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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

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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 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.
  • Shmuel says:

    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.

  • James Fritz says:

    @Shmuel – That is true, but the default options in ID have it set to triple. Unless you have changed your preferences, it should work for you.

  • Kevin says:

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

  • Jongware says:

    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.

  • John Hawkinson says:

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

  • Nice list.

    I’ll add that, in tables, pressing ESC multiple times toggles the selection between the cell itself and the text inside it.

  • Stephen says:

    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?

  • Jacquie says:

    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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