I created a box-select feature for the tk.Text widget. You can select, cut, copy, paste, drag/drop and type with column-centric behavior. I'd like any feedback that is available.

The code is pretty heavily commented, but I can give a gist of its working mechanics. Every box-selection-specific method moves, changes, deletes, copies, selects by, etc.. SelectBounds. That's it, really. It's a bounds manager representing its data as text selection.

#begin col/row, end col/row, (width or len), height, down, right
SelectBounds = namedtuple('SelectBounds', 'bc br ec er w h dn rt')


  • Box selection begins by putting the caret at the index where you want to start the selection, and pressing Alt+Shift.

    From there you have 3 options:

    • LMB+DRAG to drag out a box-selection
    • LMB at the point you want the selection to end. If you don't release you can still drag to adjust.
    • press Arrow keys in the direction that you want the box to expand/contract. (NumPad Arrows NOT supported)
  • Creating a box-selection of no width will produce a multiline-caret.

    • You can type at the multiline-caret, and whatever you type will appear on every active line.
    • Pressing BackSpace will perform a backspace operation on every active line.
  • After Making a box-selection and while the selection is still active, pressing Shift+Arrow will move the entire selection in the arrow direction. This counts for multiline-carets, as well.

  • Any selection can be drag-dropped.

    • Press and hold LMB over a selection to grab, then drag and drop in a new location.
    • In the case of box-selections there is a vertical offset applied to grab and drop. If you grabbed at (ex) the third row of a column, you would have to drop where you want the third row to be.
  • With any selection active, pressing Left or Right will deselect and move the caret to the beginning (left) or end (right) of the former selection

  • Cut, Copy and Paste work the same as you would expect and the hotkeys are no different. In or from box-select mode these are performed with column behavior.

  • Any method of box-selection can be performed in any direction


  • A faint highlight is applied to the background of the line the caret is on ~ the "active line"

  • Multiline-carets always have a brighter portion that reflects where the real caret is

  • While you are in the process of draggin a selection the real caret is revealed and joins the active line highlight in following your cursor.


  • On very rare occassions, releasing Alt from the hotkey combo will result in the window gaining focus, and the text area seeming to freeze. If this happens just press Alt again.


tkinter-column-select (github)

import tkinter as tk, tkinter.font as tkf
from collections import namedtuple
from typing      import Iterable, Any
from dataclasses import dataclass, asdict
import math, re, tempfile, os

#event.state flags
SHIFT    = 0x000001
CONTROL  = 0x000004 
BUTTON1  = 0x000100
ALT      = 0x020000
ARROWKEY = 0x040000

BG       = '#181818' #text background
ACT_BG   = '#1f1f28' #active line background
FG       = '#CFCFEF' #all foregrounds and caret color
SEL_BG   = '#383848' #select background
SDW_CT   = '#68689F' #shadow caret color

INSWIDTH = 1                      #caret width
INSPNT   = 'insertpoint'          #drop insertion point
ILWHITE  = re.compile(r'[ \t]+')  #inline whitespace regex

#arrows ~ for various key conditions
HARROWS  = ('Left','KP_Left','Right','KP_Right')
VARROWS  = ('Up','KP_Up','Down','KP_Down')
ALTS     = ('Alt_L', 'Alt_R')
SHIFTS   = ('Shift_L', 'Shift_R')

#default tk.Text **kwargs for this script
class Text_t:
    font            :str  = '{Courier New} 14'
    background      :str  = BG
    foreground      :str  = FG
    selectforeground:str  = FG
    selectbackground:str  = SEL_BG
    insertwidth     :int  = INSWIDTH
    insertofftime   :int  = 300
    insertontime    :int  = 600
    insertbackground:str  = FG #caret color
    wrap            :str  = "none"
    exportselection :int  = 1
    takefocus       :int  = 1
    undo            :bool = True
    autoseparators  :bool = True
    maxundo         :int  = 32 #-1 for infinite

