I'm used to this Windows behavior that using CTRL+SHIFT+Cursor Keys I can select text word-wise. CTRL+Cursor Keys jumps word-wise and I use that a lot in combination with SHIFT to select text.

This seems to be a "Windows thing" because it just works in all application. Now turning to Ubuntu 10.04, it doesn't work. CTRL+SHIFT+Cursor Keys just behaves like CTRL+Cursor Keys, i.e. I jump between the words but I can't select them that way.

Another gotcha: I use CTRL+Cursor Keys to move fast between words, press down SHIFT, release CTRL and move the Cursor Keys to select text char by char and it doesn't work either. I need to release both keys complete.

Is there a way to enable this?

  • 5
    I'm not sure how you're having this problem - Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right cursor jumps text and highlights. What programs are you experiencing this issue in? Oct 6, 2010 at 23:13
  • In every application I tried. Notably Firefox and Eclipse. Now I'm wondering what's going on here ...
    – mark
    Oct 6, 2010 at 23:21
  • Could you include what your current keyboard layout is? System -> Preferences -> Keyboard Oct 7, 2010 at 0:48
  • 1
    Text selection using Ctrl+Shift+<CursorKey> has always worked for me in Ubuntu. Oct 7, 2010 at 11:21

4 Answers 4


Found the problem: in Windows I use multiple keyboard layouts and I use CTRL+SHIFT to switch between them. I configured the same for Ubuntu however I'm experiencing a clash here obviously.

That said, Windows is smarty enough to figure out by analyzing which keys I press over time what I want. Ubuntu isn't: once I pressed CTRL+SHIFT, not matter what additional keys, it switched the keyboard layout and for some reason this interrupted the selection option. Too bad.


I have the same problem. Discovered that it's 11 years old bug in XOrg.

Here is Ubuntu's bug discussion started in 2006: https://bugs.launchpad.net/xorg-server/+bug/36812


I had the same problem in Firefox/Chrome/gEdit. Maddening! This fixed it:

System -> Keyboard Input Methods -> Layouts tab -> Options... -> Misc. compat. options -> Shift w/ numeric keypad keys works as in MS Windows


In Chrome / Firefox, if you select text starting with Ctrl+Arrow to highlight at least one block, then you can Ctrl+Shift+Arrow to select by word.

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