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Typing and Editing Text

  • Wallace Wang
Chapter

Abstract

One of the more common uses for a computer is to create text. Creating text means knowing how to type, edit, copy, move, and delete text no matter what program you may use.

Keywords

Text Color Text Background Left Mouse Button Unusual Character Smiley Face 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Most people use a computer to type text to write letters, reports, blog posts, or messages. Since typing text (letters, numbers, and symbols) is so common, you need to know how to type and edit text no matter what type of program you use.

The basics of typing and editing text include knowing the following:
  • How to type text, including unusual symbols such as foreign language characters

  • How to select text

  • How to copy, move, and delete text

Before you can type text, you need to move the cursor where you want that text to appear. The cursor shows you exactly where the text will appear the moment that you start typing.

To move the cursor to a new location, you can press the up, down, left, or right cursor keys on the keyboard, or you can move the pointer and click the mouse or trackpad.

Typing creates text such as letters, numbers, or symbols. Once you’ve typed text, you can modify it. To modify text, you must first select the text that you want to modify by using the keyboard or the mouse or trackpad.

Once you’ve selected text to modify, you can then choose a way to modify it, such as deleting the text or moving it to a new location.

Moving the Cursor

The fastest way to move the cursor is to use the mouse or trackpad by pointing and clicking. The problem with the mouse and trackpad is that they’re not always precise. Trying to position the pointer in the exact spot that you want the cursor to appear can be difficult, so that’s why you may also want to use the keyboard.

The keyboard’s cursor keys slowly move the cursor one character to the left or right, or one line up or down. Although the cursor keys move the cursor slowly, they do move it more precisely.

It’s often faster to use the mouse or trackpad to place the cursor near the area where you want to start typing. Once you place the cursor near the area where you want to type, you can use the cursor keys on the keyboard to move the cursor more precisely to the exact position.

To make the keyboard faster at moving the cursor, OS X offers the following shortcuts, which use the modifier keys in combination with the cursor keys:
  • Command+Left arrow: Moves the cursor to the beginning of a line

  • Command+Right arrow: Moves the cursor to the end of a line

  • Command+Up arrow: Moves the cursor up to the front of the previous paragraph

  • Command+Down arrow: Moves the cursor down to the front of the next paragraph

  • Option+Left arrow: Moves the cursor one word to the left

  • Option+Right arrow: Moves the cursor one word to the right

Note

Not all programs may accept these keystroke shortcuts for moving the cursor. Some programs, such as Microsoft Word, offer shortcuts of their own, such as pressing the Home key to move the cursor to the beginning of a line, or the End key to move the cursor to the end of a line.

Selecting Text

After you’ve created text, you can manipulate it to do the following:
  • Delete text

  • Change the text size

  • Change the text font

  • Change the text color

  • Copy text to paste in another location

  • Move text to another location

Before you can manipulate text, you must first select the text that you want to modify. To select text, you can use the mouse, the keyboard, or a combination of both.

Selecting Text with the Mouse or Trackpad

The mouse and the trackpad offer different ways to select text. If you click the mouse or trackpad anywhere in text, you move the cursor where you clicked. However, if you double-click within a word, you can select just that word. If you triple-click, you can select an entire paragraph.
  • Click: Places the cursor in text

  • Double-click inside a word: Selects the word

  • Triple-click inside a paragraph: Selects the entire paragraph

Note

Remember that double-clicking and triple-clicking mean that you click in rapid succession. If you allow too much time to pass between clicks, OS X interprets it as multiple single clicks.

If you want to select text within a paragraph or text that spans across multiple paragraphs, double- or triple-clicking won’t work. That’s when you need to drag the mouse or trackpad over the text that you want to select.

To select text by dragging , follow these steps:
  1. 1.

    Move the pointer to the beginning of the text that you want to select.

     
  2. 2.

    Hold down the left mouse button (or press down on the trackpad with one finger).

     
  3. 3.
    Move the mouse (or slide your fingertip across the trackpad while pressing down). As you move the mouse, or slide your finger across the trackpad, you select text (see Figure 4-1).
    Figure 4-1.

    Dragging the mouse or trackpad selects text

     
  4. 4.

    Release the left mouse button (or lift your finger off the trackpad) when you’re done selecting text.

     
Double- or triple-clicking allow you to select entire words or paragraphs. Dragging is another way to select multiple lines of text. A third way to select text uses a combination of the Shift key and the mouse or trackpad; the following explains how to do this:
  1. 1.

    Move the cursor to the beginning of the text that you want to select.

     
  2. 2.

    Move the pointer to the end of the text you want to select.

     
  3. 3.

    Hold down the Shift key and click the left mouse button (or press and let go of the trackpad surface) to select this text.

     

Selecting Text with the Keyboard

Using the mouse to select text can often be imprecise because you need to click exactly where you want to define the beginning or end of the text that you want to select. If you’re one letter off, then your selected text won’t be exactly what you wanted.

For more accuracy in selecting text, you can use the keyboard. To select text with the keyboard, follow these steps:
  1. 1.

    Move the cursor to the beginning of the text that you want to select.

     
  2. 2.

