Text-Selection Tips for Microsoft Word

Everyone knows you can drag over text to select it in Word, but employing a few other text-selection strategies can help you edit more efficiently. Following are my favorite text-selection tricks:

  • Double-click a word to highlight it, including the space after it.
  • Hold down the Ctrl key while selecting other chunks of text, so you can perform a single operation on all of the selected text. (I often use this technique to make a bunch of words bold or italic – I hold down the Ctrl key while double-clicking each word and then click the Bold button, for example.)
  • Press Ctrl+A to select the entire document.
  • Ctrl+click anywhere inside a sentence to select the entire sentence, along with the space after it.
  • Triple-click anywhere inside a paragraph to select the entire paragraph.
  • Click at the beginning of the section you want to highlight and then scroll down and hold down the Shift key while clicking at the end of the section you want to highlight.
  • Hold down the Alt key while dragging over a column of text. This is very useful for selecting a column of text when the columns are separated by tabs. You can even use this technique to select a column of tabs.
  • Position the insertion point at the beginning or end of the section you want to highlight, and then hold down the Shift key while using the arrow keys to extend the highlight over the section; you can use the left, right, up, down, PgUp, PgDn, Home, or End keys to extend the highlight.
  • Move the mouse pointer to the left of a paragraph (so the pointer appears as an arrow pointing northeast). You can then…
    • Click to the left of a line of text to select it.
    • Click and drag down or up to select multiple lines of text.
    • Double-click to select the paragraph. (You can double-click, hold down on the second click, and drag down to select multiple paragraphs, but this is a tough move to master.)
    • Triple-click to select the entire document.

Meet the Author

Joe Kraynak
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Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Computer Basics.

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