How to start column edit mode?
Use Alt-Shift-Arrow keys or Alt + left mouse click. See Shortcuts page to get all Notepad++ keyboard shortcuts.
There is also a Edit -> Column Editor, bound to Alt+C by default, which allows you to replace the text selected in column mode with either some text, or with incrementing numbers in various bases. The TextFX plugin adds the ability to pad a rectangular selection with spaces. All these are covered in Inserting Variable Text.
Note that it is possible to mark a column selection of zero width, but it becomes invisible when you do so. A zero width block is useful with the column editor if you wish to insert some text without replace any existing text.
Selecting tall rectangles
If you wish to select a very long column block that extends over many pages (for example, in a very long file), this might be the best technique:
- Click to position the cursor at the top left corner of the desired block.
- Scroll down to the desired end of the block by any means that does not change the cursor position (drag the vertical scroll bar, use the wheel of your mouse).
- Hold down alt+shift and click on the bottom right corner of the desired block.