The Mac OS X Delete Key: It Goes Both Ways

One of the biggest pet peeves for users who switch to Mac from Windows is the Delete key, because it feels backwards. To make matters worse, the vast majority of Mac users don’t use the full-size keyboard (which has Delete keys for both directions). Here are a few quick shortcuts to set the matter straight for everyone, but especially for those MacBook users out there.

Photo by Matt McGee

  • Deleting text in front of the cursor with the regular Delete key can be done by holding down the Function, or fn key while pressing it.
  • You can also do this by pressing Control + D.
  • You can delete the entire word behind the cursor by pressing Control + Delete or Option + Delete.
  • You can delete the entire line of text or paragraph behind the cursor by pressing Command + Delete.
  • To delete a file when in Finder, use Command-Delete.

There you have it! Even on a laptop keyboard, you don’t have to feel constrained by Apple’s seemingly draconian Delete key—if you know the right way to use it.

Shortcut of the Day highlights a great shortcut on various platforms from the desktop to mobile devices to the web. You can find more shortcuts here.

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