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How to move the cursor with a keyboard on macOS with mouse keys

The mouse and the trackpad  both make for a flexible way to navigate any computer but a lot of people prefer to just use the keyboard instead. This is fairly easy to do in most cases since many apps have keyboard shortcuts. It’s only when you’re switching between apps, or opening/closing them that you have to use either a mouse or a track. If you prefer to move the cursor with a keyboard, you can do that by enabling Mouse Keys on macOS.

Mouse keys on macOS

Mouse keys are an accessibility feature on macOS and have been a part of it for a long time. Not many people are aware of it as a feature simply because it’s part of the accessibility group of preferences.

To enable mouse keys on macOS, open System Preferences and select the Accessibility preference. In the column on the left, look for ‘Pointer Control’. Go to the ‘Alternative Control Methods’ tab. You’ll see an option called ‘Enable Mouse Keys’. Select it and you will be able to move the cursor with a keyboard.

After enabling Mouse Keys, you need to know which keys can move your mouse. If you have a numpad on your keyboard, it’s going to be fairly easy to remember which key does what. If not, the number keys at the top of the alphabet keys will do the job just fine.

The 8 key will move the cursor up, 2 will move it down. 4 will move it left, and 6 will move it right. To make this easier to remember, the even numbers move the cursor in four basic directions. 5 will left-click. For all other uneven numbers, 1, 3, 7, and 9, they will move the cursor diagonally. 1 moves it to the bottom left, 3 moves it to the bottom right, 7 moves it to the top left, and 9 moves it to the top right.

You should try all these out to see if the cursor moves as fast as you want it to. If not, visit the same preference in the System Preferences app. This time, click ‘Options’ next to ‘Enable Mouse Keys’. In the slider that opens, change the maximum speed, and the Initial Delay until the keys are able to move the cursor more smoothly.

While you’re on this panel, you might want to enable the ‘Press the Option key five times to toggle Mouse Keys’ option. This is useful if you don’t have a numpad. You will need to use the number keys at some point and won’t be able to with Mouse Keys enabled and no numpad.

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