Selecting Groups of Cells in Word Tables


Bhavya shah
 

Dear all,

I am using NVDA 2021.3 Beta 2, Word for Microsoft 365, and Windows 10.
I am working with multi-row and multi-column tables in a Word
document, and was wondering if there is a way to do the following (and
thereby similar tasks) without needing to copy contents over to Excel.
Consider a 4X4 table. I would like to select the central square of 4
cells, i.e. R2C2, R2C3, R3C2, and R3C3.

I would truly appreciate any inputs or thoughts on this.

Best Regards,
Bhavya Shah
Stanford University | Class of 2024
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bhavyashah125/


 

Bhavya,

The simple answer to your question is, "Yes."  But this also depends on your comfort with selecting additional rows below the first one you've selected without an announcement from NVDA that it's happening.

I will try to describe this process as best I can.

Position yourself in R2C2, preferably at the far right side of whatever data has already been entered.  Hit SHIFT + Right Arrow and you wll get an announcement that the cell is selected.  If you happen to put yourself somewhere other than the far right side of your typed data, as you hit SHIFT + Right Arrow you will hear character by character being selected, until you hit the end of the cell content, then that next SHIFT + Right Arrow will just say "selected" and all characters in the cell will be selected.  For example, if you have a cell with 25.8 in it, and start with the cursor to the right of the 8, when you hit SHIFT + Right Arrow you will hear twenty-five point eight selected.   will let you play with putting your cursor in the middle, or to the left of the value and hitting SHIFT + Right Arrow to see how things vary.

Presuming R2C2 contains 25.8, and you've selected the cell in one fell swoop, if you keep SHIFT + Right Arrowing it will successively select each full cell to the right of the one that you last selected.  So if you'd selected R2C2, then SHIFT + Right Arrowed again, it would select the cell to the right, and if that cell contained 18.7, it NVDA immediately says 18.7 selected (and that is, of course, R2C3).

This is where the "you've got to be comfortable with silence and trust in how selection works parts come in.  Once you have R2C2 and R2C3 selected, SHIFT + Down Arrow will add to the selection R3C2 and R3C3 but not announce anything (usually, anyway).  Each successive SHIFT + DOWN Arrow press will select the corresponding two columns beneath the row you are currently sitting on.

The SHIFT + UP/DOWN/LEFT/RIGHT Arrow Key can be used to select and unselect cell "clumps", and if you overshoot, say you hit SHIFT + DOWN Arrow after you'd already selected R3C2 and R3C3 snagging their R4 analogs into your selection, you can unselect those both with a simple SHIFT + Up Arrow.

You'll have to play with this to get the feel.

I'm not sure where or how you intend to paste what you've selected and, I presume, copied.  Once I have some idea of what you intend to do, I can check out how various paste options would work depending on the context where they're being pasted.
--

Brian - Windows 10, 64-Bit, Version 21H1, Build 19043  

The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.

         ~ John F. Kennedy

 


 

By the way, I had no idea how this was done with the keyboard.  I found this information in multiple sources at the top of the results from web searching on the phrase, "selecting cells in MS-Word tables using the keyboard."
--

Brian - Windows 10, 64-Bit, Version 21H1, Build 19043  

The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.

         ~ John F. Kennedy

 


Bhavya shah
 

Dear Brian,

Thank you so much - this is hugely appreciated! Your explanation was
incredibly clear and thus easy to follow, though my experience did
vary in some respects. In particular, NVDA read out the entire row
when I pressed Shift+down arrow (as opposed to only those cells of
that row which corresponded to the columns selected above), and the
read current selection command cemented that; however, when I pressed
Ctrl+C and then NVDA+C to cross-check, only the desired subset of the
row had been copied (as you described and was desired) as opposed to
the entire row (as misreported by NVDA). This process itself is buggy
and does not seem to work at all in applications like Firefox. My
understanding is that sighted mouse users have a fairly consistent way
of doing this across programs, and the same ought to be true for
screen reader users.

Do folks know if there are existing tickets on NVDA's GitHub tracker
covering this set of issues?

Thanks.

On 11/19/21, Brian Vogel <britechguy@gmail.com> wrote:
By the way, I had no idea how this was done with the keyboard.  I found this
information in multiple sources at the top of the results from web searching
on the phrase, "selecting cells in MS-Word tables using the keyboard."
--

Brian - Windows 10, 64-Bit, Version 21H1, Build 19043

*The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.*

~ John F. Kennedy





--
Best Regards,
Bhavya Shah
Stanford University | Class of 2024
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bhavyashah125/


 

Bhavya,

You're quite welcome.  In this case it's NVDA 2021.3beta2 running on top of Word 2016 where I did my experimentation.  I do know that exactly what office exposes to NVDA has changed, though slightly, in Microsoft 365 even though everything from Office 2016 forward has 2016 as its base code.

When it comes to tables, they're definitely not 100% consistent for selection across programs.  There are similarities, but it's not precisely the same.
--

Brian - Windows 10, 64-Bit, Version 21H1, Build 19043  

The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.

         ~ John F. Kennedy