You are selecting the wrong text with the mouse

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Joe Fedewa / Instruction Geek

Selecting text is common on a computer. Simply click and drag your mouse to highlight the desired text. It couldn’t be simpler, right? In fact, there’s a much better way to do this, and you’ll never go back.

why are you doing it wrong

First, let’s look at the way most people typically select text on their Windows PC, Mac, Chromebook, or Linux. Position the cursor at the beginning of the text, hold down the mouse button, drag the cursor to the end, and then release the button. The text is highlighted letter by letter, as shown below.

This works fine, but there is a problem, and you have probably noticed it. When you’re selecting text letter by letter, it’s easy to accidentally highlight only part of a word. You may not have the cursor in the exact place to start, or you may miss the last letter. It can be annoying.

Why is this method “wrong”? Think of times when you have highlighted text. Are you trying to highlight whole words or just parts of words? I’m willing to bet that, most of the time, you’re looking for whole words. So let’s make it easier.

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best method

Prepare to be amazed. Instead of single clicking and dragging, try double clicking. This will highlight word by word instead of letter by letter, which is much more efficient. Check it out below.

Double-clicking selects the entire word you have the cursor on, then you can continue dragging the cursor to highlight word by word. Punctuation marks are highlighted regardless of words.

This method makes much more sense for most situations. You don’t have to worry about dragging to the exact spot. The best part is that this is not an exclusive hack for any specific platform. It works on Windows, Mac, Linux and Chromebooks.

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For keyboard lovers

Not everyone prefers to use a mouse to select text. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered too.

There are keyboard shortcuts to select text both by letter and by word. To select text letter by letter, place the cursor at the starting point, hold down the Shift key, and then press the left or right arrow keys.

To select by word, place the cursor at the start point or double-click the first word. Now hold down Shift + Ctrl and press the left or right arrow keys.

Little tricks like this can make a big difference. You may have never considered that there was another way to make text stand out. Mouse buttons are much more versatile than we think. Now you know!