Word selects preceding word or punctuation

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Article ID: 176913 - View products that this article applies to.
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SYMPTOMS

If the "When selecting, automatically select entire word" option is turned on and you select the first word in a sentence, Word may select the period (or other end-of-sentence punctuation such as a question mark) at the end of the previous sentence.

Similarly, when you select the second of two words, sometimes Word selects the first word as well.

CAUSE

You selected two or more spaces to the left of your selected word.

Word defines any spaces before the first space to the left of a word as part of the preceding word. Word defines the end-of-sentence punctuation as a separate word. When there are two or more spaces between two words and you select more than the space to the left of the word, Word automatically selects the first word (or the end-of-sentence punctuation), too.

For example, in the sentence below, Word selects ". This " if you select both spaces preceding "This", whereas Word only selects " This " if you select only one space preceding "This".
This is a sentence. This is another sentence.
NOTE: There are two spaces between the two sentences. Word defines the period as a separate word, so when you select its trailing space, Word selects the period as well.

As another example, if you select more than the first space to the left of "Apple" in the sentence below, Word selects "Fruit" as well.
   Fruit    Apple
				
NOTE: There are four spaces between "Fruit" and "Apple".

WORKAROUND

To work around this problem, use one of the following methods.

Method 1

To select text using the mouse when the "When selecting, automatically select entire word" option is turned on, do not select the space before the first word in a sentence.

Method 2

Select the text using the keyboard instead of the mouse.

Method 3

Turn off the "When selecting, automatically select entire word" option, follow these steps:
  1. On the Tools menu, click Options (Windows) or Preferences (Macintosh).
  2. Click the Edit tab and then click to clear the "When selecting, automatically select entire word" check box.
  3. Click OK.

MORE INFORMATION

The "When selecting, automatically select entire word" option selects the space following any word you select. When there are two or more spaces between sentences and you select two or more of those spaces, Word defines those spaces as part of the preceding word, so it selects that word as well.

When you select the "When selecting, automatically select entire word" option, you can expect Word to select entire words as you select multiple words in a sentence. For example, if you click and hold the mouse button at the end of the sentence and then slowly select the text backward in the sentence, Word selects whole words at a time as you move the mouse. If you do not have the "When selecting, automatically select entire word" option selected, Word will select single letters at a time as you move the mouse.

For more information about this issue in earlier versions of Microsoft Word, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
105706 Word selects preceding word or punctuation

Properties

Article ID: 176913 - Last Review: October 11, 2007 - Revision: 2.2
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Word 97 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Word 98 for Macintosh
Keywords: 
kbhowto kbprb KB176913
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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