I am always pulling my hairs out of my head when I have to use Microsoft Office. Especially when it comes to select a piece of text with the mouse.

I would like to clarify this once for all. Hopefully somebody can help...

When I try to select a word with the mouse I point the beginning of the word with the mouse then left-click and move my cursor to the en of the word. Eventually I release the left-button and my selection should be done.

Unfortunately with Office products things are not as easy. Taking in example this string below, when I start the selection at the beginning of ( and move the cursor toward d nothing weird happens until I reach d. At this time the beginning of the selection jump by itself over +:

 /\d+(?= dollars)/

 /\d+(?= dollars)/

Same when I try to select part of these two words:

 Negative feeling

 Negative feeling

As soon as I move the cursor over the second e both words got selected.

I know that I can disable this feature from the Advanced Options->When selecting, automatically select entire word. The real question here is: why does it act like this? In which case this can be useful for?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, DavidPostill, Scott, JakeGould, Twisty Impersonator Sep 8 '15 at 2:18

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    VTC: Only MS knows why they chose that as default. :) My guess: it's Word, it's for writing documents, when writing and editing documents very seldom are you going to want to copy half a word around (in comparison to copying whole words). Be happy they give you the option to change it. ;) – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Aug 27 '15 at 21:23

I think, such behaviour is useful for most people, who use Office just for simple texts.

May be, it is convenient and for you too, but you don't pay attention in common cases, and you focus the attention, when such behaviour is annoying?


This is most likely the default because most people using Microsoft Word are using it to deal with standard text that's in sentences and paragraphs. It's useful for a user in this situation to be able to select multiple words without worrying about having to be precise in their selection.

On the other hand, users that work with text like code or something similar generally wouldn't use Word to write their code. If they're on Windows, they could be using plain text editors like Windows Notepad, Notepad++, or IDEs where this snapping doesn't occur.


As has already been pointed out, this feature (which you already know how to disable) is meant to address the fact the most of the time when selecting a "word" you want to select the entire thing.

It's easy to defeat an automatically extended selection on the fly.

When Word automatically extends your selection, without releasing the mouse button, simply move your cursor slightly to the left to undo the extended selection, then continue moving right to complete your partial selection.

For example, once you've selected + in the following text and Word extends your selection:

/\d+(?= dollars)/

Without releasing your mouse button, move your selection cursor back to the d and Word will de-select the extended selection. Then continue making your partial selection.

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