#this adds some extra generic behavior to tk.Text, and automates it's config to our purposes
#it's turned into it's own thing so we can get generic scripts out of the box-select code
class Textra(tk.Text): 
    def caret(self) -> str: return self.index('insert')

    def caret(self, index:str) -> None: self.mark_set('insert', index)
    def text(self) -> str: return self.get('1.0', f'{tk.END}-1c')

    def text(self, text:str) -> None: self.delete('1.0', tk.END); self.insert('1.0', text) 
    #replace text
    def replace_text(self, b:str, e:str, text:str) -> None:
        self.delete(b, e)
        self.insert(b, text)
    #append text
    def append_text(self, text:str) -> None:
        self.insert(f'{tk.END}-1c', text)
    def dlineinfo(self, index=tk.INSERT) -> tuple:
        return super().dlineinfo(index)
    # No exception .start, .end
    def tag_bounds(self, tag:str) -> tuple:
        if (tr:=self.tag_ranges(tag)) and len(tr)>1: 
            return map(str,(tr[0],tr[-1]))
        return None, None
    #replace all instances of `tag_in` with `tag_out`
    def tag_replace(self, tag_in:str, tag_out:str) -> None:
        r = self.tag_ranges(tag_in)
        #swap the tags
        for i in range(0, len(r), 2):
            self.tag_remove(tag_in , *r[i:i+2])
            self.tag_add   (tag_out, *r[i:i+2])
    #move all instances of a tag to a new location
    #acts as `tag_remove()` when `b` and/or `e` are None
    def tag_move(self, tag:str, b:Iterable=None, e:Iterable=None) -> None:
        x, y = self.tag_bounds(tag)
        if x and y: self.tag_remove(tag, x, y)
        if b and e:
            x = b if isinstance(b, (list,tuple)) else (b,)
            y = e if isinstance(e, (list,tuple)) else (e,)
            for b, e in zip(x,y):
                self.tag_add(tag, b, e)
    def __init__(self, master, *args, **kwargs):
        tk.Text.__init__(self, master, *args, **{**asdict(Text_t()), **kwargs})

#backbone of the entire operation
#begin col/row, end col/row, (width or len), height, down, right
SelectBounds = namedtuple('SelectBounds', 'bc br ec er w h dn rt')

