Every once in a while, you may need to select a portion of text from top to bottom instead of from left to right. This obscure mouse shortcut will handle the job.
Here's a trick that seldom appears on the shortcut lists. Most of the time, we select text horizontally — a word, a series of words, a paragraph — from left to right or vice versa. But occasionally, the selection has to be vertical. For instance, suppose you wanted to delete the leading characters in Figure A.
To make a vertical selection, hold down [Alt] as you drag down through the text you want to highlight. Figure B shows the column of unwanted characters selected using this technique. Hit [Delete] and bam, they're gone.
Although we selected text at the beginning of the lines in this example, you can make vertical selections anywhere on the page.Note: Some users have reported that the Research pane appears when they try this selection technique. Here's the secret: Release the [Alt] key before you let up on the mouse button. Word should retain the selection. If you hold down [Alt] but release the mouse button, Word may think "[Alt]-click" and open the Research pane in response.
Miss a Word tip?
Check out the Microsoft Word archive and catch up on other Word tips.
Help users increase productivity by automatically signing up for TechRepublic's free Microsoft Office Suite newsletter, featuring Word, Excel, and Access tips, delivered each Wednesday.