Cannot select or highlight texts in MS Word : [FIX]

Selecting words or paragraph is the elementary step of word processing. So, if you can’t select or highlights part of your Word document in MS Word, then it diminishes the primary functionality of the application. Luckily, there are specific resolutions that can fix the problem. You can select or highlight texts in MS Word once again.

Quick Workarounds

1. Save the changes in Word and close and relaunch the Word application. If this is just a bug, the next time you relaunch Word, you will be able to select or highlight texts.

2. Check whether you can’t copy a particular part of the file, it is possible that portion of the file is restricted.

Fix 1 – Use the mouse to select

The basic shortcut key of selecting the contents is Shift+arrow sign. Now, due to some reasons, this default shortcut key may not work properly.

So, press the mouse and drag the mouse to select the documents. Check whether you can highlight the documents or not.


Fix 2 – Disable the protected mode

Microsoft Word won’t let you select or highlight anything while you are in a protected view mode. So, disable the protected mode view.

Way 1 

If you have already opened an external document, do this –

Step 1 – When you open an external document in Word, it shows you this message in a ribbon –

Be careful-files from the Internet can contain viruses. Unless you need to edit, it's safer to stay in Protected View.

Step 2 – Use the “Enable Editing” function in there.


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This will let you edit the Word document and you can select and edit the file.

Way 2 

You can make sure to disable the protected view in Word, universally.

Step 1 – Open the Microsoft Word.

Step 2 – Go to the “File” option.

Step 3 – On the left ribbon, tap “Options“.


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Step 4 – After this, go to the Word Options panel and select the “Trust Center“.

Step 5 – Click the “Trust Center Settings” to access the trust center settings.


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Step 6 – As a separate Trust Center settings panel appears, go to the “Protected View” bar.

Step 7 – On the right-hand side, untick all these three options –

Enable Protected View for files originating from the Internet
Enable Protected View for files located in potentially unsafe locations
Enable Protected View for Outlook attachments

Step 8 – Tap “OK“.


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After disabling the protected view options in Word, all the files should open up normally where you can easily copy-paste contents from one place to another.


Fix 3 –  Make sure the Word file is not read-only

If a file is set as a read-only, you won’t be able to select and copy anything from the file in Word.

Step 1 – Quickly, open the File Explorer and get to the file’s location.

Step 2 – Next, right-click the particular Word document and tap “Properties“.


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Step 3 – Make sure that you are present in the “General” tab.

Step 4 – There should be a box reading ‘Read only‘. Make sure that it is unchecked.


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Step 5 – Save these changes.


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Once the file has full read/write support, you can open it and select the contents from there.


Fix 4 – Repair the Word file

There is a slim chance that the Word file itself has got corrupted and you should repair the Word file.

Step 1 – Instead of opening the file directly, Launch Microsoft Word on your system.

Step 2 – After this, tap the “File” in the menu bar.

Step 3 – Tap “Open” and use the “Browse” to open the file.


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Step 4 – Arrive at the location of the Word file on your system. Select that and click the drop-down option beside ‘Open’ and select “Open and repair” to open and repair the file.


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Word will attempt to fix any corruption in the Word document and open it up.

Try to highlight or select the texts.


Fix 5 – Update the Word app

Update the MS Word application to the latest version and then try checking the issue once more.

Step 1 – While the document is opened in Word, tap “Account“.

Step 2 – On the right-hand side, click “Update options” drop-down.

Step 3 – After this, click “Update Now” to update the app.


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After this, Word will automatically update to the latest version.

Give the document another try. You won’t have any problem selecting or highlighting texts anymore.