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Basic and Not-so-Basic Text Selection Shortcuts

While these text selection shortcuts are probably a refresher for most people, take some time to review them because you might find one that you never knew about. In fact, I never even noticed that you could double-click and drag to select more than a word. Sometimes it is the obvious, little tricks that can make your day. If I missed any shortcuts, please put them in the comments and I will update the article.

Mouse Selections

Select Cursor Position – Single Click

Select Word – Double-Click

Select Line – Triple-Click

Select Paragraph – Quad-Click  (4 clicks) This is the preferred method of selecting a paragraph. If you click and drag, you might miss the end of the paragraph.

Select Story – Quin-Click (5 clicks)

Select a Word and More – Double-Click and drag your mouse. This also works with triple/quad clicks.

Add to a Selection – Shift-Click when you have a selection to add to that selection.

Table Selections

Select Table – Opt/Alt+Cmd/Ctrl+A

Select Column – Opt/Alt+Cmd/Ctrl+3

Select Row – Cmd/Ctrl+3

Select Cell – Cmd/Ctrl+/ or ESC

Select Cells Above – Shift+Up Arrow

Select Cells Below – Shift+Down Arrow

Select Cells to the Left – Shift+Left Arrow

Select Cells to the Right – Shift+Right Arrow

Keyboard Selecting

Select line – Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+\

Select one character to the left – Shift+Left Arrow

Select one character to the right – Shift+Right Arrow

Select one line above – Shift+Up Arrow

Select one line below – Shift+Down Arrow

Select one paragraph before – Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+Up Arrow

Select one paragraph forward – Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+Down Arrow

Select one word to the left – Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+Left Arrow

Select one word to the right – Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+Right Arrow

Select to beginning of story – Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+Home

Select to end of story – Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+End

Select to the end of the line – Shift+End

Select to the start of the line – Shift+Home

Select entire story – Cmd/Ctrl+A

Select first frame in thread – Opt/Alt+Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+Page Up

Select last frame in thread -Opt/Alt+Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+Page Down

Select next frame in thread – Opt/Alt+Cmd/Ctrl+Page Down

Select previous frame in thread – Opt/Alt+Cmd/Ctrl+Page Up

James Fritz
James graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee in 2003. After a short stint designing catalogs he started working as a freelance designer for C2 Graphics Productivity Solutions. Soon he was promoted to a full time instructor/designer and subsequently become an Adobe Certified Instructor Design Master. Currently James is the Director of Content, Creative at lynda.com where he is also an author.
James Fritz

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8 Comments on “Basic and Not-so-Basic Text Selection Shortcuts

  1. The mouse actions that you need in order to select a line, paragraph, or story depend on the “Triple click to select a line” option in the Type preferences.

  2. How do you make non-contiguous selections in InDesign? The normal command+click (on a Mac) doesn’t work in ID.

  3. Kevin: that’s just not an option in InDesign. Why not use character styles and/or the formatting painter?

    FYI, none of the “normal” Mac commands have anything to do with InDesign. Adobe works quite independently from Apple.

  4. Not a selection method, but the usual tricky solution to not having non-contiguous selections is to use the eye dropper tool. Very powerful.

  5. I’d love a keyboard shortcut to select a book’s chapter. Not a whole story, just a chapter. I use Column Breaks to start new chapters in books, and a way to select all text from Chapter Start to Column Break (or something) would be great.

    Currently, if I have to move a chapter, I click and hold at one end and drag the cursor to the other, which, for long chapters, can take some time.

    Anyone know some technique I’ve missed?

  6. I’m looking for quick keys when I’m within a text box. For example, toggling between the text box when its active and the eyedropper tool without using the toolbar. When I do layouts, I’m constantly using the dropper to adjust my character styles and would save time with a quick key.

    Thanks much! InDesign is my life. <3

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