Updated: 12/31/2020 by Computer Hope
Ctrl+A or Control+A keyboard shortcut

Alternatively known as Control+A, ^a, and C-a, Ctrl+A is a keyboard shortcut often used to select all text, files, pictures, or other objects while in a graphical user environment.


On Apple computers, the keyboard shortcut to select all is Command+A.

How to use the Ctrl+A keyboard shortcut

To use this keyboard shortcut, press and hold either Ctrl key, and while continuing to hold, press A.

Ctrl+A in Excel and other spreadsheet programs

In Microsoft Excel and all other spreadsheet programs, pressing Ctrl+A selects all cells in the spreadsheet.


If you're editing the contents of a cell and press Ctrl+A, nothing will happen.

Ctrl+A in Microsoft PowerPoint

In Microsoft PowerPoint, Ctrl+A has the following functions.

  1. In the Normal view, select all contents of the slide.
  2. In the Slide Sorter view, select all slides.
  3. In the Slide Show view, change the pen tool to the normal cursor.

Ctrl+A in Word and other word processors

In Microsoft Word and other word processors, pressing Ctrl+A selects all of the text in the document. If you're working with a document with multiple pages, this keyboard shortcut selects all text on all pages.


To select one page's text, highlight the text using the mouse or move the text cursor before the first word, hold down Shift, and click the end of the page.

Using Ctrl+A in an Internet browser

All major Internet browsers (e.g., Chrome, Edge, Firefox) pressing Ctrl+A selects all text, images, and other objects on the page. If you do not want to select everything it may be better to use the mouse to select only what you want.

Using Ctrl+A in PuTTY

With PuTTY Ctrl+A moves to the beginning of the line currently being typed.

Below are links to related keyboard shortcuts and individual key pages.

A, Ctrl, Keyboard shortcut, Keyboard terms, Select all