How to Use Pull Quotes

Draw your readers into an article with pull quotes

pull-quote set in intalic type
Pull-quote set in italic type.

A pull quote is a small selection of text in an article or a book pulled out and quoted in a different format. Used to attract attention, especially in long articles, a pull quote may be framed by rules, placed within the article, span multiple columns, or be placed in an empty column near the article. Pull quotes provide a teaser that entices the reader into the story.

How to Use Pull Quotes

When selecting and formatting pull quotes, keep a few best practices in mind.

  • Choose appropriate snippets for pull quotes. The role of pull quotes is to not only quote the text but also to use text that pulls the reader into the article. Select dramatic, thought-provoking, or enticing excerpts to use as pull quotes.
  • Keep pull quotes brief and to the point. Make the pull quote a quick bite of information—a teaser. Don't give away too much of the story in a pull quote. Include only a single thought or theme in each quote.
  • Keep pull quotes visually short. Keep the length of pull quotes to no more than five lines. Pull quotes that are long are hard to read and harder to make attractive. Try editing the number of words or using a smaller font.
  • Make pull quotes stand apart from accompanying text. Set the pull quote apart by using a different typeface, setting it off by rules or in a shaded box. Try using oversized quotation marks or aligning it to the right or having it cross two columns of text.
  • Do not place the pull quote too close to the text quoted. Placing a pull quote too close to the spot where it appears in the article (such as immediately before or after it) can cause the reader to see double when reading the text.
  • Be consistent in the style used for pull quotes. Use the same fonts, font size, graphic elements, and color for all pull quotes in an article.
  • Keep pull quotes away from competing design elements. Don't place a pull quote too close to the top of the page or where it will compete with headlines, subheadings, or other graphics on the page.
  • Keep adequate space between pull quotes and adjoining text. Fine-tune the space between the body text and the pull quote by adjusting the text wrap.
  • Use hanging punctuation with pull quotes. Hanging punctuation creates the illusion of a uniform edge for the text, with the punctuation outside the margins. It makes the pull quote look orderly.

Pull Quote Trivia

Pull quotes have other names. Pull quotes are sometimes referred to as callouts, but not all callouts are pull quotes.

Pull quotes guide the reader. Other teasers or visual signposts that draw readers into an article include kickers or eyebrows, decks, and subheads.