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Google Drive gets multi-text selection, copy/paste shortcuts for files

Selecting multiple blocks of text in Google Drive.

Selecting multiple blocks of text in Google Drive. (credit: Google)

The Google Workspace team is rolling out some solid productivity updates to Google Drive.

You can now select multiple blocks of text at the same time in the Docs editor for quick editing. This is a feature Microsoft Word has had for a while, and it allows you to you can hold Ctrl, highlight multiple blocks of text, and apply a style. Unfortunately, Google Docs isn’t using an obvious shortcut key. According to the updated shortcuts page, you’ll need at least four fingers to get this done. It’s Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Left/Right arrow on Windows, or  Ctrl + Cmd+ Shift + Left/Right arrow on a Mac. From there, Google says you’ll need to “use [the] left/right arrow to move to a separate section of text you also want to select.”

The next dead-simple addition is keyboard shortcuts for copy/paste in the Google Drive file browser. The ability to copy and paste in the text editors has been around forever, but you’ll now be able to do so in Drive’s web file manager, which previously wasn’t possible. It’s strange that it has taken Google so long to implement this feature, but there’s a lot of abstraction between you and the Google Drive JavaScript app. If you copy a Google Docs document, you aren’t actually copying a file to the clipboard because the file lives on the Internet. You’re moving organizational links around with a clipboard that JavaScript doesn’t even have read access to. You’ve also always been able to install the Drive sync app and manage files through your operating system’s file manager, but now the web version is getting better functionality.

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