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How to highlight text without using a mouse

Updated April 17, 2017

Both Windows and Mac allow you to use your keyboard instead of the mouse to move your cursor and perform various tasks. Designed for computer users who need special assistance, this function can be useful for those who have problems with -- or simply don't like -- using the mouse. Knowing how to highlight text without using the mouse is handy for those who create and edit text documents.

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  1. Turn on Mouse Keys. If you're using Windows, click "Start", select "Control Panel" and click "Ease of Access." Select "Ease of Access Centre." Click "Make the mouse easier to use." Select the "Turn on Mouse Keys" check box beneath "Control the mouse with the keyboard." If you're using Mac, open "System Preferences", select "Universal Access" and in the "Mouse & Trackpad" tab click "On" next to "Mouse Keys."

  2. Use the numbers on your keyboard to move your cursor. If you're using Mac and your letter keys don't have numbers on them, you can map the numeric keys to specific letters on your keyboard (see Resources)

  3. Position the cursor immediately before the section of text you want to highlight. Hold down the "Shift" key on your keyboard (the arrow pointing upwards, below the Caps key). Keep it held down until you have finished your selection.

  4. Press the right arrow key while the "Shift" key is held down. Every time you press the right arrow key, one character of text will be highlighted. For a large body of text, you can keep the right arrow key pressed down. Continue until you have highlighted the amount of text you require.

  5. Tip

    Once you have highlighted your text, you can perform various actions without using your mouse. If you're using Windows, hold down the "Ctrl" key. If you're using Mac, hold down the "Cmd" key. Keeping your key held down, press "C" to copy or "X" to cut your highlighted text. Press "V" to paste your text elsewhere.

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About the Author

C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."

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