One of the most basic actions that you perform in Word is selecting a part of a document on which you want to perform another action. The actions that you can perform on a selection include copying it to the clipboard for the purpose of copying or moving it to another location, saving it as an AutoText entry, applying specific formatting to it, applying a style to it, or deleting it. Because selecting is such a common action, learning the quickest and easiest ways to select particular parts of a document will surely save you lots of time.
Always keep in mind that, by default, any new text that you type when a block of text is selected will replace the selected text. If this happens accidentally, you can restore the original text by immediately pressing Alt+Backspace or Ctrl+Z.
You can use your mouse alone without the keyboard to select text. For example, double-clicking a word selects the word, triple-clicking a paragraph selects the paragraph, and holding down the mouse button and dragging the mouse across a block of text selects it when you release the mouse button. You can use mouse movements with the Shift key pressed to select any block of text. Similarly, when the Ctrl key is pressed, clicking anywhere in a sentence selects the sentence. In addition, note the highly useful actions that you can perform using the keyboard shortcuts listed in the following table.
|Ctrl+A||Selects all (same as Ctrl+(num)5).|
|Shift+Right||Extends the selection one character to the right.|
|Ctrl+Shift+Right||Extends the selection to the beginning of the next word.|
|Shift+Left||Extends the selection to the previous character.|
|Ctrl+Shift+Left||Extends the selection to the beginning of the current word or the previous word.|
|Shift+Up||Extends the selection up one line.|
|Ctrl+Shift+Up||Extends the selection to the beginning of the paragraph or to the beginning of the previous paragraph.|
|Shift+Down||Extends the selection down one line.|
|Ctrl+Shift+Down||Extends the selection to the beginning of the next paragraph.|
|Shift+Home||Extends the selection to the beginning of the line.|
|Ctrl+Shift+Home||Extends the selection to the beginning of the document.|
|Alt+Shift+Home||Extends the selection to the first cell in the row in a table.|
|Shift+End||Extends the selection to the end of the line.|
|Ctrl+Shift+End||Extends the selection to the end of the document.|
|Alt+Shift+End||Extends the selection to the end of the row in a table.|
|Shift+Page Up||Extends the selection to the previous text screen.|
|Alt+Shift+Page Up||Extends the selection up to the first cell in the column in a table.|
|Alt+Ctrl+Shift+Page Up||Extends the selection to the beginning of the first line on the screen.|
|Shift+Page Down||Extends the selection to the next text screen.|
|Alt+Shift+Page Down||Extends the selection to the end of the column in a table.|
|Alt+Ctrl+Shift+Page Down||Extends the selection to the end of the last line on the screen.|
|Ctrl+(num)5||Selects all (same as Ctrl+A).|
|Alt+(num)5||Selects the entire current table.|
|F8||Extends the selection. To collapse an extended selection, press Esc and move the cursor. For more details about how to use F8, see Using the F8 Key.|
|Shift+F8||Shrinks the selection to the next smaller unit.|
Some users do not want to move their hands away from the keyboard to select text. If you are such a user, the F8 key can be extremely useful to you. Pressing F8 once puts Word in Extend Selection mode, in which you can do the following.
- Use the arrow keys, Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down to expand or contract the selection.
- Press a key for a printable character (letter, number, punctuation mark, etc.) to extend the selection to the next instance of that character. For example, pressing the Period key extends the selection to the end of the current sentence.
- Press Enter to extend the selection to the end of the current paragraph.
- Press F8 again to select the current word if a whole word is not already selected. If a whole word is already selected, pressing F8 selects the entire current sentence if a complete sentence is not already selected. If a complete sentence is already selected, pressing F8 selects the entire current paragraph if a complete paragraph is not already selected. If a complete paragraph is already selected, pressing F8 selects the entire section.
- Use your mouse to extend or contract the selection.
- Extend the selection by searching for specific text, as described in Selecting by Search.
- Format, delete, copy, or cut the selected text. Note that these actions canel Extend Selection mode.
- Pressing Esc to cancel Extend Selection mode.
You can cancel Extend Selection mode by pressing Esc, by formatting the selected text, or by deleting, copying, or cutting the selection.
Sometimes you may want to select a large block of text, for example, to copy it into another file, or to move it to a different location in the same file. Although you can use the standard Windows techniques for selecting a block of text, that is, place your cursor at the beginning of the block, hold down the Shift key and navigate to the end of the block by pressing the appropriate keys or by holding down the left-hand button on your mouse and dragging the end of the selection to the end of the block that you want to select, Word offers you a simple, less error-prone way to complete the selection of your block. If you can locate the end of the block by searching for some unique text or by going to a specified page, section, bookmark, or the like, you can use this easy way to select the entire block from the keyboard.
After you have placed your cursor at the beginning of the block to be selected, to extend you selection, press F8 and then press Ctrl+F (search) or Ctrl+G (go to) to instruct Word to move your cursor to the desired location. To cancel the extending effect of the F8 key, press Esc.
You can also use this method to get a word count for a part of your document, for example, for a chapter, for your footnotes, or for your endnotes. After you select the part of your document, press Shift+Ctrl+G to view the statistics for the selected block.
A selection does not need to be one continuous block of text. For example, to select several nonadjacent words, select the first word and then hold the Ctrl key while you double-click each additional word or while you drag your mouse across each additional word. Similarly, to select several nonadjacent blocks of text, select the first block and then hold the Ctrl key while you drag your mouse across each additional block.