Updated: 08/02/2020 by Computer Hope
Ctrl+A or Control A

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


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

How to use the Ctrl+A shortcut key

To use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+A, press and hold either Ctrl key on the keyboard and while continuing to hold, press the "A" key with either hand.


On Apple computer keyboards, the Ctrl key is labeled as "control."

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, the Ctrl+A shortcut key 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 processor programs, pressing Ctrl+A selects all of the text in the document. If you're working with a document that has 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 the Ctrl+A keyboard shortcut moves to the beginning of the line currently being typed.

Below are links to related keyboard key and keyboard shortcut pages.

A, Ctrl, Keyboard terms, Select all, Shortcut key