12 Keyboard Shortcuts for Navigating & Selecting Text in Mac OS X
Work with text often? You can navigate, select, and manipulate text faster than ever before by remembering these twelve keyboard shortcuts.
6 Text Navigation Shortcuts
The first group of keyboard shortcuts allow for quickly moving around text:
- Jump to beginning of a line – Command+Left Arrow
- Jump to end of a line – Command+Right Arrow
- Jump to beginning of current word – Option+Right Arrow
- Jump to end of current word – Option+Right Arrow
- Jump to beginning of all text – Command+Up Arrow
- Jump to end of all text – Command+Down Arrow
By adding a shift key to the above shortcuts, we are given six new tricks that allow for quick text selection of lines, words, and entire documents.
6 Text Selection Shortcuts
The next group of keyboard shortcuts allow for quickly highlighting and selecting elements of text:
- Select text to beginning of a line – Shift+Command+Left Arrow
- Select text to end of a line – Shift+Command+Right Arrow
- Select text to beginning of current word – Shift+Option+Right Arrow
- Select text to end of current word – Shift+Option+Right Arrow
- Select text to beginning of all text – Shift+Command+Up Arrow
- Select text to end of all text – Shift+Command+Down Arrow
Bonus tip: You can select non-contiguous text blocks in Mac OS X by hold down the command key, as demonstrated here.
These shortcuts should work in all versions of Mac OS X and with all Cocoa based apps, including Safari, Chrome, TextEdit, Pages and the iWork suite, and most other Mac apps and text editors.
Update: These keyboard shortcuts will also work with iOS devices that have a keyboard attached via Bluetooth or through a dock. Thanks for pointing this out Steve!
How to select from cursor till end or line in Safari? Shift+Cmd+arrow switches browser tabs. I dont see any option to disable this. This is one inconsistency about MacOS i dont like. Switch tabs should be just shift+Cmd+[ ]
Thank you so much.
OK. But how does one select non-editable text without using the mouse, specifically, such as the text that appears on a web page?
I think you meant to put “Option+Left Arrow” to move to beginning of current word?
“Jump to beginning of current word – Option+Right Arrow
Jump to end of current word – Option+Right Arrow”
“Option + Left arrow” works perfectly to go to the beginning of a word. But in my keyboard Option + Right arrow doesn’t go to the end of the word.
Do you know how to fix this? or how can I remap this shortcut?
For me, I just changed the keyboard input source. Mine didn’t work for Unicode Hex Input but worked fine with British one.
How do you select two or more sections of text that are not continuous?
This is a great question, you can use the command key to select non-contiguous text on the Mac. A walkthrough is here including a video to demonstrate the feature:
How do I remove those little arrows before each line in Mac Mail. They can make an email very long. What purpose do they serve
Format –> Quote Level –> Decrease
Speaking of dyslexia, if you position the cursor between two transposed characters, a control-T will swap them.
Also, if you have a shorty wireless keyboard, you can emulate an Enter keypress with fn-Return, and do a forward delete with fn-Delete.
It isn’t actually swapping. It is moving the character that is right of the cursor one space to the left. Try it between a character and a space that is left of the character.
I haven’t seen anyone mention ctrl-T, another Unix text editor one. When the insertion point is between two characters, this shortcut transposes their position. So if you typed “ym,” move the insertion point between the two letters and press ctrl-T to change to “my.”
Thank you. Very big plus for presentation of those tips. Short, clear and condensed!
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[…] Selezionare il testo alla fine di tutto il testo – Command + Maiusc + Freccia giù Queste scorciatoie dovrebbero funzionare con tutte le versioni di Mac OS X e con tutte le applicazioni base di Cocoa, tra cui Safari, Chrome, TextEdit, Pages e la suite iWork, e la maggior parte di altre applicazioni Mac e editor di testo. Inoltre queste scorciatoie da tastiera funzionano anche con dispositivi IOS che dispongono di una tastiera collegata via Bluetooth o attraverso un dock. Via | OSXDaily […]
nices Tips Thanks
What about for those users who have multiple spaces/desktops like me. Using +Left or right arrow just brings me to the next desktop without selecting any text. Anyway to overcome this or am I just outta luck?
In OS X Lion with a US keyboard, switching desktops should be set to Control+Left and Control+Right, perhaps yours is backwards?
As mentioned above you can use many of the emacs shortcuts in osx. So
Ctrl-a is the same as Cmd-Left
Ctrl-e is the same as Cmd-Right
Some more of my favorites coming out of the emacs world:
Ctrl-a: beginning of line
Ctrl-e: end of line
Ctrl-n: next line
Ctrl-p: previous line
Ctrl-k: kill from cursor to end of line
Oh, and one of the first things I figured out after switching from the linux world:
Alt-backspace: delete previous word. (I used ctrl-backspace on Linux/Sindows…) I can’t even type a paragraph without using this once or twice… =/
I’m sure there’s a handful more than I use a lot, but those are the most useful ones I’ve found.
I love the emacs shortcuts too, thought I was one of the few people who used them in OSX GUI
Why use ctl-a, etc. when ⌘← does the same thing? But ctl-k and ctl-y are very useful.
They are different functions in fact, though they look the same on the surface. The ⌘→ key moves the cursor to the end of the current wrapped line, whereas ⌃E moves the cursor to the end of the physical line, or the paragraph. The same is true for ⌃A in inverse, it always goes to the beginning of the physical line.
A better comparison would be that ⌃A is like ⌥↑, and ⌃E is like ⌥↓. As for why you would use the ctrl keys over those—it’s more ergonomic, especially on a larger keyboard where the arrow keys are way over there.
Tried to use in Gmail/FF 10 and they didn’t work.
It’s worth noting that these methods of moving around / selecting text also function exactly the same using an external keyboard on iOS.
2 corrections ……
Jump to beginning of current word – Option+Left Arrow
Select text to beginning of current word – Shift+Option+Left Arrow
Here are 2 more …..
Jump to beginning of a paragraph – Option+Up Arrow
Jump to end of paragraph – Option+Down Arrow
The decision to leave out the Numeric Keypad on the newer mac keyboards.. was a bad one. I returned my bluetooth mac keyboard and stuck with the wired one from the past that had bigger cursor keys and a num pad.
That’s also what I did. Still the Home, End, Page Up and Page Down keys are not mapped in all applications.
I’ve gone dyslexic over the Command & Control shortcut keys. Running out of fingers on my hands. Really tired of it.
What does dyslexic mean?
Dyslexia is a brain disorder that prevents one from reading words or putting written letters in order.