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Ten ways to select text fast in Microsoft Word

In Microsoft Word, you can use keyboard or mouse shortcuts to select characters, words, lines, paragraphs, and blocks of text faster. Here are ten different selection tricks that Word experts know to speed up their work.

Select a Sentence

Highlight an entire sentence in Word by simply holding down the Ctrl key, or the Command key on a Mac, and clicking anywhere in the sentence.

Select a Line

To select just a line, click on the left margin next to the start of the line or click at the beginning of the line and press Shift + Down.

Select a Word

Two quick options.

  • Select a single word by quickly double clicking that word or
  • Click the mouse where you would like to start the selection and press Ctrl + Shift + right arrow or Ctrl + Shift + left arrow.

Select a Paragraph

Three choices:

  • Select the whole paragraph by quickly triple clicking within that paragraph, or
  • Double click on the left margin next to the paragraph or
  • Click at the start of the paragraph and press Shift + Down arrow.

Select All Text

Select All Text by clicking anywhere in the paragraph and pressing Ctrl + A or triple click on the left margin.

Ctrl + A (Select All) works in most programs to select everything in the current page, text box etc.

Select Text from here to there

By holding down the “Shift” key and pressing the “Page Up” button or the “Page Down” button, you can select the text from wherever your cursor is to one screen up or one screen down.

Other arrow keys work to narrow down the selection.

Select separate blocks of text

A Word selection does NOT have to be a continuous block of text.  It’s possible to select separate (discontinuous) elements to copy or cut as one clipboard item

Hold down the Ctrl (Mac: Command) key


If you’re trying everything to get the above clicking shortcuts to work, and for some reason can’t get it working, it’s best to double-check the options in Word. Select File | Options | Advanced

Ensure that the box When selecting, automatically select entire word has been ticked, if it has not been selected you will be unable to use any of the quick click shortcuts.

Keyboard shortcuts for the Office Selection Pane
Fast Word shortcuts for increase/decrease font size

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