Where is the delete key on my Mac keyboard?

Forward Delete on Mac, like the Windows DEL Key, with fn+Delete

  • Hold down the “fn” (function) key then press the “delete” key

Forward Delete on Mac with Control + D

Forward Delete on Mac with Control + D

  • Another option is to use Control + D to forward delete

Relatively unknown to many macOS and Mac OS X users, this ranks among the most commonly asked questions for Windows & PC converts that have come to the Mac platform.

If you’d rather not use a modifier shortcut and would prefer a dedicated forward delete key on the Mac, you can use a free tool to remap the seldom used Power button on Mac keyboards to function as a PC style DEL button.

How to Remap the Power Key to Become a Delete Key

Rather have a physical DEL key? A free third party utility called “PowerKey” lets you reassign the Power key on Macs to function as a forward delete button, just like how the DEL key works in the PC world. Technically PowerKey has other options and can remap the key to perform other functions too, but the Delete option is the most relevant to our needs here.

Uncompress the folder, open the “Release” directory as the other folders contain source code, then right-click on the Powerkey.app and choose “Open” to get around the Gatekeeper ‘unidentified developer’ limitation (assuming it’s enabled to be restrictive). Choose to run at login or in the background, and enjoy your new forward delete key. The power functions are still accessible either by holding down the power key to shut down the Mac without warning, or by hitting Function+Power to access the power options menu for sleep, restart, and shut down as would be normally summoned by just tapping the key itself.

While we’re on the topic of delete functions, let’s cover two other helpful tricks:

Delete Entire Words

  • Press and hold the Option key while hitting the Delete key

Delete an Entire Line of Text

  • Press and hold the Command while hitting the Delete key

These two functions will work in just about every Mac OS X app, whether it’s a word processor, text editor, browser, terminal, or whatever else you’re using. Take the time to memorize all these simple delete functions and your workflow is sure to improve.

Video

How do I reset my Mac before selling it?

Shut down your Mac, then turn it on and immediately press and hold these four keys together: Option, Command, P and R. Release the keys after about 20 seconds. This will clear user settings from the memory and restore certain security features that may have been altered previously.

Document shortcuts

The behavior of these shortcuts may vary with the app you’re using.

  • Command-B: Boldface the selected text, or turn boldfacing on or off. 
  • Command-I: Italicize the selected text, or turn italics on or off.
  • Command-K: Add a web link.
  • Command-U: Underline the selected text, or turn underlining on or off.
  • Command-T: Show or hide the Fonts window.
  • Command-D: Select the Desktop folder from within an Open dialog or Save dialog.
  • Control-Command-D: Show or hide the definition of the selected word.
  • Shift-Command-Colon (:): Display the Spelling and Grammar window.
  • Command-Semicolon (;): Find misspelled words in the document.
  • Option-Delete: Delete the word to the left of the insertion point.
  • Control-H: Delete the character to the left of the insertion point. Or use Delete.
  • Control-D: Delete the character to the right of the insertion point. Or use Fn-Delete.
  • Fn-Delete: Forward delete on keyboards that don’t have a Forward Delete   key. Or use Control-D.
  • Control-K: Delete the text between the insertion point and the end of the line or paragraph.
  • Fn–Up Arrow: Page Up: Scroll up one page. 
  • Fn–Down Arrow: Page Down: Scroll down one page.
  • Fn–Left Arrow: Home: Scroll to the beginning of a document.
  • Fn–Right Arrow: End: Scroll to the end of a document.
  • Command–Up Arrow: Move the insertion point to the beginning of the document.
  • Command–Down Arrow: Move the insertion point to the end of the document.
  • Command–Left Arrow: Move the insertion point to the beginning of the current line.
  • Command–Right Arrow: Move the insertion point to the end of the current line.
  • Option–Left Arrow: Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous word.
  • Option–Right Arrow: Move the insertion point to the end of the next word.
  • Shift–Command–Up Arrow: Select the text between the insertion point and the beginning of the document.
  • Shift–Command–Down Arrow: Select the text between the insertion point and the end of the document.
  • Shift–Command–Left Arrow: Select the text between the insertion point and the beginning of the current line.
  • Shift–Command–Right Arrow: Select the text between the insertion point and the end of the current line.
  • Shift–Up Arrow: Extend text selection to the nearest character at the same horizontal location on the line above.
  • Shift–Down Arrow: Extend text selection to the nearest character at the same horizontal location on the line below.
  • Shift–Left Arrow: Extend text selection one character to the left.
  • Shift–Right Arrow: Extend text selection one character to the right.
  • Option–Shift–Up Arrow: Extend text selection to the beginning of the current paragraph, then to the beginning of the following paragraph if pressed again.
  • Option–Shift–Down Arrow: Extend text selection to the end of the current paragraph, then to the end of the following paragraph if pressed again.
  • Option–Shift–Left Arrow: Extend text selection to the beginning of the current word, then to the beginning of the following word if pressed again.
  • Option–Shift–Right Arrow: Extend text selection to the end of the current word, then to the end of the following word if pressed again.
  • Control-A: Move to the beginning of the line or paragraph.
  • Control-E: Move to the end of a line or paragraph.
  • Control-F: Move one character forward.
  • Control-B: Move one character backward.
  • Control-L: Center the cursor or selection in the visible area.
  • Control-P: Move up one line.
  • Control-N: Move down one line.
  • Control-O: Insert a new line after the insertion point.
  • Control-T: Swap the character behind the insertion point with the character in front of the insertion point.
  • Command–Left Curly Bracket ({): Left align.
  • Command–Right Curly Bracket (}): Right align.
  • Shift–Command–Vertical bar (|): Center align.
  • Option-Command-F: Go to the search field. 
  • Option-Command-T: Show or hide a toolbar in the app.
  • Option-Command-C: Copy Style: Copy the formatting settings of the selected item to the Clipboard.
  • Option-Command-V: Paste Style: Apply the copied style to the selected item.
  • Option-Shift-Command-V: Paste and Match Style: Apply the style of the surrounding content to the item pasted within that content.
  • Option-Command-I: Show or hide the inspector window.
  • Shift-Command-P:  Page setup: Display a window for selecting document settings.
  • Shift-Command-S: Display the Save As dialog, or duplicate the current document.
  • Shift–Command–Minus sign (-): Decrease the size of the selected item.
  • Shift–Command–Plus sign (+): Increase the size of the selected item. Command–Equal sign (=) performs the same function.
  • Shift–Command–Question mark (?): Open the Help menu.

