What is the Selection Tool in Adobe InDesign?

In this handy guide, we've outlined how to select and deselect objects, the differences between the Selection and Direct Selection tools, and more. With the Selection tool, InDesign makes it easy to manipulate objects on the fly, so you can quickly reposition or resize them as needed. 

Selection Tool vs. Direct Selection Tool
You'll find the Selection tool (black arrow) and Direct Selection tool (white arrow) in the main Tools panel. So, what's the difference between these tools? When you need to select an entire object, choose the Selection tool to ensure that every path and anchor point is selected. On the other hand, if you need to adjust individual path segments or anchor points, choose the Direct Selection tool.  

Selecting Individual Objects
First, load your desired InDesign project and choose the Selection tool from the Tools panel (or press the D key). Then, click on an object to select it. If you'd like to select more than one object, hold down the Shift key and continue clicking on objects to add them to your selection. 

In some situations, the object that you want to select will be located behind other objects, making it difficult to click on. If you hold Ctrl (or Cmd on Mac) while clicking, the bottommost object will be selected. Finally, if you hold the Shift key and click on an object that's already selected, it will be deselected. 

Selecting Multiple Objects
With the Selection tool enabled, you can click and drag diagonally over a specified area and every object in that rectangular marquee will be selected. Holding Shift and drawing additional marquees will add those objects to your previous selections. However, any objects that are already selected will be deselected if you drag over them. 

Using the Selection tool, InDesign also gives you the option to select (or deselect) every object at once. Just choose "Edit" > "Select All", and every path and anchor point will be selected, with their bounding boxes visible. Choosing "Edit" > "Deselect All" will do the opposite. If an object in a group is already selected when you click "Select All", only the group will be selected. 

Selecting Bounding Boxes
Every object has a bounding box — a thin rectangle that appears around an object when it's selected. The box's dimensions represent the height and width of the object. With the Selection tool enabled, click on the object to select it, and then click on the content grabber (the donut-like circle) to select the bounding box.

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