How to select blocks of columnar text in Word

Moving text from one column to another can be frustrating unless you know a trick or two. With tables, the move is easy. For instance, switching the second and third columns in the table below is simple:

  1. Select the third column. To do so, position the cursor at the beginning of the first cell in the third column and drag the mouse to the end of the column.
  2. Press Ctrl+X to cut the third column to the Clipboard.
  3. Position the cursor at the beginning of the first cell in the second column and paste the third column by pressing Ctrl+V. Word is smart enough to adjust the table accordingly.




Working with columns takes a couple of tricks. First, it's easier if you can see the tab characters. To view them, choose Options from the Tools menu and then check Tab Characters in the Formatting Marks section. Now, you're ready to switch the second and third columns:

  1. Select the third column by holding down the Alt key while you drag the mouse over the column's text. Be sure to select the tab characters preceding the text.
  2. Position the cursor before the tab character between the first and second columns in the first row.
  3. Press Ctrl+V to paste the third column into the second column's position.