How do I select or highlight multiple files?

When working within Microsoft Windows (or any GUI operating system), you may need to select multiple files to copy, delete, or move them. The following sections detail the different methods for selecting multiple files in a GUI operating system.

Select all the files in the current directory
Select multiple files that are grouped together
Select multiple files that are not grouped together
Other tips

Select all the files in the current directory

Select all with shortcut keys

With most operating systems and software programs, the shortcut key combination Ctrl + A selects all files or text.

Select all using menus

  1. Open a folder or directory in Explorer or My Computer.
  2. Click Edit from the top of the window.
  3. Click Select All on the dropdown menu.

Select multiple files that are grouped together

  1. Click the first file, then press and hold the Shift key.
  2. While holding Shift, click the last file.

Select multiple files that are not grouped together

  1. Click the first file, then press and hold the Ctrl key.
  2. While holding down the Ctrl key, click each of the other files you want to select.

Other tips

You can use a combination of selecting multiple files and single files at the same time by doing any of the steps below.

  1. Click the first file you want to select.
  2. Hold down the Shift key, select the last file, and then let go of the Shift key.
  3. Now hold down the Ctrl key and click any other file(s) you would like to add to those already selected.

Tip: Holding Ctrl and clicking a file a second time will deselect it.

Additional information

  • See our highlight definition for further information about highlighting, additional examples, and other related information.