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Here’s how you can master the art of text selection on Windows

Clicking and dragging using the mouse to select text may be easy to get started with, but there are neater ways to do it. Try using these shortcuts to up your text selection game on Windows.

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There are two types of people in this world. The first — and this is most of us — use only their mouse to select text because it’s the simpler way. Clicking on any part of a document, holding down and dragging, and lifting the finger when it’s done is a no-brainer. But the easy way may not necessarily be the best way to do something.

Enter the second type — the elite club — who’ve mastered using the keyboard and the mouse together in perfect harmony for selecting text. The methods they use may have a bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of them, you’ll handle text faster, more accurately, and more efficiently. You’ll even look cooler doing it. Joining this club is easy — just start using the shortcuts given below.

Select an entire document

This one’s actually quite common. Click in the document and then press Ctrl + A to select the entire thing, text and images included. You can then hit Ctrl + X to cut or Ctrl + C to copy the selected content.

Select parts of a document using keyboard

By Letter:  Place the cursor where you wish to start the selection from and press Shift + right arrow or Shift + left arrow.

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By Word: Place the cursor where you wish to start the selection from and press Ctrl + Shift + right arrow or Ctrl + Shift + left arrow.

By line: Place the cursor accordingly and press Shift + down arrow or Shift + Up arrow.

By paragraph: Place the cursor and press Ctrl + Shift + down arrow or Ctrl + Shift + Up arrow.


Select parts of a document using mouse

While the keyboard can help you make more granular selections, the mouse isn’t all dull. The number of times you click on a part of your document using the mouse determines whether you select a word, sentence, or a paragraph.

Double-click on a word to select it immediately. Triple-click any part of the document to select a sentence or a paragraph.

Select specific parts of a document using mouse and keyboard

Say you wish to copy specific important parts of a document and paste it into another to read later. For that, you can select and copy a particular section, paste it into the second document, and repeat the process until you’ve covered all the important bits. But that can be a bit tedious.

Selecting separate parts of a document using the Ctrl key and a mouse (Express photo)

The smarter way to do this would be using both mouse and keyboard:

1. Using the classic click-and-drag-to-select method (by mouse), highlight any part of a document

2. Hold down Ctrl

3. Scroll around and select a wholly separate section while keeping Ctrl pressed

4. You’ll note that both sections remain selected. Do as you please with your selection

Keep in mind that this is a “high risk-high reward” method. While it does save some time, you’d have to start over if you accidentally tried to select without holding down Ctrl, because that’d undo all other selections. Also note that this may not work on all apps.


Select until the beginning/end of the line

To select from where your cursor’s currently positioned to the end of the line, press Shift + End. Similarly, to select from the cursor to the beginning of the line, press Shift + Home.

Select blocks of text using Shift

This one’s probably the coolest way to select larger chunks of text. Position the cursor where you want to start the selection from, scroll to the part of the document where you want to end the selection, and use Shift + right-click.

First published on: 09-12-2022 at 17:03 IST
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