Selecting Text Using the Hand Tool

Another one of the neat little additions that come with Acrobat 6.0 is the option for selecting text using the Hand Tool. The basic idea behind it, it seems, is that if you’re reading a PDF document, it’s highly likely you will want to copy some of the text. Of course, up until Acrobat 6.0, this meant switching tools between the Hand and Select Text tools — at times a real pain.

  • Press Ctrl+K and select General Preferences
  • Tick the ‘Enable text selection for the Hand tool’ checkbox
  • Hover over text with the Hand Tool to see the change

It’s probably not for everyone though and can take a little getting used to — if you’re about to grab the page with the hand and it suddenly turns to a cursor, you’ll have to wait a moment till it switches back, or you’ll need to move your cursor to an area of the page that doesn’t contain text. It’s something I’ve gotten used to pretty quickly. Overall it’s really worth a try if you regularly read, review and edit PDF documents.

Text Selection Margin Size & Column Selection Margin Size

The options in Preferences give you further control by letting you specify the distance in pixels that the Hand Tool needs to be to text or to a column of text before it switches to the Select Text Tool.

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About the Author: Richard Crocker

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