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OpenOffice Writer: Special Text Selection from the Status Bar

As many of us know, you can use different keys along with the mouse to complete different types of text selection.

For example, holding down the Alt key while dragging the mouse will select text in a rectangular shape – called block selection.

If you place your cursor in the document and then hold down the Shift key and click somewhere else, that will extend the selection to include all text between the cursor and the click location.

The Ctrl key is very useful too, since it allows you to jump from location to location, selecting non-adjacent text.

All of this is really great, but what if you’re not really good at remembering which keys do what?

Short of a “cheat sheet” list of keys taped to your monitor, does Writer offer anything that could allow the special text selections without the keys?

I’m happy to report that Writer does have something for you, no keys to memorize and no complicated process to learn… if you know how to click, then you know how to do this.

The secret to the type of text selection Writer uses is located in your Status Bar (across the bottom of your program window).


If you don’t see the status bar, go to the View menu and click on Status Bar to display it.

You’ll probably notice that it contains quite a few pieces of information, along with a zoom bar for you to use when trying to zoom in and out of your document… however, we are interested in this tiny section here:


This block displays the text selection mode currently being used.

It’s also a button that will rotate you between the different text selection options – allowing you to use the “fancy” stuff with no keys to memorize.

That’s really all there is to it. No keys to memorize, in fact you don’t need anything but the mouse to select with this trick…

When you need a different text selection mode, click the Status Bar button until it displays the type you want. Then go select text to your heart’s content!

~ April