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How to forward delete on a Macbook

Macbook keyboards don’t have the same set of keys you’ll find on Apple’s external keyboards or on a standard keyboard that you’d use with a PC. To that end, you will find that there is only one ‘Delete’ key and it acts like a backspace key. It will delete characters to the left of where the cursor is. On non-Macbook keyboards, those that have a full set of keys, you will find a backspace key and a separate delete key. The delete key deletes items to the right of the cursor i.e., it forward deletes. Here’s how you can forward delete on a Macbook.

Forward delete on Macbook

There are two different keyboard shortcuts that you can use to forward delete on a Macbook.

Fn+Delete

Control+D

Both the shortcuts do the same thing. It’s up to you to choose which one you use. The Function and Control keys are basically side-by-side on the keyboard and for some users, it might be more convenient to use Control+D due to the proximity of the two keys.

The Function and Delete keys are practically on opposite sides of the keyboard on most keyboards. It may not be the easiest to use.

Third-party apps

There are third-party apps that can remap keyboard keys but finding an app that can map a keyboard shortcut to a single key may take a little more effort. Karabiner doesn’t seem to be able to do the job but you can try writing a script. There are other paid apps that do the job so it really depends on what you prefer; using a built-in keyboard shortcut because it’s free or using an app because it might be more convenient.

If you’re on an iMac and not a Macbook, you can always just get a different keyboard. Apple’s external keyboards do come with a full set of keys and a non-Apple keyboard will work just fine with any Mac.

The built-in keyboard shortcuts are really the best option. You don’t lose any functionality and you don’t have to choose between deleting in one direction or the other. The option to delete text to the left or to the right of the cursor is always going to be there. More importantly, if you ever choose to change what one of the modifier keys does, e.g., you change what the Function key does, you can still use the Control+D keyboard shortcut to forward delete on a Macbook.

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