Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Quickly Moving Text with the Mouse.

Quickly Moving Text with the Mouse

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 22, 2019)

11

There are two ways you can use the mouse to quickly move text as you are editing. They both result in the same effect, but the method you choose is entirely up to you. To utilize the first method, do the following:

  1. Select the text you want to move.
  2. Position the mouse cursor over the selected text and click the mouse button. Make sure you hold it down. Soon you will notice some dotted lines appear near the mouse pointer.
  3. Drag the highlighted selection to where you want it moved.
  4. Release the mouse button. The highlighted text is moved to the location you specified.

The other method is actually a bit easier for some people:

  1. Select the text you want to move.
  2. Hold down the Ctrl key and right-click where you want the selected text moved.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10648) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Quickly Moving Text with the Mouse.

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 four more than 9?

2020-03-05 06:28:05

Paul Stregevsky

With drag-and-drop, you can move text without overwriting content that you want to retain in your clipboard.


2020-03-04 07:36:22

Patrick Verhaeghe

@david Cohen: using right-dragging (draging using the right mousebutton) prevents this problem, since you always have to confirm wat you want to do
(and it also gives you more possibilities)


2020-03-04 07:31:56

Patrick Verhaeghe

There is also the Windows capacity: When dragging the tekst you can also hold the shift key - to move or the ctrl key - to copy the selected text


2019-12-29 13:50:41

David Cohen

One of the problems with moving text is that it's all too easy to drop it into the wrong place. and then you have to mess with it further.

sometimes it's better to copy the text to be moved, leave the original text in place, paste the copied text into the target zone. If it's landed well, then go back and delete the original.


2019-12-28 07:28:15

Paul Stregevsky

Drag-and-drop was a profound innovation. I can clearly remember the first time I used it. It was 1993, and the feature had just been added to WordPerfect in version 6.0a.


2019-12-27 20:05:33

Simon Farthing

The first method stopped working on My Word 2007 and the second doesn't work either.


2015-09-30 15:18:05

Michael

I was sure I knew what both methods would be but came here just in case....
Bingo! I am delighted to learn about method 2.
Thanks!


2015-09-28 11:11:14

Jennifer Thomas

@Gloria P:

If you select the text and then use [Alt]+[Shift]+ an up/down arrow key, then the text is moved without altering formatting.

For short moves, I would recommend that over changing your default paste settings (which are there to prevent document corruption when pasting from non-Word sources).

For moving the text a long way, just paste and then click your paste options tag and choose Keep Source Formatting or Match Destination Formatting/Use Destination Styles (whichever you want).

Remember that if you match destination formatting to a style defined differently than what you are pasting (e.g. you are pasting bold text and matching a non-bold style), then the direct formatting is removed IF it is applied to over 50% of the text you are pasting.

Hope that helps!


2015-09-28 03:46:31

Richard

Gloria - maybe there's a default paste setting, like in Word 2007. Go to Word Options > Advanced > Cut, Copy and Paste. In 2007, there's a selection to be made for
a) pasting within the same document
b) pasting between documents
c) pasting between documents when styles conflict
d) pasting from other programs

For each of these you can choose between
1) Keep source formatting
2) Match destination formatting
3) Keep text only

My guess is that option 3 Keep text only is set for you. Change the setting to option 1 and click OK on the Word Options dialog.

Apologies if 2013 setting are different from 2103. Maybe a 2013 user can help here?


2015-09-26 13:06:31

Gloria P.

For years, I have continued to use key strokes to mark and move text, because it's faster and more accurate to mark beginning and end-points w/o moving my hands from the keyboard. When I started using WORD 2013, I've discovered that when I re-insert the text where I want it, it loses any original modifications such as italics or underlinings--a big waste of time. Is there any solution to that?


2015-09-26 12:37:18

Phil Reinemann

In Mac Office 2011 and I think it's also true in Windoze versions I haven't seen the dotted lines in the first section step 2.

On the Mac the selected text is just the selection color and once selected release the left-click mouse button and then while hovering over any part of the selection just left-click and drag the text where you want it, then release the left button.

On the Mac I couldn't get the second method to work at all. No combination of control, command or option seemed to help. Mostly they just brought up the secondary/shortcut menu.


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