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10.7: A text selection shortcut Apps
I cannot get the hang of 3-finger drag especially when trying to select a row(s) of text. The obvious method is to put the cursor at the beginning and drag, or hold down Shift as you select the last character. Here's a better way, I think.

Double-tap the first word (using two fingers) to select it, then hold the Shift key and double-tap the last word -- all is selected in between. Subtle but to me much better, and it requires much less finger coordination.

[crarko adds: This works fine with the Magic Trackpad; and also seems to me a bit easier than aiming with the 3-finger drag, although that works too with some practice.]
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10.7: A text selection shortcut | 11 comments | Create New Account
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10.7: A text selection shortcut
Authored by: r-spx on Aug 30, '11 07:44:19AM

This makes no sense to me.

Three finger selecting? If I try that OS X just switches spaces.

Three finger tapping on a word opens its dictionary definition pop-out window.

Two finger tapping on a word just zooms-in Safari to that part of the web page.

Am I missing something here? Is this really a tip only for standalone trackpad users? Can that be clearly marked on tips?

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10.7: A text selection shortcut
Authored by: prachigauriar on Aug 30, '11 07:59:46AM

If you go to the Point & Click tab of the Trackpad system prefs, you’ll see a checkbox for “Three finger drag.” This hint applies if that’s turned on.

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10.7: A text selection shortcut
Authored by: landis on Aug 30, '11 08:03:11AM

Actually I have a new MacBook Air and didn't know about the 3-finger drag. Now that I do, I see that this works pretty darn well. But I can't figure out the double-tap mentioned in this hint as this does zoom in on my system as the above commenter posted. What am I needing to do differently for this hint?

These new gestures are like learning to mouse all over again....

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10.7: A text selection shortcut
Authored by: canisbos on Aug 30, '11 10:43:23AM

Not sure why the OP says to double-tap with two fingers.

Double-tap (with one finger) to select the first word. Shift-single-tap the last word to select up to and including it; no double-tap required on the last word.

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10.7: A text selection shortcut
Authored by: philostein on May 26, '12 02:13:16PM

And even just click at the start of a paragraph, then shift-click at the end of the paragraph. Works in browsers (Chrome) too, even though no cursor is visible.

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10.7: A text selection shortcut
Authored by: sugarquay on Aug 30, '11 08:06:29AM

I agree that Lion's three-finger dragging option is a ridiculously cumbersome way of doing things, and in fact it's the one option in Trackpad preferences I have switched off on all systems. Happily, good old one-finger dragging is still an option in Lion, albeit a bizarrely well-hidden one.

To reenable it, visit the Universal Access system preference, Mouse & Trackpad tab, and click Trackpad Options. Select Dragging (with or without Drag Lock), click Done and voilà - one-click dragging is back, for all your text selection and window repositioning needs.

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10.7: A text selection shortcut
Authored by: derekJAB on Aug 30, '11 10:19:24AM

Oh wow!

Thanks for this. Great find.

Worth 5 stars as a separate hint.

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10.7: A text selection shortcut
Authored by: arcticmac on Aug 30, '11 09:32:48AM

In older versions of Mac OS X (10.6 at least, and probably older), and I'm guessing 10.7, though I haven't played with it, double clicking on a word will select it, and put the text selection system in "word selection" mode. Notable things about this mode are that shift-clicking or dragging to extend the selection will do so in whole-word increments, and that when you copy and paste the selected text, it will automatically make sure that the pasted text is padded by spaces on both sides (if there is already a space, it won't add a second, but it there isn't one at all, then it inserts an extra one). Note that to extend the selection, it is only necessary to shift-single-click rather than shift-double-click as stated by the original poster (although perhaps that's just an annoying change in 10.7).

Triple-clicking works the same way but selects paragraphs instead of words.

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10.7: A text selection shortcut
Authored by: dilvish1984 on Aug 31, '11 12:08:11PM
You've identified the important factor that makes the three-finger-selection work so well for me: Once a user enters word-selection or paragraph-selection mode, all additional selection remains in that mode until the user leaves the mode by clicking outside the current selection… So for example, (this assumes a Magic Trackpad or equivalent built-in trackpad with three-finger-drag and tap-to-click enabled) to select text by words, double-tap the first or last word you want selected, then three-finger-drag the rest of the text being sure to start the three-finger-drag within the currently selected word. The additional text selected will be nicely constrained to word boundaries. (The same appears to be true with a triple-click and paragraphs — or is that sentences? [that might depend on the software, I suppose]).

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Finally figured this out
Authored by: r-spx on Aug 31, '11 12:22:22AM

If you've a trackpad, go to System Preferences and click "Three Finger Drag". This isn't activated by default, at least not on my MacBook Pro (2009).

Although this says it lets you "move with three fingers", with the idea that you can move windows, it ALSO lets you drag with three fingers to select text. This is undocumented, but a nice tip in itself.

Once activated, the three-finger swipe to switch spaces is switched to FOUR fingers.

Seriously, this should all be explained in the tip. robg would have ensured readers wouldn't have been left so confused.

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10.7: A text selection shortcut
Authored by: LRB on Sep 01, '11 02:18:04AM

Just triple-click a word and it'll select the full line.

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