class BoxSelectText(Textra):
    #absolutely do NOT convert anything within this method to an `.index(...)`
    #some of the descriptions below may not exist yet
    def __bounds(self, b:str=None, e:str=None, dn:bool=None, rt:bool=None, ow:bool=False) -> SelectBounds:
        if (b:=(b or self.__boxstart)) and (e:=(e or self.__boxend)):
            #parse row/col positions
            b_ = [*map(int, b.split('.'))]
            e_ = [*map(int, e.split('.'))]
            if self.__boxselect:
                #row and col positions ~ min/max each
                (br,er),(bc,ec) = (sorted(x) for x in zip(b_,e_))
                #width, height 
                w, h = ec-bc, er-br
            #regular selection
                #row and col positions ~ min/max row
                (br,bc),(er,ec) = b_, e_
                (br,er)         = sorted((br,er))
                #len, height 
                w, h = len(self.get(f'{br}.{bc}', f'{er}.{ec}')), er-br
            if ow:
                self.__boxstart = f'{br}.{bc}'
                self.__boxend   = f'{er}.{ec}'
            #selection direction
            dn = (b_[0]<e_[0]) if dn is None and (b_ and e_) else dn
            rt = (b_[1]<e_[1]) if rt is None and (b_ and e_) else rt
            #`h` is actually a count of how many lines come after the first one
            return SelectBounds(bc, br, ec, er, w, h, dn, rt) 
        return None
    #"DRAW_RECT" (essentially)
    #tags __lbounds ranges and puts a multiline caret on whichever side makes sense
    #`ao` determines if (b)egin(o)ffset and (e)nd(o)ffset are applied to everything(True) or just begin/end indexes(False)
    def __bounds_range(self, tag, bo:int=0, eo:int=0, ao:bool=False):
        #hide real caret
        self['insertwidth'] = 0
        if bnd:=self.__lbounds:
            #precalculate begin/end offsets with (a)ll(o)ffsets 
            abo, aeo = int(bo*ao)     , int(eo*ao)
            #add offsets to begin/end indexes
            abc, aec = f'{bnd.bc+abo}', f'{bnd.ec+aeo}'
            #prime begin, end ranges
            b,e = [], []
            #get last row number
            r,_ = map(int, self.index(f'{tk.END}-1c').split('.'))
            for n in range(bnd.br, bnd.er+1):
                #if we are not trying to exceed the last usable row
                if n<=r:
                    #store beginning and end indexes
                    yield n, bnd.bc+abo, bnd.ec+aeo                 #row, begin column, end column
                    #create caret
                    i = self.__index(f'{n}.{abc}',f'{n}.{aec}',bnd.dn, bnd.rt)
            self.caret = self.__index(f'{bnd.br}.{abc}',f'{bnd.er}.{aec}', bnd.dn, bnd.rt)
            self.__fauxcaret(self.caret, main=True, cfg=True)       #config main faux-caret
            self.tag_move(tag, b, e)                                #clear and draw tag
    #this is the "draw a multiline-caret" version of __bounds_range (above)
    #adv puts the caret adv amount of characters from the current column. this can be negative, and will be for `BackSpace`
    def __typing_range(self, adv:int):
        self['insertwidth'] = 0                              #hide real caret
        for n in self.image_names(): self.delete(n)          #delete faux-carets
        #if there was something to cut, and adv is negative, stop the caret from retreating
        if self.__cut() and adv<0: adv=0
        if bnd:=self.__lbounds:
            #type at multiline-caret
            for n in range(bnd.br, bnd.er+1): 
                yield n, bnd.bc, bnd.ec, adv                 #row, begin, column, adv
                self.__fauxcaret(f'{n}.{bnd.bc+adv}')        #create caret
            #begin/end indexes ~ we need this more than once
            i = (f'{bnd.br}.{bnd.bc+adv}', f'{bnd.er}.{bnd.bc+adv}')
            self.__lbounds = self.__bounds(*i, ow=True, dn=bnd.dn, rt=bnd.rt)
            self.caret     = self.__index (*i, bnd.dn, bnd.rt)
            self.__fauxcaret(self.caret, main=True, cfg=True) #config main faux-caret
    #arrow index
    def __aindex(self, keysym:str) -> str:
        r, c = map(int, self.caret.split('.'))
        for k,(r2,c2) in self.__arrows.items():
            if k in keysym:
                r += r2; c += c2
                self.caret = f'{max(1,r)}.{max(0,c)}'
                return self.caret
        return None
    #virtual index
    def __vindex(self, x:int, y:int) -> str:
        #for determining how to horizontally snap caret
        rt = bnd.rt if (bnd:=self.__lbounds) and not (None in bnd) else 1
        #the top-left visible row,col numbers
        r,c = map(int, self.index('@0,0').split('.'))
        #figure out where we are virtually
        r = round(y/self.__fh-0.50) + r
        c = (math.floor,math.ceil)[rt](x/self.__fw) + c
        #where we would be if every possible index was valid
        return f'{max(r,1)}.{max(c,0)}'
    #box-select faux-caret attaches to mouse cursor side of selection, and main faux-caret follows mouse cursor
    def __index(self, start:str, end:str, dn:bool, rt:bool) -> str:
        r, c = zip(map(int, start.split('.')), map(int, end.split('.')))
        return f'{r[dn]}.{c[rt]}'
    def __init__(self, master, *args, **kwargs):
        Textra.__init__(self, master, *args, **kwargs)
        #box-select tag
        self.tag_configure('BOXSELECT'  , background=self['selectbackground'])
        self.tag_configure('ACTIVELINE' , background=ACT_BG)
        #capture character width and height, make faux-carets for this font height
        #selection insertion point
        self.mark_set(INSPNT, '1.0')
        self.mark_gravity(INSPNT, tk.LEFT)
        #add listeners
        for evt in ('KeyPress','KeyRelease','ButtonPress-1','ButtonRelease-1','Motion'):
            self.bind(f'<{evt}>', self.__handler)
        self.__boxselect   = False  #select text within a rect
        self.__boxcopy     = False  #cut/copy/paste with column behavior
        self.__selgrab     = False  #grab any selected data
        self.__seldrag     = False  #drag any selected data
        self.__boxstart    = None   #box bounds start position
        self.__boxend      = None   #box bounds end position
        self.__vgrabofs    = None   #vertical offset from 'current' to sel.start
