How to Set Selection Preferences in Word 2016

Screenshot of advanced options in Microsoft Word 2013

James Marshall / Lifewire

From time to time, a new feature comes along that has the unique distinction of being both a curse and a blessing. The way Microsoft Word 2016 handles text and paragraph selection is one of those features. Fortunately, you can decide how you want Word to handle both of these actions.

Changing the Word Selection Setting

By default, Word automatically selects an entire word when only part of it is highlighted. It can save you some time and prevent you from leaving part of a word when you intended to delete it entirely. However, it can become cumbersome when you wish to select only parts of words. 

To change this setting, follow these steps:

  1. Click the File file tab at the top.

  2. In the left bar, click Options.

  3. In the Word Options window, click Advanced in the left menu.

  4. In the Editing options section, check (or uncheck) the When selecting, automatically select entire word option.

  5. Click OK.

Changing the Paragraph Selection Setting

When selecting paragraphs, Word also selects the paragraph's formatting attributes in addition to text by default. However, you may not want these additional attributes associated with the text you have selected.

You can disable (or enable) this feature by following these steps in Word 2016:

  1. Click the File file tab at the top.

  2. In the left bar, click Options.

  3. In the Word Options window, click Advanced in the left menu.

  4. In the Editing options section, check (or uncheck) the Use smart paragraph selection option.

  5. Click OK.

You can display paragraph breaks and other formatting marks in your text that would be included in a selection by clicking the Home tab, and under the Paragraph section, click the Show/Hide symbol (it appears as a paragraph symbol, which looks a little like a backward P).