Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I know that ctrl-e will move to me to the end of a line, and ctrl-a to the start.

I also know that ctrl-n will move down a line.

What other ctrl-key combinations are there?

Is it possible to move up a line?

How about, most desirable for me, is there something to move back and forth a word at a time?

I realize that I can do these things in emacs, or with an alternate set of keys in vi, but that's not what I am interested in.

If I am writing a question on one of the stackexchange sites or on a wiki, vi and emacs are not in play.

share|improve this question
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The default key bindings are stored in /System/Library/Frameworks/AppKit.framework/Resources/StandardKeyBinding.dict. You can use plutil to convert the file to an XML format, like so:

plutil -convert xml1 -o StandardKeyBinding.xml  /System/Library/Frameworks/AppKit.framework/Resources/StandardKeyBinding.dict

Or, if you have Xcode or Property List Editor, you can open it there.

In addition, you can add your own bindings system-wide to /Library/KeyBindings/DefaultKeyBinding.dict, or per-user to ~/Library/KeyBindings/DefaultKeyBinding.dict.

This page has a nice overview of bindings. I've grown particularly fond of Transpose (-T), which swaps the two letters to the left and right of your cursor, fixing my most common kind of typo quickly.

In addition, there are various additional tricks using the and keys:

  • - and move to the beginning or end of the line. Add to select everything in between.
  • - and move to the beginning or end of the document. Add to select everything in between.
  • - and move to the beginning or end of the word, or between multiple words. Add to select everything in between.
  • - and move to the beginning or end of the paragraph. Add to select everything in between.
share|improve this answer
add comment

You can use alt/option and the cursor ← / → keys to move back and forth whole words at a time, taking you to either the beginning or end of the word depending on the direction you choose.

Using shift also allows you to highlight text as you pass over it.

Using the same combinations with ↑ / ↓ does the same within paragraphs.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.