We all now we can select all text (in a text area) in any app by using Ctrl/Cmd + A. And this feature is also available for a lot of other contexts such as file selection (in finder for ex), content selection (in photoshop for ex) etc... But in those other contexts you can also perform a multiple selection and an inverted selection among other stuff.

In the same way for text I would find very useful having shortcuts to be able to

  • select multiple non-continuous text strings (I believe you can do this in Microsoft Word). I understand that might be complex to achieve in a rich text area. But how about a plain text area?
  • "invert" the selected text as well, the same way as we do in Photoshop for a layer for example.

I know there is no built-in way to do this (either on mac or windows). But I wasn't able to find any method/trick to achieve it in my own custom way either (using 3rd-party apps, scripts).

Could anyone enlighten me on this please, especially on Mac? Thank you

1 Answer 1


It is easy to select disparate, non-contiguous text in Apple's TextEdit: Just hold down the command key while highlighting each desired string with the mouse/trackpad. This action works with both plain text and rich text.

Here's a screen capture showing some arbitrary selections of discontinuous text made in this manner: enter image description here

It's also easy to invert the selection: Click-and-drag the cursor over the chosen text while holding down the command key. Here's the same text after making the change: enter image description here

  • Thanks for these tips on TextEdit, didn't knew them. Well this answers mainly my request. But I was looking for a more flexible way: how would you do this in a browser HTML document or in URL bar? Of course I figured, you would copy/paste your text TextEdit > then use the described tips from here. But in this case I might as well, use a clipboard app, to copy several strings and paste them in my willing order. The whole purpose is for productivity. For example, to transform text lowercase/UPPERCASE and vice versa using shortcuts I used this extension: tinyurl.com/y9zalwgp
    – Rolm
    Apr 20, 2018 at 11:23

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