When we showed you how to master highlighting text with your mouse, commenters were quick to point out keyboard alternatives. Considering keyboard shortcuts are our first and only serious love, here’s a few handy ways to select text without leaving the keyboard.
Photo by liveandrock.
The battle between keyboard lovers and mouse lovers may never end (it’s a personal thing), so we here at Lifehacker like to give equal time to both sides. (Okay, let’s be honest—keyboard shortcuts generally get more than their share of time over the mouse.) If you felt left out by our previous text selection tips for mousers, let us make it up to you with the following keyboard-centric text-selection tips.
Universal Key Combinations
These key combinations should work in most every application:
- Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right arrow: Select text by whole words. (Swap Alt/Option with Ctrl for Mac users.)
- Shift+Up/Down arrow: Select text by entire lines
- Shift+Page Up/Page Down: Select one screen’s height of text
- Shift+Home/End: Select all the text from the current caret position to the beginning or end of the current line. (Mac users, try Cmd+Shift+Left/Right arrow.)
- Ctrl+Shift+Home/End: Select all the text from the current caret position to the beginning or end of the document. (Mac users, Cmd+Shift+Up/Down arrow should do the trick.)
- Ctrl+A: Select the entire document (Swap Cmd with Ctrl if you’re on a Mac.)
Microsoft Word Specific
Once again, Word shines when it comes to text selection, offering more than just the standard key combinations:
- Ctrl+Shift+Up/Down arrow: Select text by paragraphs. (Cmd+Shift+Up/Down arrow on Mac.)
- Ctlr+Shift+F8: Begin selecting a rectangular block of text—use the arrow keys to size the rectangle; cut, copy, or press Esc to exit this selection mode. (Does not seem to work on Mac.)
- F8: Press repeatedly to expand the selection from the current word to the current sentence, then the current paragraph, and finally the whole document (Shift+F8 will shrink the selection); cut, copy, or press Esc to exit this selection mode. (Does not work on Mac.)
Share your own keyboard tricks in the comments.