Select a shape or other object in Word

Select objects, shapes, pictures or text boxes, to change or move them. Sizing handles indicate that a shape or object has been selected.

Click or tap the object to select it. If that doesn't select it, go to Home > Select and do one of the following:

  • To select all of the text in the document, choose Select All.

  • To select objects that are hidden, stacked, or behind text, choose Select Objects. To select an object, click or tap when your pointer becomes a selection arrow White pointer with 4-headed arrow as it moves over an object. To select multiple objects, press and hold Ctrl while you click or tap the objects that you want.

  • To select text with similar formatting, choose Select All Text with Similar Formatting.

  • To open the task pane where you can select, multi-select, show, hide, or change the order of objects, choose Selection Pane, and then select the options that you want.

Select options on Home menu

Tips for selecting shapes and objects

To do this

Do the following

Select multiple objects.

Press and hold Shift or Ctrl while you select the objects.

Select an object that is under other objects and cycle forward through the stack of objects.

Select the top object, and then press Tab.

Select an object that is under other objects and cycle backward through the stack of objects.

Select the top object, and then press Shift+Tab.

Select objects that are part of a group.

Select the group, and then do one of the following:

  • To select one object, click or tap the object.

  • To select multiple shapes in a group, press and hold Shift or Ctrl while you click or tap the shapes.

Cancel the selection of one object at a time.

Press and hold Shift or Ctrl while you click or tap each object.

See Also

Group or ungroup shapes, pictures, or other objects

Select objects, shapes, pictures or text boxes, to change or move them. Sizing handles indicate that a shape or object has been selected.

Using the Selection Pane

If you can't select an object or there many objects to select, use the Selection pane.

  1. Select one of the objects you want to manage.

  2. Go to Shape Format or Picture Format> Arrange  Arrange button > Selection Pane.

    Selection Pane button

  3. The Selection Pane opens with all your objects listed, and you can do any of the following:

    • Drag an item up or down in the list to change the order.    If you have objects that cover each other, this will bring an object to the front, or put it behind another object.

    • Choose to show or hide objects from the Selection Pane.    To hide an object, select the eye icon in the Selection Pane indicating that the object is Showing The Show icon in the Selection Pane . The icon changes to a simple icon indicating that the object is Hidden Shows the icon indicating that an object is hidden from view. To show the object once again, select the Hidden icon Shows the icon indicating that an object is hidden , and the object reappears.

    • Group or ungroup objects listed in the Selection Pane.    If you select multiple objects by using Command + Click, you can then group them or ungroup them by selecting Format Shape or Format Picture > Arrange  Arrange button > Group Objects.

      Group objects button

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