Vertical Highlighting Using the Modified Selection Tool

Feb 2, 2007 - 2 Comments

Highlighting, cutting, and pasting is a part of virtually every computer users daily routine. We select the desired text by dragging horizontally across the screen, highlighting what we want to copy or edit. But say you want to highlight vertically, in a column of text, rather than choosing an entire line. Easily done thanks to a simple keystroke, and just another well thought out and little known feature in Mac OS X.

To allow vertical highlighting:

  • Hold down the ‘option’ key while making a text selection
  • Your cursor will transform into a cross
  • Now you can select vertically instead of just horizontally, as shown in the below screenshot

This works in most cocoa apps, and is extremely useful for developers, programmers, scripters, or anyone dealing with repetitive lines of text that need changing. In the above screenshot, we have selected a repetative path that could be deleted or changed at once.

You can actually select multiple things in this fashion, by holding down the command and option key once you have already selected some text.


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Posted by: OSXDaily in How to, Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. baschwar says:

    This works for me (tested in FireFox) but it is option-cmd. The only draw back is that when you paste the column of text you highlighted it pastes out horizontally into something like Excel. You can’t paste into TextEdit and then into Excel — tried that as well.

  2. haad says:

    this hint doesn’t work for me I have 10.5.2 . I tried it with Safari.

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