Shift plus any navigation key: Select text

Last week, we went through some navigation keyboard shortcuts. (You can review them by looking at all the posts in the navigation category, or you can take a look at the navigation reference page, which collects the navigation shortcuts presented so far in a single list.)

Now that you’re spending more time using the keyboard to navigate, it’s time to combine those navigation keys with the Shift key to begin selecting text.

(Selecting text is when you highlight it — allowing you to then perform a variety of tasks, such as erasing the selected text, applying a command such as making the selected text bold, or cut or copy it into the clipboard for later pasting.)

Here’s an example. Position your cursor in the middle of a line of text in an editing program (such as Microsoft Word or Notepad), then hit Shift+End. All of the text from the cursor to the end of the line becomes selected. If you hit the Backspace key or Delete key, it’s deleted.

Some useful combinations to try:

  • Shift+Home: Select text from the cursor to the beginning of the line
  • Shift+End: Select text from the cursor to the end of the line
  • Shift+Ctrl+Home: Select text from the cursor to the beginning of the document
  • Shift+Ctrl+End: Select text from the cursor to the end of the document
  • Shift+Ctrl+Left Arrow: Select text from the cursor to the beginning of the current word (and keep hitting the Left Arrow key without letting go of the Shift and Ctlr keys to keep selecting multiple words)
  • Shift+Ctrl+Right Arrow: Select text from the cursor to the beginning of the next word

Also, practice Shift plus any of the arrow keys. Suppose, for example, you want to delete some text from the end of a document or e-mail. Press Ctrl+End to move to the end. Now press Shift+Up Arrow until you’ve highlighted all of the stuff at the end you want to get rid of. Then press a key such as the letter A, and it will replace all of the highlighted text with whatever key you typed.

3 thoughts on “Shift plus any navigation key: Select text”

  1. This might be an odd question, but this shortcut recently stopped working on my computer, it is extremely handy, do you know if there is a way to turn it on and off?

    Thanks!

  2. Hi Sarah, so shift+arrow key no longer selects at all, in any application — even a simple one like notepad?

    As far as I’m aware, there’s no way to turn it on and off without some other application being installed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *