Ah, the Delete key. I’m pretty sure I use it more than any other key on my Mac’s keyboard. Here are two Delete key power tips for everyone who knows what I’m talking about.

1. If you hold down the Option-Delete keys at the same time when you’re writing in most OS X-native applications (Text Edit, Safari, Mail), you can delete the entire last word you typed instead of only the last letter you typed.

Try . (Whoops, I just used this tip and deleted the word “it.”) 🙂

2. You can “forward delete” on a Mac as easily as you can on a PC. Somewhat confusingly, some people call forward-deleting “delete,” and the backwards-deleting Mac people are used to “backspacing.”

Normally when you use the Delete key on a Mac, the cursor travels backwards, erasing the words behind it. However, the older Apple Pro keyboard, the new ultra-tin thin Apple keyboard, and many other third party keyboards also have a dedicated forward Delete key. The symbol on the key is an 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. It may also say “del.”

However, Apple notebooks (as well as the new ultra-thin Apple BlueTooth keyboard) don’t have a dedicated forward Delete key. To forward-delete on PowerBooks, iBooks, MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and the new Apple BlueTooth keyboard, simply hold down the fn key (Function key) and press the Delete key. The cursor will gobble up the words in front 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 and the delete functions are just like PCs. I would imagine that any of the “Mac compatible” Logitech keyboards function similarly.”


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