When I rename a file from File Explorer, I click on an already selected file. This makes the entire filename minus the extension selected, with the cursor at the end of the filename. My renaming consists of appending something to the filename, so I press right arrow, then left arrow to unselect and bring the cursor back to the original place. Is there any short-cut for unselecting text? May also apply to the address bar in a web browser or File Explorer etc.

Edit: Just to be clear, I am asking for a one-click replacement for left-arrow, right-arrow. I want a short cut replicating left-arrow, right-arrow (if it exists). If not, I can live with pressing the two keys one after the other.

  • If such shortcut would exists, then where should the cursor end up? So my guess is: no such shortcut. (And if the cursor would be positioned at the start, you'd have to move it to the end to append something to the name...)
    – Arjan
    Nov 6, 2016 at 8:42
  • 1
    Duplicate of superuser.com/questions/1094823/…
    – Arjan
    Nov 6, 2016 at 8:44
  • I'm not sure for Explorer, but usually it'd be Esc for "every other aplication".
    – user373230
    Nov 6, 2016 at 13:05
  • 1
    @Arjan If I press left arrow, the cursor will end up one character to the left of the end of the selection. If I press right arrow, the cursor will end up one character to the right of the end of the selection. So makes sense the cursor should end up at the end of the selection.
    – TyanTowers
    Nov 7, 2016 at 5:35
  • I understand what you want. But my point was: how would a generic unselect work...? Maybe others expect the cursor to show at the start of the unselected text. So: I don't think such shortcut exists on any operating system or application. But maybe I'm wrong :-)
    – Arjan
    Nov 7, 2016 at 6:32

5 Answers 5


In Windows, you can deselect the whole page selection (gained by pressing CTRL + A) by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + HOME.

If you have a partial selection not starting from the beginning, the combo specified above will select the text from the beginning as far as the previously selected text.

In this case, the solution is first selecting all (CTRL + A) and then deselecting all with CTRL + SHIFT + HOME.

It works either on web pages or on Word or other applications implementing a common user interface.

  • CTRL + SHIFT + HOME is the only thing that worked for me. Great suggestion
    – Adam
    Jan 31, 2020 at 10:31

Press the up arrow, the cursor will remain in place!

  • When I try this (on Windows 7), the cursor up key acts like cursor left. Nov 20, 2019 at 1:30
  • Up arrow puts the cursor to the beginning of the filename, but down arrow does the trick! I gave upvote for helping me reach the answer. I will post the answer myself. Thanks!
    – TyanTowers
    Nov 21, 2019 at 1:56
  • Both work for Windows 10. Glad I was able to help... somewhat. Nov 21, 2019 at 21:06

Holding ctrl and a direction will move the cursor one string without highlighting text.

Holding Shift and a direction will move the cursor, one character, and will highlight the text.

Shift, ctrl and a direction can be used to move one string and highlight text.

Home and end can be used in place of a direction, to go to the start or end of a line, respectively. i.e. Ctrl, shift and home will go to the start of the line and Select the text.

In the above examples, where the term 'highlight' has been used, this is really referring to act of selecting/deselecting the text, depending on whether it had already been selected or not.

What your doing seems to be the best method for appending to the end of an existing filename, when you have 'hide extentions for known file types' disabled. If this were enabled then the end key would simply move the cursor to the end of the file names and deselect existing highlighted text.

Or http://www.google.com

would be viewed as the one string.

Hope this helps.

  • Ctrl+right arrow takes it to the very end of the filename, including the extension, which is not what I want. I guess there is no short cut that does exactly what I want :-(
    – TyanTowers
    Nov 7, 2016 at 5:42
  • 1
    'Hide extension for known filenames' will do what I want, but I hate, hate, hate that option
    – TyanTowers
    Nov 7, 2016 at 14:37

I'm not 100% sure if this is what you want, but here are my suggestions:

You could press Enter. Then the same file would be selected, but not in renaming mode, and the filename will be changed.

Press Esc if you've mistyped or changed your mind about renaming.

Another trick is to use Tab and Shift+Tab, this moves you to the next/previous file and puts you in renaming mode. It also accepts the change you made to the last filename.

Also, when you select the file, instead of clicking again, you can press F2 to go to renaming mode. The address bar can be reached by F4 or F6 usually (depends on program).

  • No, this is not what I want :) I want to remain in rename mode, but without selected text. (A short cut which works is left arrow, right arrow. Try my instructions and see for yourself)
    – TyanTowers
    Nov 7, 2016 at 5:37
  • @TyanTowers ah, I see now. I don't think there's a single key that does that, although you could program a hotkey in AutoHotkey to press right arrow then left arrow.
    – Zekoslaw
    Nov 7, 2016 at 16:31

If I press the down arrow, it does what I want. Thanks to @Paul Hosler for helping me find the answer.

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