The F8 Key Adds a Sophisticated Assist When You Need to Highlight Text in Word


Q I once read that the F8 key provides a better way to custom-select text you want to copy, delete or just format. But I can’t figure out how to do it. Can you help?


A Sure, in fact it’s one of my favorite shortcuts. As you know, the basic method of selecting an area for copying, moving or formatting is to left-click your mouse and slide it to where you want the highlighting to end. Another way is to hold down the Shift key and press the down (or up, left or right) button.


Now let’s see how the F8 key adds a sophisticated nuance to the exercise. Say you want to highlight a portion of text that ends at the letter Z, or B, or a ?, or an !—in fact, any keyboard key except Esc. Start by placing your cursor at the beginning of the target text. Press F8 and then the target key, and that area will become highlighted. If you press the target key again, the highlighted area will extend to the next occurrence of the key location. Or, when you come to the last time in the document that the target key occurs, no further highlighting will occur unless you repeat the process.


If, instead of pressing the target key, you hit F8 again, it will select the whole sentence; hit it again and it will select the paragraph; and finally, if you hit it one more time, it will select the entire document.


You can disable the function by pressing Esc.


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