The Ultimate Guide for switching from a PC to a Mac
(Part 2 - coming soon)

Friday, April 20, 2007

PC Delete key on a Mac!

Since this tip only concerns portable Macs, a second tip will follow later today! A great tip submitted by Bryan Chan: PC Delete key on a Mac portable! There were many complaints about the fact that portable Macs don't have an equivalent to the PC delete key. The Mac delete key is actually the PC backspace key. There actually is a delete key on portable Macs: Fn-Delete. Thanks Bryan for the great tip! Don't forget to come back later today for the second tip!


Blogger MacTipper said...

You can also use Fn for a number pad. All you have to do is find keys with the blue lettering on it and hold Fn to use that key.

My Mac Blog

April 19, 2007 at 10:34 PM  
Blogger Cássio said...

I cant believe it. I've been looking for this since I got my MacBook Pro :D

April 19, 2007 at 11:35 PM  
Blogger Bryan said...

yeah I know Cassio - it took me about 2 weeks of fiddling around with my new MBP till I discovered it so I just HAD to share it around. I hate using the mouse/trackpad and like to have everything on keyboard. You might already know but  + tab will move through open apps. Also  + Q will quit the current app or the selected app whilst on +tab. Hope that helps people.

April 20, 2007 at 3:32 AM  
Blogger Young said...

I was surprised this is a tip!, I have a macbook and it literally says on the backspace key "delete". its in that light font which is used on Fn key. so i thought it was well known. But i'm surprised so many users were pleasant to know. Well i am glad that they know now, because without the delete key its pretty tough using parallels

April 20, 2007 at 5:05 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

And of course holding down alt as well will delete up to the end of the current word, as with backspace

April 20, 2007 at 5:17 AM  
Blogger MacTipper said...

For the Cmd-Tab tip, you can also use the Hide function by Cmd-Tabbing over to the app and then pressing the H key will still holding the Cmd key. You can even go backwards through the list by pressing the Tlde key.

Read more about Cmd-Tab Switching here.

My Mac Blog

April 20, 2007 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger Victoria said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

April 20, 2007 at 9:38 AM  
Blogger Victoria said...

It is the lack of a proper delete key and the presence of other unusual keys on the Mac keyboard that before I even bought one, I got a guide book to get around.

David Pogue's "Mac OS X: The Missing Manual" fortunately explained the fn-delete format, along with other equivalent or similar keys or shortcuts that are closest to those on the PC.

April 20, 2007 at 9:40 AM  
Blogger Lewis Cash said...

God bless you!

I have been wondering about this for the past two months, when I first got my MacBook.

April 20, 2007 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger Darren said...

I use command + delete on my Macbook pro.

April 20, 2007 at 12:49 PM  
Blogger RobertC said...

OK, let's get things straight:

-- the backspace key should in principle just move the cursor back by one character. It has been in the position where it is since the typewriter era. Since the advent of the cursor keys, it has been used to delete the last character typed, and therefore is properly labelled "delete" on a Mac keyboard. It is the key most used for corrections by those who know how to type (ten fingers).

-- the key marked "del", which sits in the middle keypad should properly be called the "forward delete key" since it deletes the next character. Typists very rarely use this key, because while they type there is nothing ahead of the cursor anyway.

-- using fn-delete to simulate the forward delete is well documented in the Mac help: just ask "forward delete" and it is in the first document that Mac Help sends back.

-- should you want to dedicate a function key to the forward delete, you can do this (and many other things) with the utility "Keyboard Maestro" from Michael Kamprath. Then you don't have to awkwardly search for the fn-key.

Rigueur, Précision, Sérénité.

April 20, 2007 at 2:52 PM  
Blogger oseary said...

Dude, I've been looking for a solution to this, as I knew it was something simple! I've had my MacBook for like two months, and just today did I figure this out! lol...

h00ray for mac n00bs!

April 22, 2007 at 9:11 PM  
Blogger Mitch said...

if you have a MacBook (I don't know if it will work with the MBP) you can make the enter key by the cursors and right command key a delete key by downloading this file and save it in /Users/yourShortName/Library/Keyboard Layouts/ then log in and out and select DeletableUS in International Settings.

April 25, 2007 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger lgalli said...

grazie guys!

January 24, 2009 at 5:32 AM  
Blogger Teal said...


September 17, 2009 at 5:51 PM  
Blogger ioazon said...

So useful!

November 8, 2009 at 3:00 AM  
Blogger noaYeze said...

Great tip! Thanks!

November 18, 2009 at 2:53 AM  
Blogger Llucía Ritort said...

In one word: saved-my-life. Oh the frustration. Not anymore! Best tip for Mac ever. Thank you, mate.

December 11, 2009 at 1:20 PM  
Blogger Eljugador said...

Sweet! So far this is the only thing I've missed about the PC.

December 11, 2009 at 5:49 PM  
Blogger Nicolas said...

