Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. 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: Selecting a Text Block.

Selecting a Text Block

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 1, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


When working with some forms of data in Word (particularly tabular columns of information), it is often helpful to select non-sequential text in a block. For instance, you might want to select the tenth through thirtieth characters on each of five lines, ignoring everything else. Word makes this easy to do, using either the keyboard or the mouse. If you want to select a block of text using the keyboard, follow these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point at the position that defines the upper-left corner of the block.
  2. Press Ctrl+Shift+F8. The letters COL may appear on the status bar, depending on your version of Word.
  3. Use the cursor control keys to extend the block to include all the text desired.

If you would rather use the mouse to block the text, you can do so by simply holding down the Alt key as you make your selection.

Once your text block is selected, you can take any action desired. For instance, if you press the Del key, then the block of text is deleted.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7750) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Selecting a Text Block.

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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