Software

Office challenge: How can you quickly select the contents of a PowerPoint text box?

Learn the solution to last week's Excel challenge and test your skills in this week's new PowerPoint challenge.

I see a lot of inefficiency while watching people work. Most users do what they know, even if that method takes longer than necessary. Usually, people don't even know there's a better way. I ran into this recently while watching a user update a PowerPoint presentation. She was entering and formatting text. After inserting a text box and typing the text, she would use the [Shift] and [Left Arrow] keys to highlight the text she'd just entered--selecting it so you could format it. There's an easier way to select the text—do you know it? The method I have in mind also works with an existing text box.

Last week we asked…

What's a quick way to get a list of file names into an Excel spreadsheet? What a response! You guys are creative and efficient. I won't try to condense all of the suggestions, but I do want to mention Eanderson's suggestion of sending the directory list to the Clipboard—magnificent. Of course, this method has one problem: Excel doesn't parse the pieces of information into separate columns. Everything goes into a single column, which might not work for you. Of course, you can parse the data using functions, but there's another way to get the list into Excel, with no parsing—just check out Vanhaven's response. Using the command prompt form takes care of the problem:

dir [dirname][/b] > filename.xls

When you open filename.xls, Excel prompts you to import the data. If you specify the Fixed Width file type, Excel will parse the data as it imports it.

You can also use Windows Explorer. First, enter the local path in the URL control. When Windows Explorer displays the list of filenames, press [Ctrl]+A to select them all. Then, copy them to the Clipboard using [Ctrl]+C. Open Excel and paste the filenames into a sheet by pressing [Ctrl]+V. However, the command prompt to an .xls file and then importing as a Fixed Width file is definitely the quickest method in my opinion.

Thanks everyone for another great challenge!

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

16 comments
heyyoucraig
heyyoucraig

When I attempt to Ctrl+A Ctrl+C and V to copy a file list, I am told that the item was not collected. Format is not supported by OFFICE clipboard. Has anyone been able to collect a file list in this manner? Good Day

jbmn
jbmn

If a single paragraph is in the text box, you can also triple left click anywhere inside the paragraph to select all text in the paragraph.

stapleb
stapleb

Wow, has this got people going. So many negatives in our big wide world, no wonder there is so much misery. Now I've got that off my chest, there are a number of ways. In the text box press Ctrl + A; or click on the text box border. It really depends where you are and what you want to do. If you only wish to format some words, Ctrl + Shift + Arrow key to select the words, or if all else fails, click at the start, then Shift and click at the end, or the other way round if you wish to work backwards. And, after all that, I hope you all have a wonderfully happy day.

kevaburg
kevaburg

of the text box and press Ctrl+A. That will highlight the contents and you can do whatever you want with them!

kjohnson
kjohnson

Click in the text box and type ^A

wittmav
wittmav

If the question is how to select the text so it can be formatted, you can just click the border of the placeholder; when it becomes a solid instead of dotted line, you can apply any formatting changes and the entire contents is affected.

Mark.Mathews
Mark.Mathews

Click inside the text box and hit Ctrl+A (Select All)

Vishal.Gajjar
Vishal.Gajjar

You can use Ctrl + Shift + Left or Right Arrow to Select a Word, instead of a single character, ------------------------------------------- You can also click inside a text box, and then double click on a word to Select it, OR Triple-Click to select whole Line. ------------------------- Click Anywhere in Textbox and press Ctrl+A.

PowerPoint Rain Man
PowerPoint Rain Man

If you want to format all the text right after you type it and the cursor is still blinking in the text box: Just hit ESC (the entire box will then be selected), and then format. If you want to format the contents of an existing box, don't bother trying to be precise by trying to select the edge of the box. Don't do two steps by selecting the box and hitting CTRL+A. Instead, just SHIFT-Click anywhere on/in the box, and all will be selected. You can then format.

sandra.scrivens
sandra.scrivens

As wittmav said by clicking the border of the text box you select everything about it, including the text it contains.

danial.ahmed
danial.ahmed

With due respect, this post was about importing directory listing in MS Excel and not about how to select a letter or a word in MS Word. (By the way, if you do double right click from the right margin area, that will select the whole paragraph). I guess you were sitting quite too long in the meeting and now it was time for you to must pour in your opinion even when it is not related to the task. Danial.

mwb78
mwb78

I like the Shift-click anywhere to select the placeholder. I didn't know that. If I'm editing the text, I usually press F2 to select the placeholder. F2 will then toggle you back to edit mode if needed. I teach my students to always select the placeholder if you are applying the same format to everything in the placeholder (as the problem noted). Otherwise, if you select just the text it's easy to leave a straggling non-printing character that did not get formatted. Then, when you want to add more text, you're scratching your head trying to figure out why it doesn't match. Arg.

sam
sam

Hi All, I tried to get the dir [dirname][/b] > filename.xls instructions to work & failed miserably; I was hoping someone could tell me where to find the discussion on that? Cheers Sam

ssharkins
ssharkins

The first part of each challenge is the latest challenge and this week, it's about selecting the contents of a text box. The second part of each challenge is the answer to the previous week's challenge, and this week, that's the solution to importing a list of files from a folder into an Excel sheet. The first response is responding to this week's challenge.