Select text

In Word 2010, you can select text or items in a table by using the mouse or the keyboard. You can also select text or items that are in different places. For example, you can select a paragraph on one page and a sentence on a different page.

What do you want to do?


Select text by using the mouse

Select text in the body of a document

 Note   To select an entire document, do one of the following:

  • On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click Select, and then click Select All.
  • Move the pointer to the left of any text until it turns into a right-pointing arrow, and then triple-click.
To select Do this
Any amount of text Click where you want to begin the selection, hold down the left mouse button, and then drag the pointer over the text that you want to select.
A word Double-click anywhere in the word.
A line of text Move the pointer to the left of the line until it changes to a right-pointing arrow, and then click.
A sentence Hold down CTRL, and then click anywhere in the sentence.
A paragraph Triple-click anywhere in the paragraph.
Multiple paragraphs Move the pointer to the left of the first paragraph until it changes to a right-pointing arrow, and then press and hold down the left mouse button while you drag the pointer up or down.
A large block of text Click at the start of the selection, scroll to the end of the selection, and then hold down SHIFT while you click where you want the selection to end.
An entire document Move the pointer to the left of any text until it changes to a right-pointing arrow, and then triple-click.
Headers and footers In Print Layout view (Print Layout view: A view of a document or other object as it will appear when you print it. For example, items such as headers, footnotes, columns, and text boxes appear in their actual positions.), double-click the dimmed header or footer text. Move the pointer to the left of the header or footer until it changes to a right-pointing arrow, and then click.
Footnotes and endnotes Click the footnote or endnote text, move the pointer to the left of the text until it changes to a right-pointing arrow, and then click.
A vertical block of text Hold down ALT while you drag the pointer over the text.
A text box or frame Move the pointer over the border of the frame or text box until the pointer becomes a four-headed arrow, and then click.

Select items in a table

To select Do this
The contents of a cell

Click in the cell. Under Table Tools, click the Layout tab. In the Table group, click Select, and then click Select Cell.

The contents of a row

Click in the row. Under Table Tools, click the Layout tab. In the Table group, click Select, and then click Select Row.

The contents of a column

Click in the column. Under Table Tools, click the Layout tab. In the Table group, click Select, and then click Select Column.

The contents of multiple cells, rows, or columns Click in a cell, a row, or a column and then hold the left mouse button down while you drag across all of the cells, rows, or columns that contain the content that you want to select. To select the contents of cells, rows, or columns that are not next to each other, click in the first cell, row, or column, press CTRL, and then click the additional cells, rows, or columns that contain the content that you want to select.
The contents of an entire table

Click in the table. Under Table Tools, click the Layout tab. In the Table group, click Select, and then click Select Table.

Select text in different places

You can select text or items in a table that are not next to each other. For example, you can select a paragraph on one page and a sentence on a different page.

  1. Select some text or an item in a table.
  2. Hold down CTRL while you select any additional text or item in a table that you want.

Select text in Outline view

To view your document in Outline view, click the View tab, and then click Outline in the Document Views group.

To select Move the pointer to
A heading The left of the heading until it changes to a right-pointing arrow, and then click.
A heading, its subheading, and body text The left of the heading until it changes to a right-pointing arrow, and then double-click.
A paragraph of body text The left of the paragraph until it changes to a right-pointing arrow, and then click.
Multiple headings or paragraphs of body text The left of the text until it changes to a right-pointing arrow, and then drag up or down.

 Notes 

  • In Outline view, clicking once to the left of a paragraph selects the entire paragraph instead of a single line.
  • If you select a heading that includes collapsed subordinate text, the collapsed text is also selected (even though it is not visible). Any changes that you make to the heading — such as moving, copying, or deleting it — also affect the collapsed text.

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Select text by using the keyboard

Select text in the body of a document

 Note   To select an entire document, press CTRL+A.

To select Do this
One character to the right Press SHIFT+RIGHT ARROW.
One character to the left Press SHIFT+LEFT ARROW.
A word from its beginning to its end Place the insertion point at the beginning of the word, and then press CTRL+SHIFT+RIGHT ARROW.
A word from its end to its beginning Move the pointer to the end of the word, and then press CTRL+SHIFT+LEFT ARROW.
A line from its beginning to its end Press HOME, and then press SHIFT+END.
A line from its end to its beginning Press END, and then press SHIFT+HOME.
One line down Press END, and then press SHIFT+DOWN ARROW.
One line up Press HOME, and then press SHIFT+UP ARROW.
A paragraph from its beginning to its end Move the pointer to the beginning of the paragraph, and then press CTRL+SHIFT+DOWN ARROW.
A paragraph from its end to its beginning Move the pointer to the end of the paragraph, and then press CTRL+SHIFT+UP ARROW.
A document from its end to its beginning Move the pointer to the end of the document, and then press CTRL+SHIFT+HOME.
A document from its beginning to its end Move the pointer to the beginning of the document, and then press CTRL+SHIFT+END.
From the beginning of a window to its end Move the pointer to the beginning of the window, and then press ALT+CTRL+SHIFT+PAGE DOWN.
The entire document Press CTRL+A.
A vertical block of text Press CTRL+SHIFT+F8, and then use the arrow keys. Press ESC to turn off the selection mode.
The nearest character Press F8 to turn on selection mode, and then press LEFT ARROW or RIGHT ARROW; press ESC to turn off the selection mode.
A word, a sentence, a paragraph, or a document Press F8 to turn on selection mode, and then press F8 once to select a word, twice to select a sentence, three times to select a paragraph, or four times to select the document. Press ESC to turn off the selection mode.

Select items in a table

To select Do this
The contents of the cell to the right Press TAB.
The contents of the cell to the left Press SHIFT+TAB.
The contents of adjacent cells Hold down SHIFT while you press the appropriate arrow key repeatedly until you have selected the contents of all of the cells that you want.
The contents of a column Click in the column's top or bottom cell. Hold down SHIFT while you press the UP ARROW or DOWN ARROW key repeatedly until you have selected the contents of the column.
The contents of an entire table Click in the table, and then press ALT+5 on the numeric keypad (with NUM LOCK off).

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Stop selecting the entire word

  1. Click the File tab, and then click Options.
  2. Click Advanced.
  3. Under Editing options, clear the check box next to When selecting, automatically select entire word.

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Applies to:
Word 2010