Easily Extending Selections

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 2, 2019)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


In other issues of WordTips you learn that you can turn on extend mode (which allows you to make selections) by pressing the F8 key. Some people may wonder why anyone would bother to use F8 to make selections when simply holding down the Shift key or selecting with the mouse is just as easy, if not easier.

The answer is that using F8 enables a handy feature that is not available in other selection methods. If you press F8 to turn on the extend mode, you can then press any other key and Word will automatically extend the selection up to the next occurrence of that character. For instance, if you wanted to select everything from the current position of the insertion point through the next comma, simply press F8 and then a comma—the selection is automatically made. Press another comma, and the selection is extended to the next comma.

You can press any other key you want, except for F8 or Esc. Either of these will cancel the extend mode. If there is no subsequent occurrence of the key you press, then Word does not extend the selection.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1499) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is three more than 4?

2014-08-30 16:19:43

Riça Night

Fantastic and little-known tip.

It also works to extend between cursor position and a user-set bookmark.

I edit long reports. Sometimes, to get a specific person's approval on one long section (where that person doesn't need or isn't supposed to see the whole doc), I need to make a file containing a Table of Contents, the middle third of the text, and an Appendix that appears after the end of the body text.

To make sure that the tracked changes and the Comments don't get weird, I start with a copy of my master file. Then on the copy, I strip out the first third and the final third of the text.

But in order to keep the TOC and Appendix, that's not as simple as merely placing my cursor at the top of the section I want and then using Ctrl-Shift-Home, Delete--and then doing a similar thing from bottom of the desired section to the end of the document.

So what I do is insert bookmarks at the top of the whole text (just after the TOC), the top and bottom of the section I want to keep, and the top of the Appendix.

To select a big chunk to delete, I *used* to scroll to the place where I wanted to start deleting, click to place my cursor there, hit Shift and then scroll or PageDown until I got to the desired deletion end point, click there, & hit Delete.

What a pain if section is 40 or 50 pp long.

Now I just place my cursor at the section start--usually a heading that I jump to with Ctrl-click from TOC--and hit F8.

Then I use Ctrl-G to Go To the bookmark that ends the section, and the whole section is highlighted for deletion. No tedious scrolling or paging down.

There may be an even more elegant way to accomplish this, but I haven't yet come across it.

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