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Column/multi selection mode

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Matthew Lang
Matthew Lang on 2 Mar 2012
Commented: Alf Magne Meling on 23 Mar 2023
Is there a way in the Matlab editor to select vertical selections of text (like Alt-selection in MS word or Notepad++) and to insert text or an incremented numbered list into a vertical selection? (Notepad++ has this by pressing Alt-C, but can only increment)
  1 Comment
James Johns
James Johns on 18 Oct 2017
Dear MathWorks, please implement this functionality. A "Column Mode" in Editor would be fantastic. Also, a "Column Mode" where you can increment numbers would save time as well. In 2017, we still have to open UltraEdit and Excel to do this and paste results in MATLAB.

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Answers (8)

Amy on 28 Nov 2018
Edited: Amy on 29 Sep 2022
Hi all -- column selection mode, or block edit mode, was added to the Live Editor in R2018a, and to the regular MATLAB Editor in R2021b. You can select and edit a rectangular area of code by pressing the Alt key while making a selection with the mouse (or the Option key on macOS). This is mentioned briefly in the release notes for those releases and also in the documentation page for editing and formatting code. Please go ahead and try it out!!

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per isakson
per isakson on 2 Mar 2012
No, but I agree it would be useful!
Every other day I copy blocks of code to Notepad++ to use "vertical selection" and regular expressions.

Bryan Munro
Bryan Munro on 26 Jan 2018
I'll second this, it's hard to overestimate how much time this feature would save me on a daily basis!

Richard Yau
Richard Yau on 8 Nov 2018
Mathworks really needs this column edit feature in their editor. There's no reason not to have it and I end up having to temporarily open another editor just to edit something and going back to matlab editor afterwards. Why is this not already available????

Ivan on 30 Oct 2020
Edited: Ivan on 30 Oct 2020
also was looking for multi line selection, have made this function to open file in notepad++.
Can be used to fast open in any editor, good to assign it to some keyboard shortcut
function edit_in_npp()
% the function will open active in editor file in npp in the corresponding line
% before use check that npp is in your system path or set path to npp_path
% variable below.
% to set path from cmd use setenv('PATH', [getenv('PATH') ';C:\Program Files (x86)\Notepad++']);
npp_path='notepad++.exe'; % or set npp_path=C:\Program Files (x86)\Notepad++\notepad++.exe
system(sprintf('"%s" "%s" -n%d',npp_path,doc.Filename,doc.Selection(1)));
  1 Comment
Peter Scotson
Peter Scotson on 30 Mar 2021
Very good! Suggest adding an ampersand to the sprintf('... &'). I needed to use the full path to notepad++

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Maxim Piz
Maxim Piz on 15 Nov 2021
I have to use notepad ++ to make easy tasks which the regular editor should be capable of. The is no need to do that in the live editor. This is standard feature for decades.
Jared MacDonald
Jared MacDonald on 15 Nov 2021
Hi Maxim, column selection mode is available in the regular MATLAB Editor as of R2021b.
Maxim Piz
Maxim Piz on 15 Nov 2021
Ok, thanks!

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Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 26 Jan 2018
I see no evidence that Mathworks will be making any feature changes to the regular editor, other than in the sense of continuing to work on the code analyzer and autofixes. Otherwise all of the editor development appears to be going into the live editor. Thus I do not expect the column cut or paste to ever be put into the regular editor. I would instead suspect that the live editor is intended to replace the regular editor in time.
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 12 Aug 2021
Hold down alt and left click and drag.
(Or... left click and drag letting it be messy and selecting everything not just columns; and then hold down alt and move the mouse (movement is required!!), and it will switch to column selection. But I do not recommend this approach.)
Snoopy on 12 Aug 2021
It works. Thank you.

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zmi zmi
zmi zmi on 29 Sep 2022
On Linux, the Alt shortcut clashes with the Plasma Window Manager shortcut. Change is not feasible on modern notebooks since there is no Meta key on keyboards. Please make it possible to alter the column selection shortcut from Alt to something else.
  1 Comment
Amy on 29 Sep 2022
Hi zmi zmi,
Unfortunately there's no way to change the shortcut for column selection right now, we're still looking into this. In the meantime if you need to disable column selection altogether to avoid conflicts, the command to run is:
>> s=settings;
>> s.matlab.editor.EnableColumnSelection.PersonalValue=0;

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