How to Select Large Chunks of Text in Word 2007

By Dan Gookin

Word offers many ways to select text as a block in a Word 2007 document, from clicking a number of times to using the standard point-and-drag method.

The point-and-drag method

The best way to select a chunk of text, especially when that chunk of text is larger than what you can see on the screen at one time, involves only three steps.

  1. Click the mouse to set the insertion pointer where you want the block to start.

    This spot is the anchor point.

  2. Scroll through the document using the scroll bar.

    You must use the scroll bar to scroll the document. If you use the cursor-movement keys, you reposition the insertion pointer, which isn’t what you want.

  3. To mark the end of the block, press and hold the Shift key and click the mouse where you want the block to end.

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    The text from the insertion pointer to wherever you clicked the mouse is selected as a block.

The F8 key

The F8 key on the computer’s keyboard is one of the most powerful (but seldom used) text-selecting tools that Word offers. Pressing the F8 key once enters extended selection mode, where Word drops anchor at the insertion pointer’s location and then lets you use either the mouse or the cursor keys to select text. In fact, you cannot do anything other than select text in extended selection mode (unless you press the Esc key to exit that mode).

  1. Position the insertion pointer at the beginning of the block of text.

    The pointer becomes anchored.

  2. Press the F8 key.

    One end of the block is marked for selection.

  3. Use the keyboard’s cursor keys to select the block of text.

    Word highlights text from the point where you dropped the anchor with F8 to wherever you move the insertion pointer.

    You can press a letter key to select text up to and including that letter. If you press N, for example, you select all text up to and including the next N in your document.

  4. Do something with the selected block of text.

    Word remains in extended selection mode until you do something with the block.

    To cancel the extended selection, press the Esc key. That ends extended selection mode but still keeps the block of text selected.

The entire document

The biggest block you can mark is the entire document. From the Home tab, locate the Editing group. (Click the Editing button if the entire Editing area isn’t visible.) Then choose Select→Select All. Instantly, the entire document is selected as a single block of text.

From the keyboard, you can press Ctrl+A to select everything in a document. Or, you can even use the obscure key combo Ctrl+5 (the 5 on the numeric keypad).