        self.__linsert     = None   #last known 'insert' position ~ used while __as or __selgrab is True
        self.__lbounds     = None   #last bounds that were applied
        self.__lclipbd     = ''     #back-up of last clipboard data
        self.__as_reset()           #prime ALT+SHIFT properties
        self.__blinkreset()         #prime blink properties
        #arrow key movement for arrow-key-box-select
        self.__arrows = {'Down':( 1,0),'Right':(0, 1),
                         'Up'  :(-1,0),'Left' :(0,-1)}
        #hijack tcl commands stream so we can pinpoint various commands
        self.__p = self._w + "_orig"
        self.tk.call("rename", self._w, self.__p)
        self.tk.createcommand(self._w, self.__proxy)
    def __proxy(self, cmd, *args) -> Any:
        #boxselect and dragging only allow the BOXSELECT and ACTIVELINE tags from the moment the mouse is pressed
        if ((self.__as and self.__as_free) or self.__selgrab) and (cmd=='tag') and args:
            if args[0] in ('add', 'remove'):
                if not args[1] in ('BOXSELECT','ACTIVELINE'): 
        #the rest of the time
        try             : target = self.tk.call((self.__p, cmd) + args)#;print(cmd, args)
        except Exception: return
        return target   
    def set_activeline(self):
        r,_ = map(int, self.caret.split('.'))
        self.tag_move('ACTIVELINE', f'{r}.0', f'{r+1}.0')
    def update_font(self, font:Iterable) -> None:
        self.__font = tkf.Font(font=font)
        self.__fw   = self.__font.measure(' ')
        self.__fh   = self.__font.metrics('linespace')
        self.config(font=font, tabs=self.__fw*4)
        #create faux-carets for this font height
    def __loadcarets(self) -> None:
        #store insert on/off times for faux-caret `.after` calls
        self.__instime = (self['insertofftime'], self['insertontime'])
        fh = self.__fh    #font height from 'linespace'
        #make a temp xbm file
        with tempfile.NamedTemporaryFile(mode='w+b', suffix='.xbm', delete=False) as f:
            #create prettyprint xbm data
            xbmdata = ',\n\t'.join(','.join('0xFF' for _ in range(min(8, fh-(8*i)))) for i in range(math.ceil(fh/8)))
            #write xbm
            f.write((f"#define image_width {INSWIDTH}\n#define image_height {fh}\n"
                     "static unsigned char image_bits[] = {\n\t"
        #load xbm files for faux-caret ~ they have to be in this order
        #this doesn't have a proper name because __fauxcaret manages this entirely, and it's existance should otherwise be ignored
        self.__  = (tk.BitmapImage(file=f.name, foreground=SDW_CT),                      #shadow caret 
                    tk.BitmapImage(file=f.name, foreground=self['background']),          #off caret
                    tk.BitmapImage(file=f.name, foreground=self['insertbackground']))    #main caret  
        #delete file
    #faux-caret create or config
    def __fauxcaret(self, index:str, on:bool=True, main:bool=False, cfg:bool=False) -> None:
        (self.image_create, self.image_configure)[cfg](index, image=self.__[(main<<on)|(on^1)])
    #blink the faux-caret(s)
    def __blink(self, on:bool=True):
        if not self.__boxselect: return #nothing to do
        #so we only do this once per first blink
        if not self.__blinksort:
            self.__blinksort = sorted((self.index(n) for n in self.image_names()), key=lambda i: float(i))
        if idx:=self.__blinksort:
            if bnd:=self.__lbounds:
                on = not on
                #reconfigure all carets
                for i in idx: self.__fauxcaret(i, on=on, cfg=True)  
                #reconfigure "active line" caret, if off it will assign off again
                i = self.__index(idx[0], idx[-1], bnd.dn, bnd.rt)
                self.__fauxcaret(i, on=on, main=True, cfg=True)
                #schedule next call
                self.__blinkid = self.after(self.__instime[on], self.__blink, on)
        #raise ValueError('__blink: Nothing to sort!')
    #reset blink data
    def __blinkreset(self) -> None:
        try             : self.after_cancel(self.__blinkid) if not (self.__blinkid is None) else None
        except Exception: pass
        self.__blinkid   = None
        self.__blinksort = None
        self['cursor']   = 'xterm'
    def __as_reset(self) -> None:
        self.__as        = False #unsuppresses all tags in .__proxy
        self.__as_free   = True  #allows ALT+SHIFT hotkey 
        self.__as_commit = False
        self.__as_arrow  = False
        self.__as_mouse  = False
    def __as_release(self, state:int=0) -> None:
        self.__as_free = not self.__boxselect #adjust
        self.tag_replace('BOXSELECT', tk.SEL)
    #reset box-select data    
    def __boxreset(self) -> None:
        self['insertwidth'] = INSWIDTH #reset caret display width
        self.tag_move(tk.SEL)          #delete tk.SEL tags
        self.__boxselect = False
        self.__boxstart  = None
        self.__boxend    = None
        self.__lbounds   = None
    #remove any whitespace that box-select created  
    def __boxclean(self, bnd:SelectBounds=None) -> None:
        if bnd:=(bnd or self.__lbounds):
            for n in self.image_names(): self.delete(n) #delete faux-carets
            p = self.caret
            for nr in range(bnd.br, bnd.er+1):
                b, e = f'{nr}.0', f'{nr}.end'
                t  = self.get(b, e) #get entire row
                #if the entire row is just whitespace, get rid of the whitespace
                if not len(ILWHITE.sub('', t)): self.replace_text(b, e, '')
                    #strip only to the right of the column
                    self.replace_text(f'{nr}.{bnd.ec}', e, t[bnd.ec:].rstrip())
            self.caret = p  
            #the end of the entire text is the only place where box-select will create new lines
            r,_ = map(int, self.index('end-1c').split('.'))
            #if we are on the last row
            if nr == r:
                #delete the last row until either it isn't blank or `nr` is exhausted
                while not (l:=len(self.get(f'{nr}.0', 'end-1c'))) and nr>=bnd.br:
                    self.delete(f'{nr-1}.end', 'end-1c')
                    self.caret = p 

