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Selections in MS Word

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 by | Filed Under: MS Word

We all know that MS Word will try to help you out when highlighting text. In fact, if it thinks it’s what you want to do, it will select an entire word for you even if your cursor started out in the middle of the word.

This can be a great time saver – or a great big headache!

Obviously, it all depends upon what you want.

Many of you probably know that you can turn this feature off in Word’s options. (See the Computer Tips article “That’s Not What I Selected!” for users of older versions of Word. For Word 2007 people you need the Advance Options, Editing Options section and then uncheck “When selecting, automatically select entire word“.)

But, let’s face it – if we turn the feature off because it’s bothering us right now then when we want it later we’ve got to go back and turn it on.

So, as far as I’m concerned – that’s out.

For my keyboard enthusiasts you’re thinking about the Shift key combined with arrows to get the job done.

Excellent choice, but what about the people who like to use the mouse? Can they temporarily get around the whole word selection problem?

You bet. If you’re a mouse user then here’s what you need to know:

  • First, when you start your partial highlight, be sure to place the cursor where you want the highlight to begin.
  • Now start moving the mouse. Should the highlighting jump to include the entire word then stop and just slightly move the mouse back the other way.
  • You should find that your selection went back to where you started and doesn’t include the whole word again.

In older versions of Word you may have the same issue on the other end of your highlighting if you’re trying to select a partial word from the left side. Just use the same trick and move the mouse back slightly to get just the letters you want.

Word 2007 you may find behaves a bit better. Once you stop the whole word highlight with the mouse movement it doesn’t start up again during that particular selection.

Voila! Select exactly the text you need without making huge changes to your Word options.

~ April

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