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Word: Select a vertical section

March 31, 2020

Here’s a summary of the problem posted on an editors’ Facebook group I belong to: “I’ve been sent a Word doc that has been [converted] from a PDF. As it’s a doc in the editing stages for an academic journal, it still has the line numbers in the left margin. However, when it was [converted] to Word, these numbers are now part of each line individually (and some of them are images rather than text), meaning I can’t highlight them in one swoop and delete them. The idea of having to individually delete 50 numbers [from each of] 38 pages seems *very* untenable.”

Somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, I recall once knowing how to do this—how to select a vertical section in Word and then styling it separately or deleting it. I hunted these blog posts (which are my memory dump), but couldn’t find anything. So I did some testing and found the solution, which is:

  1. Hold down the Alt key.
  2. Use the mouse to click and drag over the section of text you want to delete or restyle.
  3. Once selected, either press Del to delete it, or do something else to restyle it (e.g. make it bold, italics).

And that’s it. Here are a couple of screen shots to show you what this sort of selection looks like—note that you can select ANY part of the text.

Example showing just the first letter of each line selected

Example showing just the first letter of each line selected

Example showing the middle vertical section of a set of paragraphs selected

Example showing the middle vertical section of a set of paragraphs selected

2 comments

  1. That is a dandy tip. Thank you, Rhonda!


  2. Thanks for that Rhondda
    About the best tip I’ve seen in a long while.
    John



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