Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 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

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 30, 2019)

3

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 Office 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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What is 1 + 3?

2016-09-06 16:34:44

Nancy

This doesn't work if I want to select an entire column, align the column at 0,08", then do a Find and Replace (of that same entire column) if find a close parentheses '')'' align at 0,04" then Apply to All (when I say apply to all, I really mean to that Entire Column. It keeps affecting the surrounding columns).

I wish to find an answer. Been looking over months, can't find that problem to be resolved.


2014-11-09 04:17:39

Damear

Wow, thanks for an interesting feature! Not that it's needed often, but it's nice to know about it.


2014-11-08 05:11:08

JS

In MS Word 2010 and before, the shortcut key of Ctrl+Shft+F8 only works on a block that is on the same page. If you want to select a block that spans several pages, try Shft+Alt+LClk and while holding down the combination, moving the cursor to the diagonally opposite corner and then releasing. This tip does not have a page-range limit.


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