How to Select Text Vertically on a Mac

If you want to select or copy text vertically (on Mac), this guide is for you.

Copying a vertical portion of a block of text is tricky. Web browsers don’t make it easy to select just the vertical text. When you try to select a column with your mouse, it ends up copying more than you want, including parts from other rows.

Selecting text vertically is not easy on tables on webpages or in images

This behavior prevents you from copying one or two columns or any vertical text anywhere, and not just on webpages. Similar hurdle also crop up when you want to copy text from an image.

Here’s a solution I have found to be working fine on Macs:

How to Copy a Vertical Block of Text

A good solution I have found is using a quick OCR tool that preserves line-breaks. A free tool which works flawlessly is the ScreenOCR extension for Raycast (also free).

Raycast is a free app for Mac, just like the native spotlight but much more powerful. It has over a thousand extensions, all free, which take its functionalities to the next level.

ScreenOCR is one of its extensions that works even better than some paid apps, like TextSniper.

I have written more about it’s features and capabilities in this blog post.

Once you have installed Raycast and the ScreenOCR extension, you are all set. For even faster workflow, you can tie a keyboard shortcut (mine is Ctrl + 0) to it so that you can simple select the portion you want OCRed.

Also read: 4 Awesome tricks to Change the Default Fonts in Excalidraw

Once you select the area of the screen to capture, the scanned text is automatically put into your clipboard so you can paste it wherever you want. I usually open a new Google Sheet and paste the scanned column there.

This is how this workflow looks like:

How to select and copy text vertically on a Mac using Raycast and the ScreenOCR extension.

The ScreenOCR extension also has the capabilities to remove line breaks, so if you are scanning a file (such as pdfs) where line-breaks do not mean a new paragraph, you can turn off the setting so that everything is on the same line.

Remember that this trick works on every piece of text that’s on your screen, not just on webpages.

That’s it. Now you can select and copy any text vertically on your Mac.

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Also read:
1. How to Read the New Yorker and Atlantic articles for FREE
2. How to Open Multiple Apps with Raycast in One Click
3. How to use AI in Raycast for FREE