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Text Selection Techniques

 

Introduction

Text selection consists of isolating part of the text of a document, for any reason that is necessary. Why you select text and what you do with the selected text are two completely different issues. This means that text can be selected for any reason. The effect produced while selecting text is also different depending on the application. Also, as always, some applications may provide a feature that is not available in some others.

Text indicates that it is selected when it appears with a different background color than the other characters. It is also said that the text is highlighted. When text is selected, it appears inside of a black or blue background. Actually, the color of the background depends; it is usually the same as the text but it gets the opposite color. For example, when a word in black is selected, it gets white but it gets drawn in a black background.

Here is an example of the letter "a" selected inside of the word "quartiers":

Here is an example of the word "quartiers" selected in a paragraph:

Here is an example of a paragraph selected in a document:

Text is primarily selected using the mouse but you can also use a keyboard or a combination of both.

 

Text Selection Using the Mouse

Using the mouse:

  • To select one character, click to the left (or to the right) of that character, hold your mouse down, drag to the right (or to the left), when the character is highlighted, then release the mouse.
  • To select one word, click to the left (or to the right) of that word, hold your mouse down, drag to the right (or to the left), when the word is highlighted, then release the mouse.
    To select a word, you can also double-click it.
  • To select a group of words, click to the left (or to the right) of that group, hold your mouse down, drag to the right (or to the left), when the group of words is highlighted, then release the mouse. 

In some applications (Microsoft Word, WordPad, Microsoft Works Word Processor, Microsoft FrontPage, etc), to select a line of text, position the mouse to the left of the line. The cursor would point to North-East, then click.

In some application (Microsoft Word, WordPad), to select a whole paragraph, triple-click any word in the paragraph.

 

Practical Learning: Selecting Text Using the Mouse

  1. Start WordPad and type the following:
     
    Leaving Sydney
    When we decided to leave, we knew we were making a hard decision. We had spent so much time this had become our new home. A few weeks or months earlier, we wanted to make Sydney our newly found settlement, a permanent place we could proudly call ours. It appeared that, unpredictably, fate had decided otherwise.

    As the time to leave approached, we gathered what were left as our belongings. We managed to meet, for the last time, our neighbors and every one we had been accustomed to. Everybody wished us all the best.

    Aurhor: Arthur D. Pale
    Titles: Stories of my Life
  2. To select one word in a sentence, in the paragraph that starts with "As the time", click and hold the mouse between d of "gathered" and w of what
  3. Drag in the left direction. When the word gathered is highlighted completely, then release the mouse
     
  4. In the second line, double-click "decision". That selects it
  5. In the first line of the paragraph that starts with "When we decided", position the mouse to the left of much
  6. Click and hold the mouse down
  7. Drag right and down to the right side of the word "found". then release the mouse
     
  8. Press Ctrl + Home

 

Text Selection Using the Keyboard

You can also select text using the keyboard:

  • To select one character, position the caret to the left (or to the right) of the character. Press and hold Shift. Then press the right (or the left) arrow key and release Shift
  • To select one word, position the caret to the left (or to the right) of the word. Press and hold Ctrl and Shift. Then press the right (or the left) arrow key and release Ctrl and Shift
  • To select a group of words, position the caret to the left of the most left word (or to the right of the most right) of the group. Press and hold Ctrl and Shift. Then press the right (or the left) arrow key continuously until all the desired words are highlighted. Then release Ctrl and Shift.
  • To select a line of text, first get the caret to the beginning of the line. Press and hold Shift. Press the down arrow key. Release Shift.

In word processors (not in text editors like Notepad):

  • To select text from the current position of the caret to the end of the paragraph, press and hold Ctrl and Shift, then press the down arrow key
  • To select text from the current position of the caret to the beginning of the paragraph, press and hold Ctrl and Shift, then press the up arrow key
  • To select text from the current position of the caret to the end of the current page, press and hold Ctrl and Shift, then press Page Down
  • To select text from the current position of the caret to the beginning of the current page, press and hold Ctrl and Shift, then press Page Up

To select the whole content of the document, press Ctrl + A (normally, Ctrl + A is a universal shortcut and can be used to select almost any thing that is part of a window, regardless of what those things are).

Practical Learning: Selecting Text Using the Keyboard

  1. The caret should be at the beginning of the document
    Press and hold Shift. Press the right arrow key once. As you see, it selects one letter to the right
  2. While still holding Shift, press the right arrow key twice
  3. Release Shift
  4. Press the Down arrow key and press Home. That positions the cursor to the beginning of the second line
  5. Press and hold Ctrl + Shift, press the Right arrow key once. It selects one word
  6. While still holding Ctrl + Shift, press the right arrow key twice. As you see, this time, pressing the right arrow key selects one word after another
  7. Release Ctrl and Shift
  8. Press the Left arrow key. That positions the caret to the beginning of the paragraph
  9. Press and hold Shift, press the down arrow key, and release all keys. Now the action selects one line of text
  10. Press Ctrl + Home

Text Selection Combining the Mouse and the Keyboard

You can also combine the mouse and the keyboard to select text:

  • To select one character, click to the left (or to the right) of that character. Press and hold Shift. Then click to the right (or to the left) of that character and release Shift.
  • To select one word, click anywhere in that word. Press and hold Shift. Then click the word again and release Shift (this doesn't work everywhere). 
  • To select a group of words, click anywhere in the first (or the last) word of the desired group. Press and hold Shift. Then click anywhere in the last (or the first) word of the group and release Shift.
  • To select a group of words from one part or section of the document to another section of the document, click the word at the beginning (or the end) of the desired group. Press and hold Shift. Then click the last (or the first) word of the desired group. Release Shift.

Practical Learning: Combining the Mouse and the Keyboard to Select Text 

  1. In the paragraph that starts with "When we decided", click the word "knew"

  2. Press and hold Shift

  3. Click "decision" on the same line and release Shift

 
 

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