Extend Selection is a terrific Word feature you won’t find or even know about unless you really know where to look. Again, I’ve made it accessible, on the Editing menu and on what at first seems a strange place: the Insert key. I don’t like having the Insert key turn on typeover mode, which should always be turned off while editing and usually at all other times. (If you must use typeover mode, you can turn it on by double-clicking the OVR box in the status bar at the bottom of the screen. Just remember to turn it off again when you’re through.) Word also allows you to use the Insert key to paste text (see the Options menu), but I’ve found it too easy to hit the key accidentally and paste a bunch of unwanted text into a document without even knowing it. Thus, I’ve opted to use the Insert key for Extend Selection, and you’ll find that’s a handy key on which to have it.
Basically, Extend Selection turns on the selecting of text. Then you can use the cursor keys to move through the text, selecting as you go. The really neat thing for editing is that you can put your cursor at the beginning of the text you want to select, then activate Extend Selection, then type the character that’s at the end of the text you want to select. The selection will automatically jump to that character. I use this feature a lot to select to the period at the end of a sentence and to select to a carriage return at the end of a paragraph (in order to delete the selected text).
If you press the Insert key twice, you’ll select the current word. If you press it three times, you’ll select the current sentence. Press it four times to select the current paragraph, and five times to select all the text in the document.
To turn off Extend Selection without doing anything to the selected text, press the Escape key and then a cursor key.
• Insert key
• Edit menu, Extend Selection