Vertical Selection in Word

Ever need to select a “weird” portion of an MS Word document? I’m talking about a selection that doesn’t follow the usual line by line highlighting the program implements by default.

Maybe you’re looking to copy a vertical column of information from the center of your document, which is a difficult prospect with the usual methods. You could highlight and copy/paste each item on the list individually, but that could take a very long time.

Looking for a way to highlight and copy/paste the list in one move, without taking extra text with you?

Yep, I agree. It could be a handy skill to have. You just never know when it might save the day! So, let’s take a look at the “how to,” shall we? Oh, and by the way, this one works the same for Word 2007 as well.

First, let’s take care of all you mouse lovers out there.

  • What you’ll need to do is place the cursor at one corner of the text to be highlighted and then hold down the Alt key.

  • With the Alt key still depressed, click, hold and drag the mouse pointer over the exact rectangular shape you’re looking to highlight.

  • Once you release the mouse button, it’s back to business as usual for the copy/paste.

Now, while that’s good for the mouse lovers of the group, what about those of you who prefer to use the keyboard as much as possible? Well, I’m happy to report that there is a solution right at your fingertips. Literally!

  • Again, you need to move the cursor to one corner of the text to be highlighted. Once you use the next step, the highlight will be anchored at that location, so be certain you’re located in a corner. If not, you’ll have to start over to get it all highlighted.

  • Now, use the key combination of Ctrl + Shift + F8.

  • That will anchor and activate the highlighting so that you can use the arrow keys to move through the page in any of the four directions. You’ll notice that you’re highlighting a rectangular shape, without highlighting entire lines, when you hit the up or down arrow.

  • When you’ve highlighted the exact area you need, proceed with your usual copy/paste work.

Next question: If you need to start over or cancel this feature, how do you turn it off?

Well, you simply hit the Esc key. That will cancel the function and you’re free to continue as normal!

~ April