It's easy to consider yourself a keyboard shortcut master until one morning you hit the wrong key combination and something exciting and new happens. Just this morning, I discovered a handful of new keyboard shortcuts on my Mac that I had never heard of but that I plan to integrate into my workflow ASAP.
In short, the hitherto unknown-to-me shortcuts align very closely with Emacs, one of the five most popular text editors. Emacs is full of untraditional (for most) and handy little shortcuts that can come in incredibly useful under the right circumstances.
Emacs Shortcuts for OS X
The shortcuts I've tested on my Mac this morning are:
- Ctrl+A: Beginning of line (like Home)
- Ctrl+B: Backward one character (like hitting the left arrow)
- Ctrl+D: Forward delete (like the Forward Delete button on Macs)
- Ctrl+E: End of line (like End)
- Ctrl+F: Forward one character (like hitting the right arrow)
- Ctrl+H: I'm not entirely sure on this one, but it looks like it just does a right-to-left delete (like the regular delete key on Macs).
- Ctrl+K: Kill/remove text between cursor and the end of the line.
- Ctrl+N: Next line (like down arrow)
- Ctrl+P: Previous line (like up arrow)
- Ctrl+U: Remove/delete current line
- Ctrl+V: Page down
When Would I Use These?
As you can tell, you probably won't be using most of these shortcuts all that often—for example, most people would probably find it easier to just hit the right arrow than perform a Ctrl+F keyboard combo, and some duplicate other shortcuts that are already ingrained in your muscle memory—but others can come in very handy. For example, the Home/End keys don't always work how you'd want them to—even after remapping them. Running Gmail on Firefox in OS X, for example, neither Home/End nor Cmd+Right/Left work in emails when I'm in Rich Formatting mode. You know what does, though? Ctrl+A/E.
There's a good chance you may not adopt many (or any) of these extra shortcuts, but it's always good to know your options. Whether you've been using these shortcuts forever on OS X or not, let's hear your favourites and any I missed in the comments.