    Hold down the Shift key and press the up/down, left/right cursor keys. Each time you press a cursor key, you select text in the direction that you moved the cursor.

     
  3. 3.

    Release the Shift key when you’re done selecting text.

     

Note

Don’t forget that in addition to using the cursor keys, you can also use the shortcut keys for moving the cursor to the beginning of a line (Command+Left arrow) or to the end of a line (Command+Right arrow).

If you ever select text and then change your mind about it, you can deselect text in one of two ways:
  • Tap any of the cursor keys

  • Click anywhere

Deleting Text

One of the simplest ways to modify selected text is to delete it. After you’ve selected text, just tap the Delete key on the keyboard.

Note

Any time you modify text (such as deleting) and then suddenly change your mind, press Command+Z or click the Edit menu and choose Undo (Edit ➤ Undo). The Undo command reverses the last command that you performed. If you keep choosing the Undo command, you’ll keep reversing the last commands that you chose.

Copying Text

Another common way to manipulate text is to copy it from one place and paste it into another. You can copy and paste text within the same document, or you can copy and paste text from one program to a completely different program. For example, you might want to copy text from a browser (e.g., Safari) window and paste it in a word processor (e.g., Pages or Microsoft Word) window.

To copy text, you must do the following:
  1. 1.

    Select the text that you want to copy.

     
  2. 2.

    Choose the Copy command.

     
  3. 3.

    Move the cursor to the new location where you want the place a second copy of the selected text.

     
  4. 4.

    Choose the Paste command.

     
To choose the Copy command, you have the following three options:
  • Click the Edit menu and click Copy (Edit ➤ Copy)

  • Press Command+C

  • Right-click over the selected text, and when a pop-up menu appears, choose Copy, as shown in Figure 4-2
    Figure 4-2.

    Right-clicking selected text displays a pop-up menu

Whenever you copy anything, OS X stores that selected item temporarily. If you select and copy something else, OS X forgets any previously copied item. That means that if you select and copy a paragraph, and then select and copy a second paragraph, OS X only remembers the last paragraph you selected and copied.

After you’ve selected and copied text, you’ll eventually need to use the Paste command to place a copy of that text somewhere else. You have three ways to choose the Paste command :
  • Click the Edit menu and click Paste (Edit ➤ Paste)

  • Press Command+V

  • Right-click over the selected text, and when a pop-up menu appears, choose Paste (see Figure 4-2)

Moving Text

When you copy text, you create a duplicate of any text you selected. However, if you want to move text from one location to another, you need to use the Cut command , as follows:
  1. 1.

    Select the text that you want to move.

     
  2. 2.

    Choose the Cut command (your selected text will disappear).

     
  3. 3.

    Move the cursor to the location that you want to place the selected text.

     
  4. 4.

    Choose the Paste command.

     
To choose the Cut command , you have the following three options:
  • Click the Edit menu and click Cut (Edit ➤ Cut)

  • Press Command+X

  • Right-click over the selected text, and when a pop-up menu appears, choose Cut (see Figure 4-2)

Note

Remember, when you select text and choose the Cut command, make sure that you move the cursor to a new location and use the Paste command as soon as possible. The Paste command only works with the text that was last selected.

Copying and Moving Text by Dragging

If you find copying and cutting too slow, you can copy and cut text by using the mouse or trackpad instead. To copy or move text using the mouse or trackpad, you need to follow these steps:
  1. 1.

    Select the text that you want to move.

     
  2. 2.

    Move the pointer over the selected text using the mouse or trackpad.

     
  3. 3.

    Hold down the left mouse button (or press a finger on the trackpad surface).

     
  4. 4.

    Drag the mouse (or slide your finger on the trackpad surface). As you drag the mouse or slide your finger on the trackpad surface, the cursor moves to show where the text will appear when you let go of the mouse or trackpad.

     
  5. 5.

    Release the mouse or trackpad to move your text at the current cursor location.

     

These steps let you move selected text by dragging it to a new location. This is equivalent to choosing the Cut and Paste command.

If only want to copy text, hold down the Option key in step 3 before holding down the left mouse button or pressing a finger on the trackpad surface. Then in step 5, release the Option key along with the mouse or trackpad. When you copy text by holding down the Option key, you see a plus sign in a green circle, as shown in Figure 4-3.
Figure 4-3.

Holding down the Option key while dragging displays a plus sign in a green circle to identify the Copy command

Formatting Text

The most visually interesting way to modify text is to format it. Formatting can mean one or more of the following:
  • Changing the text size (known as the font size)

  • Changing the text font

  • Changing the text color and/or background color

  • Changing the text style (bold, underline, or italics)

The font size defines how big or small text might appear, measured in points, as shown in Figure 4-4.
Figure 4-4.

The different appearance of text displayed in various font sizes

Fonts determine the appearance of each character. For example, fonts can make your text look like Old English, calligraphy, or even handwriting, as shown in Figure 4-5.
Figure 4-5.

The different appearance of text displayed in various font sizes

Note

Not all computers have the same fonts installed and not all programs support text formatting. If you need to share files with others, make sure that they have the same fonts installed or else your text will look different on another computer.

