Mr Speaker

Vertical Selecting

Here's a helpful little mouse-wielding tip for all you Windows users out there (Oops, "mouse" and "Windows" - there goes my geek cred.)... Did you know that you can vertically select text in some programs? Well you can, with the power of ALT + mouse!

Selecting text with a mouse is a very important computer-user skill, that enables you to capture parts of a paragraph or sentence for use in other applications.

But what if, right, you wanted to extract just the messages from the text below, and paste them somewhere else:

14:18:27 DEBUG: OnItemRemoved from cache
14:18:56 DEBUG: Initialise Application
14:19:14 DEBUG: MemberCurrent unavailable
14:22:21 DEBUG: IRegistrationModule added

Well, you could select it all, paste it to the destination, then remove the timestamp from each line... but if there was 20 gazillion lines that'd take a while...

ALT + mouse!
If you had that list opened up in Notepad++, Microsoft products (Word, Visual Studio, SQL Server Management thingo, Outlook...), and most likely many others, you could use the not-often-enough used ALT key to help you out.

Simply hold down ALT then make your selection - notice that you are free to roam the screen, unrestricted by the text below!

Kid Koala - 01 - Strat Hear
Kid Koala - 02 - Basin Street Blues
Kid Koala - 03 - Radio Nufonia
Kid Koala - 04 - Stompin' At Le Savoi
Kid Koala - 05 - Space Cadet 2
Kid Koala - 06 - Grandmaphone Speaks

You can also paste a selection vertically as well, which is pretty damn cool.

It seems to work with a bunch of Microsoft products (it works on Word on Mac, but sadly not Notepad), and a few other text editors I tried.

It doesn't work on Linux, as ALT + Mouse moves the current screen around (which is also very handy) - Though if you're using Linux then you don't touch the mouse anyway, and you would have regex-ed out the result before you even had a chance to think about it.

There you go
A bonus handy-hint: if your vertical lines don't match-up happily, try converting the font to a monospace font (like Courier).


  1. That is very handy, indeed. Thanks!

    Friday, August 31, 2007 at 2:56 pm | Permalink
  2. In Word you can also hold down CTRL select bits of a document. Kinda like “selective selection” of sorts.

    Eg –

    Saturday, September 1, 2007 at 12:10 pm | Permalink
  3. Let me try again in engrish – In Word you can also hold down CTRL to select bits of a document.

    Saturday, September 1, 2007 at 12:11 pm | Permalink
  4. Oooh, nice tip Delicate Genius – pity it doesn’t work in VS2005. That’d be quite handy!

    Tuesday, September 4, 2007 at 10:41 am | Permalink
  5. Freakin brilliant

    Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 11:07 am | Permalink
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