RE: [OT] Word select in Microsoft products?

From: Chris Pratley (
Date: Tue Oct 03 2000 - 14:28:10 EDT

Mark, you’re just too precise. Most of the rest of us aren’t able to control
the mouse so well, so we overshoot and back up all the time – then the
behaviour is automatic. J
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-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Davis []
Sent: October 3, 2000 7:31 AM
To: Unicode List
Subject: Re: [OT] Word select in Microsoft products?
Thanks for the detailed message. I tried it out, and if I have a sentence
quick ..... fox
I can select from between the "qu" to between the "fo" by waving the mouse
past the ends of both words, then backing up. I never would have guessed the
behavior, but it seems to work. Thanks!
----- Original Message -----
From: <> Chris Pratley
To: <> 'Mark Davis' ;
<> Unicode List
Sent: Monday, October 02, 2000 13:12
Subject: RE: [OT] Word select in Microsoft products?
There are two edit controls in the apps you mention which do AWS, and the
calling application is responsible for turning this behaviour on/off (I am
assuming it can be turned on/off programmatically). They are mshtml.dll (OE,
IE, and HTML messages in Outlook) and riched20.dll (plain text and RTF
messages in Outlook, and WordPad).
For WordPad, the switch to control riched20.dll is in
View/Options/Options/Automatic Word selection.
In mshtml at least, in your example, you can start selecting from the middle
of “Only”, select across “the”, then back up to include just the “t”. So the
selection *can* be made with a mouse, but I agree it is a pain.
Word has a similar but more refined correction algorithm when AWS is on
(actually mshtml.dll behaviour is cloning older Word behaviour). To select
parts of words, just backup slightly, and the AWS is turned off for the
right side or left side, depending on which way you backed up. So if you
really need to select the second half of a word AB and the first half of a
word CD, you click between A and B, drag-select to the right until AB is
completely selected by AWS, back up slightly to undo the AWS for AB then
forward select to C. Sounds complicated, but the real-world common case is
that people want to casually select word-blocks of text, and only
occasionally want to use the mouse to do intra-word surgery. (this is backed
up by user data). The goal for this feature then is to make it relatively
easy to cancel out of AWS when necessary without having to disable it
permanently. In past versions of the AWS feature, there were certain
selections that could not be made with a mouse at all, and that was bad J
Everyone has their preference though, which is why you can turn this off (at
least in Word). Personally I find in your example below it is more efficient
to use AWS to delete both words (so I can be sloppy with the mouse) and then
when my hands are back on the keyboard, type “The”. For me, typing the extra
“he” is faster than carefully positioning the selection in the middle of
“the”, even with AWS off. Word handles the spacing between words so I just
Sorry I can’t help you with the other products Mark. Maybe someone else
Chris Pratley
Group Program Manager
Microsoft Word
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-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Davis []
Sent: October 2, 2000 10:00 AM
To: Unicode List
Subject: [OT] Word select in Microsoft products?
[Off topic -- just looking for information from a broad audience.]
Anyone know how to turn off the extremely annoying automatic word select
(AWS) in Microsoft products? This is the "feature" that causes dragging
outside of a word to behave like double-click. I often want to select part
of a word, such when editing at the start of a sentence. For example, in the
    Only the finest products...
to remove the word "Only" I would click after the first "t", then drag back
to include "Only t", then type a T. I have been doing this for years; to
select words you just double-click.
In Word and PowerPoint, I can turn off AWS with Tools > Options > Edit >
"When selecting, automatically select entire word".
Excel, FrontPage, Access, Notepad, the desktop (e.g. in filenames), and the
vast majority of non-Microsoft products do the right thing WITHOUT setting
an option.
What I can't do is figure out how to turn off AWS in Internet Explorer,
Outlook Express, Outlook, or WordPad. These products are also -- of course
-- very inconsistent. When selecting characters in the main window, IE does
do AWS. But not in the Address bar, dialog boxes, file selection, etc.
Anyone have an idea?

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