Miscellaneous

ActionKeystroke
Force Quit (displayed list of apps)Cmd-Opt-Esc
Scroll using a Trackpad (like a mouse’s scroll wheel)Slide 2 fingers on the trackpad
Right-click using a Trackpad (like on a 2 button mouse)Place 2 fingers on the trackpad and Click
Hide the current appCmd-H
Hide all other apps (other than the current app)Cmd-Option-H
Adjust the font size in Messages appCmd-Plus(+) or Cmd-Minus(-)
Quickly find any menu item and launch it.
  1. Press Cmd-Shift-/ (which is Cmd-? on the keyboard)
  2. In the Help menu Search that opens, start typing a few letters of your desired menu command.
  3. Arrow key down to the item you want and press Return to choose it.
If an app re-opens with the windows that were open when you last quit it, you can tell it not to re-open the windows.Hold Shift while launching an app
Turn off notifications (turn on Do Not Disturb)Option-click the Notification Center icon in menu bar to toggle notifications off/on
Change system volume in smaller incrementsHold Opt–Shift while changing volume
Change system volume with confirmation beepsHold Shift while changing volume (prior to Yosemite this would disable the beeps)
Turn display mirroring on/off (when connected to an additional display)Command–Brightness Down (F1)
Completely smooth scrolling, one pixel at a time (does not work in all apps)Hold Option while dragging scrollbar
Open “Sound” panel of System PreferencesPress Option and a Sound key (Mute, Volume Up or Down)
Open “Displays” panel of System PreferencesPress Option and a Brightness key
Customize the toolbar at the top of a window. Works in the Finder, Apple Mail, Preview, etc. but not some apps, like Firefox.
  • Cmd drag icons to rearrange.
  • Cmd drag icon off toolbar to remove.
  • Ctrl-click toolbar and choose Customize for more options.
Move the Terminal cursor with the mouseOption–click where you’d like the cursor
Change Terminal Directory to a specific folder (cd into the folder)Cmd-Drag a folder onto the Terminal Window

How to forward-delete without the Delete key

On your MacBook keyboard, hold down the Fn button (you’ll find it at the bottom left of the keyboard layout) and then press Backspace. It will do a forward-delete instead of its default backwards-delete. Read next: Best Mac shortcuts

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