About that DELETE key

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by NJRonbo, Apr 7, 2007.

  1. NJRonbo macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2007
    I have a Mac Pro desktop and a Macbook Pro laptop.

    Love both of them, but have a major problem with the
    DELETE key.

    Explain this please....

    On the Mac Pro desktop the DELETE key works by deleting text
    from the first letter foward.

    On a Macbook Pro the DELETE key works by deleting text from
    the last letter backwards (which I hate!)

    Is this common? Is there a way to fix the DELETE key so
    it deletes in the manner I prefer?

  2. mantic macrumors 6502a

    Mar 30, 2007
    Everything i've ever used deletes from right to left. It makes perfect sense considering you write from left to right.

    That said sorry I can't help you with your 'problem'. Hopefully someone can!
  3. TBi macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2005
    I think you are confusing the two delete keys. The backspace button "<-" is not the same as the delete key "delete"/"del".

    The Mac Pro has both on its keyboard while the MacBook only has the backspace button. However this can function as the delete key if you hold FN.

    For the record:
    backspace deletes from right to left
    delete deletes from left to right
  4. kwood macrumors 6502a


    Jun 26, 2006
    In the Great White North.
    There are 2 delete keys on a regular Mac keyboard. Above the Arrow keys is deletes to the left, and the delete with the letters deletes to the right. The latter is commonly called "Back Space"
  5. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    To get your MacBook Pro to do forward delete, use fn-delete.

    But the "delete" keys on both keyboard should by default function the same way...as a backspace. The forward delete on a full-sized keyboard should be the "del" key above the arrow keys. Because of the condensed keyboard of a laptop, the MacBook Pro doesn't have that key, so fn-delete takes its place.

    Confusion crops up because Apple frequently labels the backspace key "delete". Calling the delete key "del" doesn't really differentiate them enough.
  6. AutumnSkyline macrumors regular


    Oct 5, 2006
    nope, you have it backwards, the one with the arrow keys deletes towards the right, and the one with the letters deletes towards the left<--- that is what is normally called backspace.
  7. timmillwood macrumors 6502a

    Apr 7, 2006
    sorry, you have it backwards!

    The key with <-- printed on it goes <--this way
    The key with Delete printer on it goes -->this way
  8. NJuul macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2006
    On your MacBook Pro, if you don't use that second enter-key of yours, you can remap it to act as a "Del" key, using this handy little app.
  9. mattster16 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2004

    actually it's the other way around.
  10. zephead macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2006
    in your pants
    Thanks for that! I always thought the extra enter key was the stupidest thing about my MacBook keyboard, but now it's in the same place as the delete key on my old PC. Thanks again. :)
  11. TBi macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2005
    Actually he's right :)
  12. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Apple Keyboard:
    Backspace erases left
    Del erases right

    'Book Keyboard:
    delete erases left
    fn + delete erases right

    It's very confusing because Apple has made it that way.

    *Note: This is on the U.S. setting.
  13. jockeyrob macrumors member

    Nov 24, 2006
    I have a program, can't remember what it was called, but it changed my "\" key into a right (-->) delete key, and allowing me to backwards slash "\" when I press function-backwards slash. Since I never use backwards slash, and was accostomed to having a right delete key it was perfect.
  14. g7by08believeit macrumors member

    Sep 22, 2006

    No, the other way around.
  15. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    THis thread reminds me of this...

    Duck season, rabbit season :D

    Attached Files:

  16. TBi macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2005
    Nu Huh!
  17. Anonymous Freak macrumors 603

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    Ah, what country's keyboard?

    It is exasperated even more by the fact that the keys are labeled differently in different countries.

    There are two possible keys that could be called "delete" keys on Apple keyboards.

    One Apple refers to as the "delete" key. It is in the main keyboard section of desktop keyboards, and is the only one present on laptop keyboards. On U.S. English keyboards it is labeled just "delete". On international keyboards, it has a boxy arrow pointing to the left with an x in it, or just a 'long' arrow pointing to the left. (For U.S. laptop keyboard, it is the one at the upper-right just under the 'eject' key here. For desktop keyboards, it is at the upper right of the main text section, just under the F13 key here.) This key, on almost every other keyboard on the planet, is referred to as "backspace".

