Make a vertical text selection in Word

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.

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.

Figure B

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.

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