Below are some text editing and selection tips that can save you a lot of time as you use your computer on a day-to-day basis. Try them out and practice them until they become habit and you will help reduce your likelihood of repetitive stress injuries while improving your overall productivity.

Double-Click Words

Instead of click-dragging across the letters in a word to select a word, try double-clicking on the word. This can save a lot of repetitive hand and wrist movement that may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Double-clicking a word is also much faster and more accurate than click-dragging.

Use Shift to Select Text Regions

When working with text, the SHIFT key allows you to anchor the "starting point" selection of text wherever the cursor is positioned at the time you click the mouse button. If you hold down the SHIFT key after your initial text selection click, you may move the mouse pointer anywhere else within the text to select the "end". Use the "Peter Piper..." text below to try this out.

1) Left-click the mouse somewhere in the text below, then hold down the SHIFT key on your keyboard.

2) Keeping the SHIFT key down, click somewhere else in the text below. You should see that your text selection fills in between the first and last mouse click.


Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. A peck of pickled peppers, Peter Piper picked. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

Selecting the Entire URL in a Web Browser

The easiest way to select all of the text in a URL is to move your mouse toward the right side of the URL text at the top of your browser window and click your mouse. This usually highlights the entire URL. However, depending on the browser you can try double or even triple-clicking the right side of the URL text to select it.

Once the text is selected, save yourself some time and just start typing the new URL. The selected text will be replaced with what you type, and this will save you the unnecessary step of having to explicitly delete the text before typing new text in its place.


Quickly Renaming Multiple Files in OS X

The fastest way to rename files in OS X (aside from having a program or utility that does it) is to use the Return key to select the text in a file or folder name. The steps are outlined below:

  1. Go to a directory of files to rename, or to a folder. List or Column view works especially well for this.
  2. Use the Up and Down Arrow keys to move from one file to another.
  3. When a file or folder is highlighted hit the Return key to select its text.
  4. To quickly move the cursor to the beginning of the selected text hit the Left Arrow key. Hitting the Right Arrow key moves the cursor to the end of the selection, up to the file extension part of the name.
  5. When you are finished editing the name hit the Return key again, then use an Up or Down Arrow key to move to the next item name. You can exit "name" editing mode at any time by pressing the Esc (escape) key.
  6. You can also Copy and Paste all or any part of a file or folder name. This can be a big time-saver for files that are similarly named.