On a Mavericks system, I would like to use Ctrl+left/Ctrl+right instead of Alt+left/Alt+right to move to the next word or the previous word.

Mission Control is not using Ctrl+left/Ctrl+right (I changed that from the default value).

Is it possible to do this with some system setting (i.e. without a keymapper)?

2 Answers 2


You can use KeyRemap4MacBook with a private.xml such as this:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
    <name>⌃← & ⌃→ to ⌥← & ⌥→</name>
      KeyCode::CURSOR_LEFT, VK_CONTROL | ModifierFlag::NONE,
      KeyCode::CURSOR_LEFT, ModifierFlag::OPTION_L
      KeyCode::CURSOR_RIGHT, VK_CONTROL | ModifierFlag::NONE,
      KeyCode::CURSOR_RIGHT, ModifierFlag::OPTION_L

I'm not aware of any System Preferences setting regarding this.

With regard to comment, change the contents of the <autogen> to…

KeyCode::CURSOR_LEFT, VK_OPTION | ModifierFlag::NONE,
KeyCode::CURSOR_LEFT, ModifierFlag::CONTROL_L
KeyCode::CURSOR_RIGHT, VK_OPTION | ModifierFlag::NONE,
KeyCode::CURSOR_RIGHT, ModifierFlag::CONTROL_L
  • OK, I see it is not possible to do it without a Remapper. Just a quick mention that I actually needed Alt-Left and Alt-Right to Ctrl+Left and Ctrl+Right, so I guess that simply swapping the KeyCode:: lines should do the trick.
    – Pep
    Jan 2, 2014 at 18:44
  • @Pep Not quite as easy as swapping the entire line, just the second parameter of each — see edit.
    – grg
    Jan 2, 2014 at 18:46

Another option is to create ~/Library/KeyBindings/ and save a property list like this as ~/Library/KeyBindings/DefaultKeyBinding.dict:

   "^\UF700" = moveWordUp:;
   "^\UF701" = moveWordDown:;
   "^\UF702" = moveWordLeft:;
   "^\UF703" = moveWordRight:;
   "^$\UF700" = moveWordUpAndModifySelection:;
   "^$\UF701" = moveWordDownAndModifySelection:;
   "^$\UF702" = moveWordLeftAndModifySelection:;
   "^$\UF703" = moveWordRightAndModifySelection:;

Quit and reopen applications to apply the changes.

More information:

  • I like this solution because it does not require any additional software, and instead relies on Apple's built-in functionality. I also added "^\U007F" = deleteWordBackward:; to map ctrl+backspace to delete word. Mar 4, 2014 at 22:41

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