How to Select All in Microsoft Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Selecting all the content in Microsoft Word is simple and quick. You can do it by using the shortcut Ctrl+A (Cmd+A on a Mac), or by clicking on “Select” in the Home tab and then choosing “Select All.” Once you’ve selected everything, you can perform various actions like formatting, copying, or deleting the content.

After you complete the action, everything in your document will be highlighted, indicating that it’s selected. You can then proceed to make your desired changes or actions to the entire document at once.


When working with Microsoft Word, there are times when you need to format, edit, or manipulate the entire content of your document. Whether it’s changing the font style, adjusting the alignment, or simply copying the document to paste elsewhere, knowing how to select all can save you a significant amount of time and clicks. This task is particularly useful when dealing with lengthy documents where manually highlighting each section would be impractical.

So why is this topic important? Well, efficiency is key in today’s fast-paced world, and being able to quickly select all content in your Word document is a basic but essential skill that can improve your productivity. This knowledge is relevant to students, office workers, writers, and anyone who uses Microsoft Word for creating documents. Knowing the shortcuts and steps to select all content can make your document editing process much smoother and more efficient.

Related: How to Delete Microsoft Word Documents: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step by Step Tutorial on How to Select All in Microsoft Word

Before diving into the steps, let’s understand what we’ll accomplish. By following these steps, you’ll learn how to select all the content in your Word document quickly and efficiently, allowing you to perform any desired action on the entire document.

Step 1: Open your Word document

Open the Microsoft Word document you want to select all content from.

This step is self-explanatory; you need to have your document open in Microsoft Word to be able to select all the text.

Step 2: Use the shortcut Ctrl+A (Cmd+A on a Mac)

Press the Ctrl and A keys simultaneously on your keyboard (Cmd+A if you’re using a Mac).

This keyboard shortcut is the quickest way to select all content in your document. It’s universal for most text editing software, so it’s a good one to remember.

Step 3: Alternatively, use the ‘Select’ option in the Home tab

Click on the Home tab, then find and click on ‘Select’ in the Editing group, and choose ‘Select All’ from the dropdown menu.

This method is a good alternative for those who prefer using the mouse over keyboard shortcuts. It yields the same result but takes a bit longer.


Time-savingSelecting all content with a shortcut or a few clicks is much faster than manually highlighting text, especially in longer documents.
EfficiencyBeing able to select all content at once makes it easier to apply formatting changes or actions to the entire document without missing any sections.
SimplicityThe process is straightforward and can be done by anyone, regardless of their proficiency with Microsoft Word.


Accidental SelectionIt’s easy to accidentally select all and overwrite or delete important content if you’re not careful.
System SpecificThe keyboard shortcut may vary depending on your operating system, which can cause confusion.
LimitationsIn some cases, headers, footers, and text boxes may not be included in the ‘Select All’ action, requiring additional steps.

Additional Information

While the steps to select all in Microsoft Word are simple, there are some additional tips and insights that can enhance your understanding and use of this feature. For example, if you want to select all text with similar formatting, you can use the ‘Select Objects’ or ‘Select Text with Similar Formatting’ options found under the ‘Select’ dropdown menu in the Home tab. This can be particularly handy when you want to change a specific style throughout your document.

Another helpful tip is to ensure you’ve saved your document before using the ‘Select All’ feature, especially if you’re planning to make significant changes. This way, if anything goes wrong or you change your mind, you can revert to the saved version without losing any work.

Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that while the ‘Select All’ command is incredibly useful, it’s also powerful. As such, it’s crucial to use it intentionally to avoid accidental deletions or changes. Always double-check before you proceed with any actions after selecting all content.


  1. Open your Word document.
  2. Use the shortcut Ctrl+A (Cmd+A on a Mac).
  3. Alternatively, use the ‘Select’ option in the Home tab.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does ‘Select All’ include footnotes and endnotes?

Yes, ‘Select All’ typically includes footnotes and endnotes in your document along with the main text.

Will ‘Select All’ include text in headers and footers?

In most cases, ‘Select All’ will not include text in headers and footers. You’ll need to separately select those areas if you wish to edit them.

Can I undo the ‘Select All’ action?

Yes, you can undo the ‘Select All’ action by pressing Ctrl+Z (Cmd+Z on a Mac) or by clicking the ‘Undo’ button in the Quick Access Toolbar.

Is there a way to select all text except certain sections?

No, the ‘Select All’ command does not allow for exclusions. However, you can manually deselect specific sections by holding down the Ctrl key (Cmd key on a Mac) and clicking on the sections you want to exclude.

Can ‘Select All’ be used to select only images or tables?

No, ‘Select All’ selects all content, including text, images, and tables. To select only images or tables, you’ll need to use the ‘Select Objects’ option or select them manually.


Mastering the ‘Select All’ command in Microsoft Word is a game-changer when it comes to editing and formatting your documents. Not only does it save you time, but it also ensures consistency and efficiency in your work.

Remember, though, with great power comes great responsibility. Use the select all feature wisely to avoid accidental mishaps and always keep a backup of your work. Whether you’re a student, a professional, or just someone who likes to keep things neat and tidy in their documents, knowing how to select all in Microsoft Word is an essential skill that will serve you well.