Office 2000 Basics: Selecting Text

Lesson 11: Selecting Text



By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Select text

Selecting text

When creating a document, you might want to change the way text appears.

Before you can change the font style, size, or color, or replace or delete text, you must first select it.

Here's a quick rule of thumb:

  1. First select what you want to change.
  2. Then make your changes.

Check this outThere are many different selection techniques. Soon you'll be selecting and manipulating text like an old pro!

First method: Click and drag to select text

  • Move your pointer until the I-beam is next to the text you want to edit.
  • Click the left mouse button.
  • Without releasing the mouse button, drag the insertion point to select text.
  • Release the left mouse button when you have selected the text you want to change.


  • Highlights letters, words, and even entire documents
  • Offers a lot of control with individual letters, words, and phrases


Important pointLack of control may cause:

  • Speedy selecting, which selects an entire document when you don't want it to
  • Backward selecting, which ends up selecting text to the right when you want to select to the left and vice versa if the pointer moves slightly when you click

Second method: Use the pointer to select an entire line of text

To select a single line of text:

  • Move the I-beam to the left margin until it becomes a right-slanted white pointerPointer.
  • Position the pointer to the left of the line you want to highlight.
  • Click once to highlight a single line.
  • Click and drag up or down to select as many lines as you want to edit.


  • Quick and easy


  • Selects the entire line of text when you may not want it to
  • May take some practice to position the pointer correctly

Third method: Select All

Select All is a helpful feature.

To select an entire document:

  • Choose Edit actionSelect All from the menu bar.

Edit Menu with Select All selected

All of the text in your document will be selected instantly. Click anywhere outside selected text to deselect the text.


  • Great when you need to quickly select all text in a document (great for changing font style or size)


  • Selects all text

Fourth method: Use the keyboard

Many people use the keyboard to select text.

Shift+right arrowCharacter to the right of the insertion point
Shift+left arrowCharacter to the left of the insertion point
Shift+HomeAll current line to the left of insertion point
Shift+EndAll current line to the right of insertion point
Shift+PgUpA screenful of text from insertion point up
Shift+PgDnA screenful of text from insertion point down
Ctrl+Shift+ Right ArrowOne word to the right of insertion point
Ctrl+Shift+ Left ArrowOne word to the left of insertion point
Crtl+Shift+HomeAll text from insertion point to the beginning of document
Crtl+Shift+EndAll text from insertion point to the end of document
Alt+Ctrl+Shift+PgDnAll text from insertion point to end of the displayed window
F8 and arrow keyFrom insertion point in the direction of whichever arrow is chosen;
F8 turns on selection mode; press Esc to leave selection mode.
Crtl +ASelects entire document

Did you know?

Troubleshooting speedy selecting

When using the click-and-drag method to select text, have you ever selected a lot of text without meaning to? You've experienced speedy selecting.

What can you do to avoid this frustration?

  • Use Select All in the Edit menu.
  • Use the Shift key:
    • Click once at the starting point of the text you desire to be selected.
    • Hold down the Shift key on the keyboard while clicking once again at the ending point of the text you desire to be selected.
    • The text in between these two points should be selected.

Check this outKeep in mind that when text is selected, pressing any key will delete it. The Undo button often comes in handy for this common mistake.