Selecting Text in Word Documents

Selecting text in Word documents is something you probably do every day. But are you doing it efficiently?

People who work with text a lot—editors, translators, and writers, to name a few—can benefit from selecting text in Word documents without taking six mouse clicks to do it. The reason is because we so often copy and paste.

Of course, before you copy, you have to select your text. In each case below, you can save yourself time and muscle fatigue.

And no, I’m not joking. Repetitive stress injuries are real, and clicking a mouse two or three times more than you need to for every operation can add up quickly. Save the tendons in your fingers, wrists, and arms. Select text the easy way rather than clicking and dragging.

Selecting Text in Word Documents

Selecting a Word

Double-click on the word you want to select. Done.

selecting text in word documents, single word

Selecting Multiple Words

Hold down Ctrl (Cmd for Mac users) and double-click on each word you want to select. Easy, huh?

selecting text in word documents, multiple words

Selecting a Line

Move your cursor to the left of the line you want to select. When it turns into a pointer that points “northeast” (up and to the right), click. Bang!

selecting text in word documents, line

Selecting a Sentence

Hold down Ctrl (Cmd for Mac users), then click on any word in the sentence you want to select. Is your mind blown yet?

selecting text in word documents, sentence

Selecting a Paragraph

Triple-click on any word in the paragraph that you want to select. Believe it.

selecting text in word documents, paragraph

Selecting All Text in the Document

Press Ctrl + A (Cmd + A for Mac users). That’s all, folks.

selecting text in word documents, entire document

Selecting text in Word documents is easy. You just need to know a few tricks.

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(The text in the screen shots above is from this fascinating story about a dying language.)