3. Efficiently Selecting Text

 
Subtitles Enabled

Sign up for a free trial to access more free content.

Free trial

Overview

There are a number of methods for selecting text. Many of them are far easier and more efficient than simply dragging with the mouse. In this lesson, we’ll show you text selection methods using both the keyboard and the mouse.

Lesson Notes

Lesson Goal

Use a variety of methods to select text.

Selecting text with a mouse or trackpad

Prioritize the use of clicks to select text

  • Double click to select a word
  • Triple click to select a paragraph

To drag click, move the cursor to the start of the desired selection and hold down the click button. Then drag the cursor to the end of the desired selection and release the click button. Only use this to make very specific selections. For example, if you want to delete one sentence in a whole paragraph, double or triple clicking wouldn’t work; you’d have to drag select it.

Use Ctrl and click to select text elsewhere in the document.

Selecting text with keyboard shortcuts

When in the process of typing, you can save time by selecting text with keyboard shortcuts. This saves you from having to move back and forward from the keyboard and mouse.

Below is a list of keyboard shortcuts for selecting text:

Shift ←: Select one character to the left

Shift →: Select one character to the right

Shift Ctrl ←: Select one word to the left

Shift Ctrl →: Select  one word to the right

 

Ctrl Shift ↑: Select all text in between the current cursor position and the beginning of the paragraph

Ctrl Shift ↓: Select all text in between the current cursor position and end of the paragraph

 

Shift Home: Select all text in between the current cursor position and the beginning of the current line

Shift End: Select all text in between the current cursor position and the end of the current line

Ctrl Shift Home: Select all text in between the current cursor position and the beginning of the document

Ctrl Shift End: Select all text in between the current cursor position and the end of the document

Transcript

In the previous lesson we demonstrated how to navigate through a document. In this lesson, we'll expand on this and use a variety of methods to select text.

Selecting text enables us to make changes to specific parts of our document. We can delete or replace selections of text by selecting and typing.

We can also apply formatting to specific selections or move selected text around the document by dragging the selection.

Similar to navigating the document, we can select text with either the mouse or the keyboard. If you're not actively typing you can use the mouse but if you're in the middle of typing you should use the keyboard.

We'll start at page two of the document and use the mouse to select text.

The first selection method is dragging.

This method is a little slower but its the best way to select a very specific set of text. We'll move the mouse to the point we want to select and hold down the left mouse button. We'll then move the mouse to the end of the selection we'd like to highlight and let go.

To select a single word and the space following it we'll simply double-click the desired word.

To select an entire paragraph we'll triple-click any word in the paragraph. Note that this also selects the new paragraph spacing at the end of the paragraph.

Let's look at selection options that use both the mouse and the keyboard.

We'll first select two distinct pieces of text using the control key.

We'll start by selecting a word with the mouse, hold down the control key and select another word elsewhere in the document. The control key allows us to select multiple words or paragraphs at different points in the document.

Let's move on to selecting text with a keyboard.

By using the shift key along with the arrow we can make quick selections.

The main advantage of using the keyboard over the mouse is that it can make more granular selections.

It is far easier to select specific characters with a keyboard than with the mouse.

This is because Microsoft Word automatically selects whole words even when clicking the center of a word.

Let's demonstrate this by placing the cursor in the center of a word.

We'll then hold down the shift key and tap the right arrow three times.

This selects the three characters to the right of the cursor.

We can also select larger portions of text at a time.

By holding shift and control we can use the arrow keys to select entire words at a time.

If we hold shift and press home or end we can select all text from the cursor to the beginning or end of the current line.

Similarly, we can hold shift and tap the page up and page down keys to select pages at a time.

Finally, we can select all text in the document using control and A.

We'll stop the lesson here.

In the next lesson we'll explore the variety of spacings in Word and how we can reveal the different types of spacings by using the formatting marks tool.