    #update __lbounds (w)ith (g)rab (o)ffsets
    def __boxmove(self, wgo:bool=True) -> SelectBounds:
        if b:=self.__lbounds:
            r, c = map(int, self.caret.split('.'))
            #update bounds
            if self.__boxselect:
                r = r if not wgo else max(1, r+self.__vgrabofs)
                self.__lbounds = self.__bounds(f'{r}.{c}', f'{r+b.h}.{c+b.w}', ow=True, dn=b.dn, rt=b.rt)
            #normal select
                self.__lbounds = self.__bounds(f'{r}.{c}', self.index(f'{r}.{c}+{b.w}c'), dn=b.dn, rt=b.rt)
        return self.__lbounds

    #restore clipboard data to last clipboard
    def __restore_clipboard(self) -> None:
        if self.__lclipbd:

    #remove every selection-related thing 
    def __cut(self, p:str=None) -> bool:
        #get selection ranges
        r = self.tag_ranges(tk.SEL)
        for i in range(0, len(r), 2):
            self.tag_remove(tk.SEL, *r[i:i+2])  #remove tk.SEL tag
            self.replace_text(*r[i:i+2], '')    #delete selected text
        self.caret = p or self.caret            #put the caret somewhere
        return bool(r)
    #move all selected text to clipboard
    #this is safe for regular selected text but designed for box-selected text
    def __copy(self) -> bool:
        r = self.tag_ranges(tk.SEL)
        #compile clipboard data from ranges
        t = '\n'.join(self.get(*r[i:i+2]) for i in range(0,len(r),2))
        if t:
            #bkup, clear and populate clipboard
            #bkup used with drag to restore the clipboard after drop
            try               : self.__lclipbd = self.clipboard_get()
            except tk.TclError: self.__lclipbd = ''
        return bool(r)

