I would like to just select (¬Q) without word selecting both brackets.

I know if I move my cursor back to the same position word will select correctly, but it's annoying to have to do that every time.

Is there any setting to disable this?

  • 40
    You can also hold Shift+arrow key for selection
    – Andrew T.
    Jan 24, 2016 at 7:42
  • 8
    The way around it without disabling the option entirely (as it is still useful in certain places) is to drag the cursor back the other way to deselect the extra bit.
    – Bob
    Jan 24, 2016 at 8:15
  • 1
    @pjc50 I used LiceCap.
    – Dave Chen
    Jan 25, 2016 at 18:26
  • 6
    The Word "equation tool" is incredibly tedious to use and worse to edit. I strongly recommend either using the Eq field or an external LaTex-based equation editor. Jan 26, 2016 at 19:54
  • 1
    @CarlWitthoft the Word "equation tool" (2007+) understands LaTeX
    – Skiminok
    Jan 30, 2016 at 0:22

6 Answers 6


Under File/Options/Advanced, there is the option 'When selecting, automatically select entire word'. It is on by default, you can switch it off.

  • 6
    I just figured out that the same option exists in Outlook as well, except that its under File/Options/Mail/Editor Options/Advanced. Took me a bit of time to find it after reading your post, so thought I might write it down here in case anyone else has trouble finding it =)
    – simonra
    Jan 27, 2016 at 7:25
  • 7
    And - if you want to easily select whole words again just use Doubleclick + Drag on a Word and you will get word-selection :-) (This also works in most Browsers and other software)
    – Falco
    Jan 27, 2016 at 13:01
  • 1
    @simonra sadly doesn't exist as a group policy, unlike the same setting in Word and Powerpoint. I hate all these inconsistencies in Microsoft's products.. Aug 22, 2022 at 23:08
  • ♥ Now if only I could get it to stop selecting the freaking space at the end of the last word on double-click [and drag] without having to Shift + Left-Arrow. 😒
    – Chiramisu
    Jun 18, 2023 at 4:26

You shouldn't need to move your cursor right back to where you started, just back up a little....specifically to anywhere within the word that you initially started your selection from.

enter image description here

  • 4
    "back up a little" = back up to the same word as the one you started the selection in (in the gif, the word "selected"). In the situation in the question, this means backing up to the same as the start position, which was mentioned in the question?
    – grg
    Jan 24, 2016 at 18:26
  • Your edit seems to just be what I said, but my point was in the gif in the question there's punctuation, so backing up to the same word is only by backing up to the starting point because the word break is the space to the right? I can post a gif if it helps, but basically what I'm trying to say is that whilst this works for sentences, in the literal example in the question you must move all the way back to the start point, or at least it only works for me with the characters used in the question when going back to the start point?
    – grg
    Jan 24, 2016 at 21:04
  • 55
    This answer is exactly what he claims he doesn't want to do.
    – Aganju
    Jan 25, 2016 at 1:30

If the snippet you want to select does not extend into the next line, you can also use block selection with Alt+Drag.

  • This has a nasty habit of opening the Research Pane. Jul 11, 2019 at 15:20

I use Shift+Any arrow key to select the text, where arrow keys are Up, Down, Left or Right.

  • 1
    This has the same effect as selecting by dragging (in o365 word at least) Jun 16, 2020 at 9:48

The location to change the option permanently has changed when I found it in October 2019 in Outlook 365 and has a longer path:

File > Options > Mail > Composes Messages > Editor Options [button] > Advanced > Editing Options > [second item in list]

  • Does this also affect Word, which is the subject of the question? Mar 5 at 16:44

For anyone looking for help with this more recently, the location of the setting has changed! Now it's under Word>Preferences>Edit>Editing Options, and then you can deselect the option "Select entire word when selecting text". For reference, I'm using Word 16.84 on macOS Monterey.

A screenshot of the Microsoft Word Preferences>Editing menu, that shows the location of the relevant preference. "Select entire word when selecting text" is the seventh option on the list.

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