Internet Productivity

3 Lesser-Known Tricks For Smartly Highlighting Text

Joel Lee 23-10-2015

Before you can copy or cut text, you need to highlight it — but if you’re highlighting text one character at a time, you’re doing it wrong. Here are a few handy tricks that’ll make your life easier and boost your productivity.


Highlighting Word-by-Word

Have you ever highlighted a section of text only to realize that you missed the first or last letters? It’s not the end of the world when it happens, but it sure is annoying, isn’t it?


Double-click on a word before you start highlighting. You’ll notice that your cursor will highlight on a per-word basis rather than the usual per-character basis. Doing this, you’ll never cut letters off words ever again.

Highlighting Big Chunks of Text

Another huge pain is when you have to highlight long passages of text. For example, let’s say you want to copy a web article that’s 2,000 words long. Or maybe you want to highlight the first 10 pages of a Word document. Here’s an easy trick to use.



Click once where you want to start highlighting, hold the Shift key, then click once where you want to end highlighting. Boom! Everything between the first click and second click ends up being highlighted.

Highlighting Nonsequential Text

What if you want to highlight the first and last sentence of a paragraph, skipping over all of the irrelevant text in between?


Hold the Ctrl key to keep highlighting all kinds of text from anywhere. When this kind of highlighted text is copied and pasted, each selection gets pasted on a separate line.

Want to learn more tips like these? Check out these Shift key tricks 3 Ways the Shift Key Will Change How You Browse the Web Here are three Shift-based browser shortcuts that will make your web-surfing much more convenient. Guaranteed. Read More and these mouse scrollwheel tricks 3 Mouse Scrollwheel Tricks to Improve Your Web Browsing These three mouse tricks will turn you into a web browsing pro. Read More to really push yourself to the next level of productivity.

Did you find these helpful? Know of any other cool productivity tricks? Share with us in the comments below!

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  1. Anonymous
    October 25, 2015 at 7:49 am

    What about these too, really handy:-

    3 Clicks – select line
    4 Clicks – select paragraph
    5 Clicks – select all

    • Joel Lee
      October 27, 2015 at 1:03 am

      4-clicks and 5-clicks don't work for me, but the triple-click is a good one. I don't use it as often, but it's certainly handy in the right situations. Thanks Craig!

  2. Anonymous
    October 24, 2015 at 12:16 am

    But doesn't work on web pages (at least this one)

    • Joel Lee
      October 27, 2015 at 1:01 am

      Hmm, that's weird. I thought they were universal but maybe some browsers/programs don't support it. That's a bummer. Thanks for the heads up, Federico.

      • Anonymous
        October 27, 2015 at 1:14 pm

        ... aaand now highlighting Word-by-Word works. Same browser (Chrome 46), same computer, same web page.
        Highlighting Nonsequential Text still doesn't. The rest always worked.

  3. Anonymous
    October 23, 2015 at 11:38 am

    If you're highlighting using shift+arrows, hold ctrl at the same time and it will select word by word. Great for not missing a few letters or just for selecting a bunch quickly.

    • Joel Lee
      October 27, 2015 at 1:00 am

      Ooh, good one, Slashee. I use Shift+Arrows all the time, but totally forgot about Shift+Ctrl+Arrows. Thanks!