How to highlight or select text

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Video How to highlight different sections of text on mac

The following sections contain information on how to highlight text on a computer, mobile device, or program. We’ve also included keyboard shortcuts, tips, and areas where you can practice highlighting text on this page.

How to highlight text on a desktop or laptop computer

Below are all the different methods of highlighting text, icons, and other objects on your computer using a desktop mouse, touchpad, and keyboard.

How to highlight text using your mouse

To highlight text using your mouse, position your cursor at the beginning of the text you want to highlight. Press and hold your primary mouse button (commonly the left button). While holding the mouse button, drag the cursor to the end of the text and let go of the mouse button. Once completed, all text from the beginning to the end should be highlighted. Below is an example of how text can be highlighted.

TextPad program with words to highlight.

There is no limit to how much text can be highlighted. You can move to the end of a paragraph to highlight the full paragraph or keep holding the mouse button down and select multiple paragraphs or pages of text.

How to highlight using a touchpad on a laptop

To highlight text using a touchpad on a laptop, move the cursor to the beginning of the text you want to highlight. Press and hold down the primary mouse button below the touchpad. While continuing to hold down the button, move another finger (or one from your other hand) along the touchpad in the direction you want to highlight.

Select text with the mouse button

Double-clicking a word highlights the word and triple-clicking a word highlights the full line or paragraph of text.

How to highlight text using your keyboard

To highlight with the keyboard, move to the starting location using the arrow keys. Then, hold down the Shift key, and press the arrow key in the direction you want to highlight. Once everything you want is highlighted, let go of the Shift key.

Practice highlighting text

Below is a text field where you can practice highlighting text using the keyboard.

To practice highlighting text, click anywhere in this box and use the steps and tips described in the section above. Here is another line of text for you to practice using keyboard shortcuts. Thanks for visiting Computer Hope!

How to highlight text using your keyboard and mouse

To use the keyboard and mouse in combination, begin by moving the cursor to where you want to start highlighting. Then, hold down the Shift key and click where you want to finish highlighting.

How to highlight an icon or another object

To highlight an object like an icon in Windows, single-click the item. Once clicked, the icon or text should change to a different color, indicating it is highlighted.

To highlight multiple icons or other objects, drag a box around all files you want to highlight.

How to highlight multiple e-mails, files, icons, or other objects

Drag and select

Users may highlight multiple objects at once using the mouse or mouse and keyboard. In many programs, you can draw a marquee around the items you want to highlight. To draw a marquee, click-and-hold the left mouse button outside the area of the items, and then drag the marquee to the opposite diagonal corner. Once you release the mouse button, the items contained in the box are highlighted. In the animated picture, we are selecting nine picture files.

If a program doesn’t support a marquee, highlight the first object in the series. Then, hold down the Shift, click the last item you want to selected, and then let go of the Shift. For example, clicking “Example” in the select field below, and then holding down Shift and clicking “Items” highlights all four available options.

ExampleHighlightMultipleItems

How to highlight text on an Android smartphone and tablet

Press and hold down on any text with your finger, drag your finger over the text you’d like to highlight, and then let go. Upon letting go, a menu should appear in the top-right corner of the screen (shown to the right) that allows you to cut or copy.

How to highlight text on an Apple iPhone and iPad

Press and hold your finger down on any text, drag your finger over the text you want to highlight, and then lift your finger. In the menu that appears, tap the Select option.

How to highlight text on a Chromebook

For Chromebooks that have no mouse buttons, you can copy and paste text by following the steps below.

Press down on the touchpad and keep your finger there. Then, while continuing to hold down on the touchpad, drag your finger in the direction you want to highlight text. When you’re finished highlighting, lift your finger.

How to highlight text on a Kindle

Press and hold your finger down on the starting word. Once that word is highlighted, drag your finger over any additional text to select it. When you’re finished highlighting, lift your finger.

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