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: Using Extend Mode.

Using Extend Mode

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated January 22, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


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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, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Using Extend Mode.

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 six less than 9?

2022-09-05 14:39:33

richard tessier

I've been using my own Extend Selection keyboard shortcut instead of F8 in Word 2003 & 2007, which allows me to select any number of words or lines below the start point, as opposed to word, current sentence, etc., doing so by customizing my keyboard shortcuts in the Normal template. I've just switched to Word 2021 and to my surprize, there is no more Extend Selection in the list of commands that can be customized in the Normal template.
F8 may be useful, but for me, it requires a larger hand movement then my own shortcut in previous versions (almost as much as your hand leaving the keyboard to grasp the mouse), also requires you to look for the F8 key, so no more "touch typing". How can I put the F8 Extend Selection function in a regular keyboard shortcut in the Normal template?.


2022-01-24 08:59:35

Patty

Thanks, Allen. I have often used a "select sentence" macro that a colleague had given me, but I didn't realize Word had this built-in function. I'll be using it a lot. Love the select word, sentence, paragraph toggle!


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