    The other, Apple refers to as "forward delete" or "fwd delete". It is not present on laptop keyboards, only on desktop keyboards. On U.S. English keyboards, is is labeled with both "delete" and a boxy arrow pointing to the RIGHT with an x in it. On international keyboards, it is usually just the boxy arrow with an x; it may or may not say 'del' or 'delete'. (See the second link above, it is in the 'navigation' section of the keyboard, underneath 'help', and above the arrow keys.) On a laptop, its function can be achieved by holding down function ('fn') and hitting the normal delete/backspace key.

    So the confusion can arise in that if you are used to seeing a U.S. English laptop labeled 'delete' for the "backspace" key, and an international keyboard that just has the arrow for "backspace", but has 'delete' plus the boxy arrow written on the "forward delete" key, it can be confusing.

    Odd, I cannot find a picture of an international Apple keyboard *ANYWHERE* in high enough quality showing both the backspace and forward delete keys.
  18. sunsnewmac macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2007
    you will eventually get used to fn + delete
    i was also used to having delete and backspace on seperate keys but it doesn't take long to adapt to the MB keyboard :)
  19. Temujin macrumors 6502a


    Oct 1, 2005
  20. Hooky macrumors newbie

    Apr 20, 2007
    I only have one arm (the right one) due to an accident years ago. I have a US MBP with a delete key and no backspace. Given the lack of a left hand to hit the function key at the same time as the delete key, how would you recommend I get the Delete key to act like a PC delete? I.E. Delete=>, and still have a key to use like a PC <=Backspace eraser.

    Forgive the newbie question I just bought the machine and am switching from 20 years of PC.
  21. TheAnswer macrumors 68030


    Jan 25, 2002
    Orange County, CA
    I would think that Apple Menu > System Preferences > Universal Access > Keyboard > Sticky Keys would help in this case. I'm on a desktop, so I can't confirm it works with the "fn" key...but I would hope it would.
  22. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    Evidently, we're all looking at different keyboard layouts, and that's further confusing matters for everyone.

    This is what I see on a Mac Pro keyboard:


    Two keys, labeled "delete." there is no key labeled with a "<------" on it. has there ever been a mac keyboard that has a "<----"? The older G4 at work doesn't have it either.

    Anyway, in this configuration the larger "delete" key is really a "backspace" key, deleting characters to the left of the cursor, while the smaller "delete" key is the real delete key, deleting characters to the right of the cursor. The smaller key has a "[x]>" on it, and I suppose that could differentiate the two.

    Meanwhile, there is no differentiation at all on MacBooks and Mac Book Pros. This is what I see on my MBP keyboard:


    One delete key. If you press it, it performs a "backspace" function. If you press Fn+delete, then it performs the "delete" function.

    Then there's the typical PC layout:


    Which arguably is a bit clearer. But then I doubt anyone here would want to admit the PC way ever being the "right" way. :)
  23. Anonymous Freak macrumors 603

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    The confusion arises from the fact that, once upon a time, "back space" and "delete" were two separate functions. This comes from typewriters with correcting ribbons. You would "space backwards", then you would "delete" the letter afterwards by typing it again with the correcting (white) ribbon.

    PC keyboards use the older "backspace" terminology, while Apple keyboards use the more proper "delete" terminology (and, again, the one that only exists on desktop keyboards is referred to as "forward delete" to differentiate it.) It is more confused by the fact that PC keyboards have a "delete" key that really is "forward delete".
  24. Butthead macrumors 6502


    Jan 10, 2006
    Double Command linked above will allow to you remap several keys to function differently(but with most OS updates, you'll need to reinstall DC as the keyboard will go back to default operation, or get an updated version of DC that works with the latest OS revision):


    DoubleCommand Feature List
    Value Feature
    0 Disable DoubleCommand
    1 Enter key acts as a Command key
    2 Enter key acts as a Control key
    4 Enter key acts as an Option key
    8 Enter key acts as an fn key (partial support, cursor keys only)
    16 Command key acts as an Option key
    32 Command key acts as a Control key
    64 Option key acts as a Command key
    256 Control key acts as a Command key
    512 Swaps Control key and Option key
    2048 Capslock key acts as a Control key
    4096 fn key acts as a Control key
    8192 Swaps numpad . with numpad shift+.
    16384 Shift + Delete acts as a Forward Delete
    32768 Disable Command and Option
    65536 PC style Home and End keys
    131072 Backslash (\) acts as a Forward Delete
    262144 Swap function key behaviour on new 'Books
    524288 Disable Capslock
    1048576 Enter key acts as Forward Delete
    Any sensible combination of the above can be used
    Preference pane (contributed by Christian Nadolle).

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