    #insert clipboard text
    def __paste(self) -> bool:
            l = self.clipboard_get().split('\n')    #get lines
        except tk.TclError: return False
        r,c = map(int, self.caret.split('.'))   #get caret row, col
        #we can't go by columns due to tabs being possibly included
        x,_,_,_ = self.bbox(self.caret)
        #true single space character count from beginning of line to caret
        pc = int(x//self.__fw)
        #insert each line at an incrementing row index
        for i,t in enumerate(l):
            p = f'{r+i}.{c}'
            #if the row doesn't exist, create it
            if self.compare(p, '>=', 'end'): self.insert(tk.END, f'\n')
            #if the column doesn't exist, create it
            q = f'{r+i}.end'
            if self.compare(p, '>=', q) and i:
                #what's the difference in available and desired columns
                n = pc-int(self.index(q).split('.')[-1])
                #add enough space to keep us in line, and add the text while we are at it
                self.insert(q, f'{" "*(n)}{t}')
            #insert (t)ext at (p)osition
            self.insert(p, t)
        self.caret = f'{r}.{c}' #put the caret at the top-left of the paste
        return True
    def __handler(self, event) -> None:
        if event.type == tk.EventType.KeyPress:
            #Shift and Alt facts
            shift     = (event.keysym in SHIFTS) or (event.state & SHIFT)
            alt       = (event.keysym in ALTS  ) or (event.state & ALT  )
            shiftonly = shift and not alt
            altonly   = alt and not shift
            self.__as = alt and shift
            if event.state & CONTROL:
                if   event.keysym=='c':
                    #if not boxcopy, normal cut/copy/paste behaviors are used
                    self.__boxcopy = not self.__as_commit and self.__boxselect
                    #BOXSELECT COPY(Cntl+c)
                    if self.__boxcopy:
                        return 'break'
                elif event.keysym=='x':
                    #if not boxcopy, normal cut/copy/paste behaviors are used
                    self.__boxcopy = not self.__as_commit and self.__boxselect
                    #BOXSELECT CUT(Cntl+x)
                    if self.__boxcopy:
                        return 'break'
                elif event.keysym=='v':
                    #BOXSELECT PASTE(Cntl+v)
                    if self.__boxcopy:
                        self.__cut() #if any
                        #set caret to begin position
                        if b:=self.__lbounds: self.caret = f'{b.br}.{b.bc}'
                        return 'break'
            #Shift+Arrow while in box-select mode moves entire selection in Arrow direction
            elif event.keysym in ARROWS and shiftonly and self.__boxselect:
                if not (bnd:=self.__lbounds): return
                mc = self.__bounds(f'{bnd.br}.{bnd.bc}', f'{bnd.er}.{bnd.bc}', ow=False)
                #track any effect a deletion has on our drop index
                self.mark_set(INSPNT, f'{bnd.br}.{bnd.bc}')
                self.__aindex(event.keysym) #move caret according to keysym
                bnd = self.__boxmove(False)
                for _,_,_ in self.__bounds_range(tk.SEL, eo=not bnd.rt, ao=True): pass
                return 'break'
            elif event.keysym=='BackSpace':
                #BOXSELECT BackSpace
                if self.__boxselect:
                    for r,bc,ec,adv in self.__typing_range(-1):
                        if adv<0: self.delete(f'{r}.{bc-1}', f'{r}.{ec}')
                    return 'break'    
            #deselects and moves caret to the start(left) or end(right) of the former selection
            #works for any type of selection
            elif (event.keysym in HARROWS) and (not self.__as):
                if b:= self.__bounds(*self.tag_bounds(tk.SEL)):
                    self.caret = f'{b.er}.{b.ec}' if 'Right' in event.keysym else f'{b.br}.{b.bc}'
                    return 'break'
            if self.__as:   
                #if this keysym isn't Shift, Alt or an Arrow, ignore and act like it never happened
                ar, ks = (event.keysym in ARROWS), (event.keysym in ALTSHIFTS)
                if (ar and not (event.state&ARROWKEY)) or not (ar or ks):
                    return 'break'
                #capture selection method
                self.__as_mouse = (self.__as_mouse or bool(event.state&BUTTON1)) and (not self.__as_arrow)
                self.__as_arrow = (self.__as_arrow or (event.keysym in ARROWS )) and (not self.__as_mouse)
                if (self.__as_mouse or self.__as_arrow) and self.__as_free:
                    #box-select mousedown
                    if not self.__as_commit:
                        self.__boxselect = True
                        self.__as_commit = True
                        #store last known 'insert' index
                        self.__boxstart  = self.__linsert
                        if self.__as_mouse: return 'break'
                    #if we committed to arrow-selecting, and we aren't pressing an arrow, return
                    if self.__as_arrow and (event.keysym in ALTSHIFTS): return 'break'
                    #box-select mousemove ~ via last keypress (shift, alt, arrow) constantly firing
