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## How can I use column-mode selection (select rectangles) and editing in the Do-file Editor?

 Title Column-mode selection in the Do-file Editor Author Dan (Mia) Lv, StataCorp

This keyboard shortcut varies across different operating systems.

In Windows, you can hold the Alt key and make your selection using the mouse.

In Unix, use the Ctrl key instead of the Alt key.

In Mac, use the Option key instead.

After you make a selection, you can type, delete, copy, and paste text in column mode.

If you have ever entered or edited your data in a text editor, you may find it helpful to use column-mode selection. Here we show several examples using the Do-File Editor in Windows.

One advantage of column-mode selection is that you can delete or append a variable easily if your data are in fixed format. For example, you are trying to create a dataset using the following commands.

clear
input mpg	rep78	headroom	trunk	weight	length	turn	displacement
22	3	2.5		11	2930	186	40	121
17	3	3.0		11	3350	173	40	258
22	.	3.0		12	2640	168	35	121
20	3	4.5		16	3250	196	40	196
15	4	4.0		20	4080	222	43	350
18	3	4.0		21	3670	218	43	231
26	.	3.0		10	2230	170	34	304
20	3	2.0		16	3280	200	42	196
16	3	3.5		17	3880	207	43	231
19	3	3.5		13	3400	200	42	231
14	3	4.0		20	4330	221	44	425
14	2	3.5		16	3900	204	43	350
end


Now you want to modify your code to exclude the variable weight. If you use Windows, you can hold the Alt key and select the corresponding text, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1

Then, you can drop the selected part by clicking on the Delete key.

Assume now that you want to add a string variable unit with content “miles per gallon” next to the variable mpg. You can hold the Alt key and drag one vertical line on the right side of mpg observations, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2

With this selected, you type “mile per gallon”. You will see that this text is inserted in each selected row, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3

A single click in any place disables column-mode selection.

Copying and pasting a rectangle of data is very convenient with column-mode selection. Assume that you want to move the variable turn to the first column. You can first select the corresponding text just as we did before and right-click to cut it.

Figure 4

Then, you move your pointer to the upper-left corner where you want to paste the data and right-click to paste. You will see the content of the variable turn has been moved to the first place on the left side.

Figure 5

As we mentioned in the beginning of the FAQ, this keyboard shortcut varies across different operating systems. You can follow the instruction for your operating system to perform these types of edits using column-mode selection.