Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Automatically Selecting Words.

Automatically Selecting Words

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 2, 2022)

When you are editing your document, there are many times that Word tries to guess what you are doing and then complete your task for you. This helpfulness can be aggravating at times. One such instance is when you are trying to use the mouse to select text from the middle of one word to the middle of another. Whenever you click inside a word and then start dragging the mouse, Word assumes you want to make a selection. As soon as you move the mouse pointer outside the word, the program assumes you wanted to select the entire first word in which you originally clicked.

If you want to ensure that Word doesn't make that assumption, you need to follow these steps to turn off the offending feature:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or a later version, click the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Advanced at the left side of the screen. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Advanced area of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. In the Editing Options area, make sure the When Selecting, Automatically Select Entire Word check box is cleared.
  5. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (745) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Automatically Selecting Words.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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