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Selecting text block wise

Another great way of quickly grabbing vertical sections of tables, lists or log files is the select block wise feature in Microsoft Word and some other editors. Basically selecting text block wise allows you to highlight columns of text vertically. It’s great for modifying log files and reformatting sections of code where more or less spacing is needed. In the past I’ve used Microsoft Word for this, but there are several freely available editors that support this feature too.Here is an example. Let’s say I had the following table and I wanted to copy only the ID Numbers in the entire table. To do this I would simply hold down the ALT key and then hold down the left mouse button while dragging the pointer over my selection as shown.

Other uses for this feature are the ability to trim off the unwanted columns or extra spaces. Another use is for beautifying code. For an easy to use web development IDE that allows block-wise selecting I suggest Komodo Edit 5. It’s free and allows all sorts of neat tricks including indenting vertical selections of code.

vertical blockwise selection

December 6, 2006

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