                    #vindex might not exist yet.
                    self.__boxend = (self.__aindex(event.keysym), self.__vindex(event.x, event.y))[self.__as_mouse]
                    #never use overwrite here, if you do you will lose the proper selection direction
                    if (bnd:=self.__bounds(ow=False)) == self.__lbounds: return
                    #remove whitespace and carets from last bounds, overwrite last bounds 
                    self.__lbounds = bnd
                    #draw rect
                    for r, bc, ec in self.__bounds_range('BOXSELECT', bo=not bnd.rt, eo=1):
                        _, lc = map(int, self.index(f'{r}.end').split('.'))
                        self.insert(f'{r}.{ec}', ' '*max(0, ec-lc)) #add columns if necessary
                    return 'break'
                #box-select mouseup ~ deinit hotbox 
                if self.__as_commit and self.__as_mouse: 
                    return 'break'
                #store 'insert' position before BUTTON1 press
                self.__linsert  = self.caret
                return 'break'
                if self.__boxselect and len(event.char):
                    #typing_range handles the faux-caret and bounds, we just need to insert
                    for r,c,_,_ in self.__typing_range(1): self.insert(f'{r}.{c}', event.char)  
                    return 'break'
        elif event.type == tk.EventType.KeyRelease:
            if self.__as_commit and (event.keysym in ALTSHIFTS): 
                return 'break'
            #this catches pressing and releasing hotbox without ever clicking the mouse
            self.__as = False
        elif event.type == tk.EventType.ButtonPress:
            mse  = self.index('current') #get mouse index
            #GRAB SELECTED
            #check if mouse index is within a selection
            if tk.SEL in self.tag_names(mse):
                if b:=self.__lbounds:
                    r,_ = map(int, mse.split('.')) #get mouse index row
                    self.__vgrabofs = b.br-r       #store vertical grab offset
                #normal selection
                    #create bounds for the selection ~ overwrite boxstart/boxend with min/max indexes
                    self.__lbounds = self.__bounds(*self.tag_bounds(tk.SEL), ow=True)
                self.tag_replace(tk.SEL, 'BOXSELECT')
                self.__selgrab = True    #only allow BOXSELECT tag in .__proxy
                self.__linsert = mse     #store the grab position
            #if a selection is not under the mouse, reset
            elif self.__boxselect: self.__boxreset()
        elif event.type == tk.EventType.Motion:
            if event.state&BUTTON1: self.set_activeline()
            if not self.__selgrab: return
            #if you are where you started, then dragging is false
            self.__seldrag = self.caret != self.__linsert
            #cursor indicates state
            self['cursor'] = ('xterm', 'fleur')[self.__seldrag]
            self['insertwidth'] = INSWIDTH
        elif event.type == tk.EventType.ButtonRelease:
            if not self.__selgrab: return
            #turn on all tag add/remove in __proxy
            self.__selgrab = False
            self['cursor'] = 'xterm'
            #nothing to drop ~ abort
            if not self.__seldrag:
            self.__seldrag = False
            self.tag_replace('BOXSELECT', tk.SEL)
            #make a "multiline caret" so __boxclean works down every row... 
            #in what will be the only remaining column, after deletion
            mc = None
            if self.__boxselect:
                mc = self.__bounds(*self.tag_bounds(tk.SEL), ow=False)
                mc = self.__bounds(f'{mc.br}.{mc.bc}', f'{mc.er}.{mc.bc}', ow=False)
            #DROP SELECTED                                  
            if bnd:=self.__boxmove(): # move bounds to current location
                #this tracks any effect a deletion has on where we are trying to drop this
                self.mark_set(INSPNT, (self.caret, f'{bnd.br}.{bnd.bc}')[self.__boxselect])
                self.__cut(INSPNT)     #delete selection and move caret to insertion point
                #PASTE NORMAL
                if not self.__boxselect:
                    ip = self.caret
                    self.__lbounds = self.__bounds(ip, self.caret, ow=True)
                    self.tag_move(tk.SEL, ip, self.caret) #clear and draw tk.SEL
                #PASTE COLUMN 
                bnd = self.__boxmove(False) #move bounds to caret
                #draw rect
                for _,_,_ in self.__bounds_range(tk.SEL, eo=not bnd.rt, ao=True): pass

if __name__ == '__main__':
    ROWS = 20
    class App(tk.Tk):
        def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
            tk.Tk.__init__(self, *args, **kwargs)
            self.columnconfigure(0, weight=1)
            self.rowconfigure   (0, weight=1)
            #instantiate editor
            (bst := BoxSelectText(self)).grid(sticky='nswe')
            #columnar text
            cols = ''.join(f'| {chr(o)*3} |' for o in range(97,123))
            full = '\n'.join(cols for _ in range(ROWS))
            #create a playground to test column select features
            bst.text = f'{full}\n\n\n{full}'


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