '" & strName & "'"

When the variable is evaluated and concatenated into the criteria string, the criteria string becomes:

"[LastName] = 'Smith'"
NoteNote

This syntax does not permit the use of apostrophes (') within the value of the variable itself. If the value of the string variable includes an apostrophe, Access generates a run-time error. If your variable may represent values containing apostrophes, consider using one of the other syntax forms discussed in the following sections.

You should include double quotation marks within the criteria argument in such a way so that when the value of the variable is evaluated, it will be enclosed within the quotation marks. Within a string, you must use two sets of double quotation marks to represent a single set of double quotation marks. You could construct the criteria argument as in the following example:

"[LastName] = """ & strName & """"

When the variable is evaluated and concatenated into the criteria argument, each set of two double quotation marks is replaced by one single quotation mark. The criteria argument becomes:

"[LastName] = 'Smith'"

This syntax may appear more complicated than the single quotation mark syntax, but it enables you to embed a string that contains an apostrophe within the criteria argument. It also enables you to nest one or more strings within the embedded string.

You can create a string variable that represents double quotation marks, and concatenate this variable into the criteria argument along with the value of the variable. The ANSI representation for double quotation marks is Chr$(34); you could assign this value to a string variable called . You could then construct the criteria argument as in the following example:

"[LastName] = " & strQuote & strName & strQuote

When the variables are evaluated and concatenated into the criteria argument, the criteria argument becomes:

[LastName] = "Smith"
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