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: Using Extend Mode.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 1, 2020)
If you press on the F8 key, you enable what Word refers to as extend mode. This is the keyboard method of anchoring the cursor in preparation for making a selection. When you move the cursor using the cursor control keys, the size of the text selection changes and the status bar starts to show how many words are contained in the selection. You turn off the extend mode by pressing the Esc key.
One of the handy things to do in extend mode is to search for other text. For instance, let's say you wanted to select everything between the current cursor position and the next occurrence of the word "echo." All you need to do is turn on extend mode (press F8) and then search for "echo." Word selects everything between the two points.
When you press the F8 key multiple times, you can select different parts of your text. For instance, when you press F8 once, you simply turn on extend mode. Press it a second time, and the current word is selected. A third time results in the current sentence being selected. A fourth time selects the current paragraph, and a fifth time selects the whole document.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13335) 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: Using Extend Mode.
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