Rofl. I have my Macbook since... 2 years and a half and I still didnt know that x)


Thx :)

December 14, 2009 at 5:53 AM  
Blogger Bjorn Thomson said...

Thank you - makes all the difference (though I still wish it were one key :().

January 8, 2010 at 2:03 AM  
Blogger Lyndy said...


So glad I found this tip!

wow wow wow wow wow!


June 20, 2010 at 7:26 AM  
Blogger Eggmasterblog said...

well bugger me!

August 18, 2010 at 4:18 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Brilliant! I've been frustrated by this for ages, thanks!

October 8, 2010 at 12:49 PM  
Blogger Black Bear Design said...

THANK YOU!!!! I have been struggling over this for years and just got fed up and searched. This is like finding $500!

October 15, 2010 at 5:29 PM  
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November 12, 2010 at 10:00 PM  
Blogger Bazza said...

I guess it has all been said But bugger me is the best one, I have been looking for this for two weeks since I got my Macbook Air

December 8, 2010 at 11:26 AM  
Blogger van33 said...

It just seems to me that anything that I do on a mac is always 2-3 clicks more than how I do it on a PC. One good example is the delete button, another would be closing applications.

I don't like it as well how macs don't have task bars. Sure there's spaces but then again, additional 2-3 clicks compared to the pc.

I'm still trying to get a hang of my MBP. I may ultimately give it up if I feel like it's taking me longer to do my work on that machine over a pc.

February 4, 2011 at 1:55 AM  
Blogger Josue said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

February 15, 2011 at 2:21 PM  
Blogger Norm and Drew said...

The delete issue has been a pain in my back side since I switched from pc to mac. Sometimes I wonder what I was doing. This helps alot.


February 19, 2011 at 11:53 PM  
Blogger zaelu said...


What you guys have been smoking?

"OK, let's get things straight:"

A PC keyboard has just evolved from those typing machines... is not necessarily keeping old features. If that backspace key would just move the cursor than you mac KB shouldn't have the left arrow key. Or at least yours shouldn't so you will byte your nails.

That backspace key was moving the cursor to the left so you could overwrite the last character with an X or something so in effect you would backward delete a character... Which a normal PC keyboard does directly. It delete a character to the left of cursor.

The necessity for a forward delete appeared when in PC era the cursor could be placed rapidly wherever you desire so you could start deleting one or more characters in front of the cursor.

Yes... delete key could be named forward delete but because a backward delete is already used as "Backspace" a single named "DELETE" key is more easily. Like the mouse clicks... Click and right click.

And the rest you say is complete junk... I don't give a darn on that manual if it is documenting the absence of a stupid key.

I had to subscribe just to respond several years after posting to this MAC schmuck!

Go upgrade you logic!

February 23, 2011 at 7:49 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Thank you for the tip ' fn-delete' ! I was searching my ass off for that. Keep up the good work!

April 21, 2011 at 4:05 AM  
Blogger Manuel said...

I think it is stupid that there isn't a forward-delete key on Macs. I know in Mac OS things work differently and perhaps the lack of this key is not such an issue, but considering that they created BootCamp, which allows, it would make sense to put this key somewhere. I personally like being able to both backward-delete and forward-delete. There are many other rubbishy things on Macs, like no hardware eject button, or not being able to resize windows from all edges and corners... I could go on.

September 2, 2011 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger TomD said...

Also everyone, on a MBP using the command key with the up, down, and right and left arrow keys causes them to function like the home and end keys in a PC.

October 26, 2011 at 10:38 PM  
Blogger TomD said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

October 26, 2011 at 10:39 PM  
Blogger Colin Dempsey said...

Thank you, I really needed this info!

July 31, 2012 at 11:27 PM  
Blogger HaNIeL said...

I must say thank you, this tip is awesome, I have just started my mac journey and kept asking Mac people how to "delete", and none of them understand my meaning!

August 30, 2012 at 10:33 AM  
Blogger Timo said...

For those looking for a single key forward delete button equivalent to the delete key on a PC, download doublecommand from sourceforge. It's a handy system preference tool that lets you reassign the functions of certain keys. Eg, the right option key on my MBP now acts like a forward delete key; only one keystroke necessary!

September 1, 2012 at 4:59 PM  
Blogger Pact said...

So you have to hit two keys on a Mac to do the same thing that you only need 1 key on a PC to do? Reminds me of the Samsun G3 iPhone parody commercials

December 13, 2012 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger Scott Warner said...

Thank you so much. I just started working on a mac,
and I am quite thrilled, to have the best computer
that is available to the public.

MacBook Pro, 15" Retina. Boss Graphics, Boss everything.

But yeah, this is my first Mac, so I am quite excited!
Now I know why, Mac retains their customers..

Scott Warner

March 22, 2013 at 10:43 PM  
Blogger Anuja said...

space button to maximize the view and cmnd+del to delete as in PC

July 12, 2013 at 7:37 PM  

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