Text color defines the color of each character. In this book, every character is colored black. The text background defines the color that appears behind each character. In this book, the background color is white.

Changing the text background is like using a highlighting marker to emphasize text, such as making the text background yellow or orange. When working with text colors and background colors, always make sure that they contrast. For example, you don’t want to choose a light text color and a light background color because that would be hard to read. Instead, you either want a darker text color and a lighter background color, or a lighter text color and a darker background color, as shown in Figure 4-6.
Figure 4-6.

Changing the text color and background color can make text stand out

Yet another way to format text is to modify its style. The three most common styles are underline, bold, and italics, which you can also combine, as show in Figure 4-7.
Figure 4-7.

Three common text formatting styles

To choose different styles for text, you can use keyboard shortcuts, as follows:
  • Command+U to underline text

  • Command+B to bold text

  • Command+I to italicize text

To turn off a text style, simply select the text again and choose the same command. So if you formatted text by underlining it, you can select the underlined text and choose the underline command again (Command+U) to remove the underlining.

Typing Unusual Characters

Most keyboards display letters, numbers, and symbols such as #, *, and @, which you can type by pressing a key or holding down the Shift key and pressing another key. However, what happens if you need to type characters that don’t appear on the keyboard? For example, many keyboards don’t have keys for typing foreign language characters that use accent marks.

Fortunately, OS X offers a shortcut for typing foreign language characters. Just hold down the letter key that represents a letter with an accent mark in a non-English language, such as a, e, i, o, u, or c. When holding down one of these letter keys, OS X displays a list of common accent marks, as shown in Figure 4-8.
Figure 4-8.

Holding down a letter key displays a menu of common accent marks

Then, type the number that corresponds to the character that you want and OS X will enter it in the program.

If you need to type more unusual characters or symbols, you have two options:
  • Choose Edit ➤ Emoji & Symbols (click the Edit menu and click Emoji & Symbols)

  • Press Control+Command+Spacebar

When you choose either of these two options, you get a Characters window that lets you choose from different categories of symbols, as shown in Figure 4-9.
Figure 4-9.

The Characters window lets you create unusual characters

The Characters window lets you choose from several different categories of symbols, such as currency symbols, emoji, or math symbols. To choose a symbol from the Characters window, click a category in the left pane (such as Emoji or Currency Symbols). For the Emoji category, you also need to click a subcategory, such as Food & Drink or Smileys & People. Then double-click the unusual character that you want to insert where the cursor appears.

When you’re done with the Characters window, you need to click the red button (the close button) in the upper-left corner of the Characters window to make it disappear.

To see how to add unusual characters, follow these steps:
  1. 1.

    Click the Finder icon on the Dock. The Finder window appears. If a Finder window does not appear, click the File menu and click New Finder Window (File ➤ New Finder Window).

     
  2. 2.

    Click Applications in the left pane of the Finder window. The Finder window now displays icons of all the programs installed on your Mac.

     
  3. 3.
    Double-click the Pages icon. Pages is a free word processor that comes with every new Mac. Notice that the Pages icon appears on the Dock and the Pages menu bar appears at the top of the screen, as shown in Figure 4-10.
    Figure 4-10.

    The Pages icon on the Dock and the Pages menu bar at the top of the screen

     
  4. 4.

    Click the Edit menu and click Emoji & Symbols (Edit ➤ Emoji & Symbols), or press Control+Command+Spacebar. The Characters window appears.

     
  5. 5.

    Click the Emoji category and then click the Smileys & People subcategory to see the list of smiling faces that you can choose from (see Figure 4-9).

     
  6. 6.

    Double-click a smiley face. Notice that your chosen smiley face now appears in the Pages document.

     
  7. 7.

    Click the red button (the close button) in the upper-left corner of the Characters window.

     
  8. 8.

    Click the Pages menu title and then click Quit Pages (Pages ➤ Quit Pages). Pages displays a dialog window asking if you want to save your document.

     
  9. 9.

    Click Delete. Pages quits. It does not save your document.

     

By using the Characters window, you can type a variety of symbols and characters that you can’t type on a keyboard.

Note

The Latin category in the Characters window also lets you choose common foreign language characters.

Summary

As you can see, there are multiple ways to modify the appearance of text in any program. With most programs, you can find different ways to emphasize and spice up the appearance of anything that you write.

Just remember that you can use the mouse and/or keyboard to select text. The mouse can be faster but the keyboard can be more precise.

Once you’ve selected text, you can modify it by changing its size, font, or style. One common way to manipulate text is to copy or move it. To copy selected text, use the Command+C command. To cut selected text, use the Command+X command.

After you’ve copied or cut text, you can paste it using the Command+V command. Just make sure that after you cut or copy selected text, you choose the Paste command as soon as possible, because if you choose the cut or copy command again, the Paste command will only work with the last text selected.

You can type foreign language characters by holding down a letter key and choosing the correct character from a menu.

If you want to create unusual symbols, you can do that through the Characters window, which opens by using the Control+Command+Space bar command.

With so many ways to create and manipulate text, you’ll be able to make your text look good no matter which program you use.

Copyright information

© Wallace Wang 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wallace Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.San DiegoUSA

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