We recently relaunched our Mac Basics classes. One of the most common questions from recent switchers (besides “can I use a right click mouse”) is how to forward delete, as can easily be done on a Windows PC. Somewhat confusingly, some people simply call forward deleting “delete,” and the backwards deleting Mac users are used to “backspacing.”

If you use the delete key on almost any Mac, the cursor travels backwards, erasing the words behind it. However, the Apple Pro keyboard, and many other third party keyboards (such as my incredibly loud but fun-to-type-on Matias Tactile Pro) have a dedicated forward delete key. Its symbol is a arrow pointing right with an “x” printed on it. On your Apple or similar keyboard, this key is located above the the four arrow keys between the letter portion of the keyboard and the number pad. Again, it will be printed with a right-pointing arrow with an “x” in it, and it may also say “del.” See a picture here:

forward_delete_apple_pro.gif

The image is also hosted on our Flickr web page:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/smalldog/

Apple laptops don’t have a dedicated forward delete key. To forward delete on PowerBooks, iBooks, MacBook or MacBook Pros, simply hold down the fn key (function key) and press delete. The cursor will gobble up the words in from of it. On MacBooks, MacBook Pros, PowerBooks, and iBooks, the fn key is located on lower left corner of the keyboard, under the shift key.

Some people like to remap their Apple keyboards, so they can dedicate a key to forward-deleting. Many people recommend and use DoubleCommand for this. Read about DoubleCommand here:

http://doublecommand.sourceforge.net/

NOTE: Kibbles & Bytes reader Marty wrote in, saying “I use a Logitech Elite keyboard anf its delete functions are
just like PCs. I would imagine that any of the “Mac compatible”
Logitech keyboards function similarly.”

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