selecting text

blocks of text

Have you noticed how the text selection facility in Word tries to predict what it is you want to select? As you are selecting the text, the selection will often jump to the end of the last word currently in the selection, and for the most part this is very effective.

There are other times when you need to be more exact, and for this you will probably have to use a text selection function. For example, what would normally happen if you start selecting a piece of text in the middle of a word and stop in the middle of another word? You will often find that Word will guess that you also wish to include the beginning few letters of the first word and the end few letters of the last word in the selection, even though these weren't explicitly selected.

Holding down CTRL-SHIFT and then selecting your text will bypass the automatic word selection feature in Word and will select the text precisely to the nearest character.

If you need to select a large amount of text across a number of pages, there is a quick and precise way to do it that doesn't involve the unwieldy dragging method. Start by moving the cursor to where you want the selection to begin. Now scroll down to the place where you want the selection to end, hold down the SHIFT key and click where you want the selection to end. The text between the two points will now be selected.

If you have already selected a portion of text and realize that you have selected too much, hold down the SHIFT key and click on the point where you want the selection to end. The unwanted text will not be selected any longer, while the rest of the selection will remain.

But wait - there's more! Simply holding down the CTRL key and clicking on a word will highlight the entire sentence that the word is in.

Hold down the CTRL key and make any number of additional text selections, even if they are not adjacent to your original selection.

So far we've looked at selecting words, lines, sentences, paragraphs and pages, but how on earth would you go about selecting columns of characters? Just hold down the ALT key and start dragging open a selection rectangle until you have covered the number of columns and lines you wish to select. It's easy to do if you know the right function!

right-click text drag menu

So what can you do in Word after selecting a chunk of text? Often you want to move the text by cutting, copying, or dragging it to a new position. Whilst these more mundane functions are intuitive to most Word users, did you know that you can right-click the selected text and drag it to a new location while holding the RIGHT mouse button?

Doing this will cause a pop-up menu to appear where you let go of the right mouse button, and includes options to: "Copy here", "Cut here", "Link here" and "Create Hyperlink here".

While the copy and cut functions are self explanatory, the lesser known "Link here" function allows you to copy pieces of commonly used text to other parts of a document. Then if the text needs to be changed, it can be changed in the first place, and all subsequent copies of that text can be updated by selecting them and pressing the F9 key. This is a simple version of the powerful Bookmark function in Word.

Finally, the "Create Hyperlink here" function will make a link out of the text you have copied. To actually give the link destination after it is clicked, right click the newly created link and choose "Edit hyperlink" from the pop-up menu. In the resulting dialog box, you can specify the URL or local address in the address bar and click OK.