Here’s a handful of tricks you can use when selecting text within a document or web page. Like many good tricks, these techniques are simple but could potentially change the way you work with your Mac.
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In some built-in Mac apps like TextEdit, as well as in Microsoft Office and Mozilla Firefox, it’s possible to select text in a variety of useful ways above and beyond simply clicking and dragging.
Holding down Command while clicking and dragging lets you select disparate sections (i.e. noncontiguous regions) of text. You could highlight one sentence at the beginning of a paragraph, for example, and while holding down Command, select another sentence at the end of a paragraph. Hitting Command + C will copy both to the clipboard. If you hit Command + V to paste, the two sentence components will be pasted on two separate lines.
Holding down Option will let you select rectangular blocks of text within a paragraph. This is hard to describe, so give it a try by holding down Option and clicking and dragging within a paragraph of text (try Option + Command if this doesn’t work). Again, hitting Command + C will copy it and Command + V will paste it. It’s hard to imagine how this would ever be useful, but you might find a use for it!
By clicking at the beginning of the region you want to select, then holding Shift and clicking at the end of the region, you’ll select everything in between. If you’ve already made a text selection, you can hold down Shift and click on either side of it to add text to the selection. Clicking within the selection while holding down Shift will let you subtract letters and words from the selection.