Column Text Selection


TextMate has an awesome column selection tool where you can hold down option (on a Mac) and drag your cursor to select a column of text. It would be awesome to have in Atom.

Multiline select with the mouse while holding option. Like Sublime Text 2

You can’t do it with the mouse, but you can do it with the keyboard: ^⇧-[up|down].


Doesn’t ^⇧-[up|down] trigger Exposé in OSX? It seems to for me at least, which prevents this from working as I would expect. That beings said, I can still get it to work by clicking the option from the selection menu. I have to go one line at a time though.

I would love it if they enabled column selection in a similar fashion to TextMate’s implementation. It’s quick and easy to use.


If that’s the default in OS X, I’ve disabled it. :smile:


It is the default keyboard shortcut, but they’re easy enough to change/disable.

System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Mission Control


FWIW, several other OS X apps offer columnar selection as well, including Sublime Text,, iTerm, and even TextEdit. Definitely would be great to have this in Atom.


Being able to do this with the mouse would be a great enhancement.


+1 for this :smile:, its the one feature that keeps me going back to Sublime.


I’ve disabled any keyboard shortcuts this might be conflicting with and I still can’t use this shortcut for some unknown reason.

I’d really really really really like the ability to drag select with the option key.


Thank you.


+1 for column drag selection! The multiple-caret behavior could use a little refinement as well – for example, something nice that Sublime Text does is if you have, say, four carets, and you try and paste some text with exactly four lines in it, it’ll paste one line at each caret rather than all four lines at each caret.


please see this video for a detailed example


This is an invaluable feature that I use about ever 5 minutes while coding :slight_smile:


Try this, hold down ctrl and shift and press the down arrow a few times without letting go of ctrl and shift and you should see a giant blinking cursor the size of the lines you moved down. Now you can hold shift down and move left or right to select your column. Far superior to using the mouse.


Hmm, this does seem to clash with the Expose shortcuts.

Also, the Sublime Text mouse-based method is much more intuitive:

(Skip to 9 seconds to see it).

If you haven’t tried it before, it might be a good idea to download Sublime Text and check it out (it’s free)

Basically, in Sublime Text, you can just hit the “Option” key, then click and drag to select an arbitrary columns of text.

I believe Microsoft Word actually offers something similar, as does TextMate, and a whole bunch of other editors.


+1 for a Sublime-type column select feature.


When it works, but it doesn’t for me. Some key mapping is blocking. Nothing happens, actually.


⌃⇧↑ and ⌃⇧↓ do not work for me either, though they do work in Sublime Text so I doubt it’s a OS X mapping issue.


Duplicate of …

closed #19