Scientific articles are usually formatted with two columns. Is there a way to highlight text from only one column with Preview?

Like in my example I want to highlight only from Tree species to less so without the left column.

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1 Answer 1


Hold the ⌥alt/option key as you drag your selection to make rectangular text selections.

Preview does attempt to detect when there are columns in the document and restrict the selection appropriately, but when this fails, you can manually constrain the selection to the column.

  • It's kind of strange, by holding the ⌥ key the selection seems correct. However when I release the key or the mouse the selected text shifts to the entire page width...
    – Manfredo
    Apr 18, 2017 at 23:10
  • You need to exclude the margins of the text: option-select from 'roductivity' to 'Gentr', for instance, and then highlight. I have this issue from time to time, and this workaround works fine.
    – Fr.
    Apr 19, 2017 at 0:22
  • Sorry could you be more specific please. "option-select from 'roductivity' to 'Gentr' " where?
    – Manfredo
    Apr 19, 2017 at 14:00

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