Block|Rectangular Selections

(available in EditPad Pro only)

There are several ways to select text in EditPad using the keyboard or the mouse. Whichever way you choose, it involves marking a starting and an ending position for the selection. All the text between the starting and the ending position becomes selected, following the flow of the text like you would follow it when reading it out loud. This is how almost all Windows programs select text, and is appropriate in most situations.

But in some situations, such as when editing text files with information organized in tables, it is more useful to make a rectangular selection, also called a column selection. A rectangular selection is much like a selection of cells in a spreadsheet application, except that in EditPad you select characters instead of cells.

Before you can make rectangular selections, a few conditions must be met. First, you need to use a fixed-width font such as Courier New. You can change the font in Options|Font. Characters are only properly aligned into columns when using a fixed-width font, a requirement to make rectangular selections.

Second, word wrap must be off. You can turn it off using Options|Word Wrap. When long lines are wrapped, editing a long line will cause the text to be rewrapped. This is not a problem when the selection flows along with the text. But when using rectangular selections, this rewrapping would cause the selection to change.

Many text editors do not support rectangular selections. Those that do, are usually IDEs or editors from the DOS world that do not support word wrapping or variable-width fonts. EditPad is a flexible editor and supports both rectangular selections as well as modern conveniences like word wrap and variable-width fonts, but not at the same time for reasons explained above.

There are two ways to make a rectangular selection. First, you can make it the usual way using the keyboard or the mouse, while keeping the Alt button depressed on the keyboard. Second, you can pick Rectangular Selections from the Block menu. This will invert the meaning of the Alt key while making a selection. After choosing Rectangular Selections in the Block menu, a selection made the normal way will be rectangular, and a selection made while pressing Alt will flow along with the text.

If you did not choose a fixed-width font or turn off word wrap, then the selection will always flow along with the text. If you pick Block|Rectangular Selections from the menu, EditPad Pro will warn you that rectangular selections are presently not possible.

Most commands like copy and paste work just the same when using rectangular selections or text-flow selections. Notable exceptions are Block|Indent and Block|Outdent. Some commands, like Block|Fill Columns only work with rectangular selections.

See Also

Block menu
Block|Move Lines and Columns
Block|Fill Columns
Block|Begin Selection
Block|End Selection
Block|Expand Selection