Saturday, October 30, 2010

Shortcut for Highlighting Text (The Many Uses of the Shift Key)

Highlight text word by word

Double click the word to highlight (select) it, triple-click to select the paragraph. Everybody knows this. 

But what if you want to select just a few words or a phrase? For example, to link a word or several words, the title of a book or an article to a page on the internet or to another page in your document? Dragging the cursor over a couple of words may be annoying if you are in a hurry.  

Here is a keyboard shortcut to select text character by character from cursor:
press Shift (⇧) and then a keyboard arrow - right to select to the right, left - to the left of the cursor. 

Now, here is a neat one. To select text word by word:
press together Shift and Option (Alt, ⌥) keys and hit keyboard arrows.
With this shortcut you can quickly highlight several words.

And then there is another one - for highlighting text to the end or the beginning of the line:

Command (⌘) + Shift + right/left arrow.
Typing the right arrow will highlight all text to the end of the line, typing the left arrow will highlight all text to the beginning of the line. Press and hold Command and Shift, then type left and right arrows - you will have the whole line highlighted.

Those who remember type-writers know that the main purpose of the Shift key was to to switch register to capital letters or type some punctuation marks. It does much more on modern computers. Combinations of Shift/Option/Command give you access to a variety of special symbols and foreign letters and accent marks. Pressing Shift while restarting your Mac is one of the most useful troubleshooting techniques - Safe Boot.
Jump-selecting word by word, line to line is described in the iWork user's guide and the list of keyboard shortcuts sits under Help menu. Trouble is, it's not often clear why or when you may need a particular shortcut. It's worth making a note of any frequently repeated operation specific to your work, and then to find out if there is a useful shortcut for it. 


  1. Anonymous12:22 pm

    My headphone jack isn't working properly. How long would it probably take if I had apple repairs my 8gb 3rd gen ipod touch?

    Do you know any way to get it repair quicker than normal, because I use my ipod touch as a communication device as I'm non-verbal. I don't have any other communication devices to use while its being repaired.

  2. Sorry, I have very little knowledge of ipods.


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