Word: Selecting text in Word

June 6, 2008

I think most of us can select text using a mouse, and some of us use Ctrl+ other keys too.

But did you know you can get very quick selections of text using the F8 key? If you press F8, the ‘extend’ command is turned on (press Esc to turn it off). In Word 2003, you’ll see ‘EXT’ displayed in the status bar of your document (Word 2007 doesn’t display anything).

Try this in an existing document:

  1. Place the cursor within a word in a paragraph, then press F8 to turn on the ‘extend’ command.
  2. Now, press F8 again. And again. And some more.

See what happens? The first press selects the next letter; the next press selects the whole word; the next, the whole sentence, then the paragraph, then the section, and by the sixth press you’ve selected the whole document!

To shrink the selection, press Shift+F8.

[This article was first published in the June 2005 CyberText Newsletter; steps checked and updated for Word 2007, 21 August 2008]

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