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$ I want to be able to tab from the start of one word to the next in this line, but how?

usually if I paste something in the input line then want to change something in the start or middle, I have to press the left arrow for a long time, is there a faster way to do this?

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What version of Mac OS X are you running? What works in Terminal from, say, Mountain Lion doesn't always work in, say, Panther or Tiger. –  Daniel Lawson Feb 16 '13 at 21:07
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3 Answers 3

Use option ⌥+ and option ⌥+. You will be able to step by one word.

Update:

You can also go to start of the line using control+A or to end of the line using control+E

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If you check Preferences > Settings > Keyboard > Use option as meta key, you can also use ⌥B and ⌥F (and ⌥⌫ will delete a word backward).

Terminal's default settings also affect programs like vim and nano where M-f doesn't go a word forward. I have deleted them and added this to ~/.inputrc:

"\e\e[C": forward-word
"\e\e[D": backward-word

This would also make ⌥⌦ delete a word forward:

"\e(": kill-word
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Press ESC then b or ESC then f to go back and forward respectively.

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