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Aside from switching between the playback/system control keys and the regular function keys, in macOS the fn key can be used to access keys not available on the keyboard. For example, if a dedicated ⌦ Delete key there isn't present, then fn+⌫ Backspace result in ⌦ Delete.

My problem is that this behaviour doesn't persist for keyboard shortcuts: when used in conjunction with ⌘ Command or ⌃ Control, fn is ignored. This generates a few inconsistencies.

For example, on my 2017 MacBook Pro ⌘ Command+⌫ Backspace will all previous characters in the current line. Given that fn+⌫ Backspace will delete the next character, I would expect ⌘ Command+fn+⌫ Backspace to delete the remaining portion of the line. However, fn gets ignored and this key combination ends up deleting the previous portion of the line.

How can I have access to the "hidden keys" accessible with fn even when ⌘ Command is pressed?

Edit: formatting

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Even with both Backspace ⌫ & Delete ⌦ keys, Cmd ⌘ Delete ⌦ does not clear the line forward of the cursor, even though Cmd ⌘ Backspace ⌫ clears it rearward.

It would appear the inconsistency isn't in the Fn key itself, but in the OS's usage of Cmd ⌘ Delete ⌦ .

Opt ⌥ Delete ⌦ deletes one word forward of the cursor, as does Fn Cmd ⌘ Backspace ⌫ .

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  • I wasn't aware of this. Then the problem is twofold: I still can't use fn to turn Backspace into Delete when the Command key is pressed (i've checked using the keyboard viewer), but even if I did, the keyboard shortcut wouldn't work. – Davide Mar 10 at 14:32
  • It works here, according to the keyboard viewer [which I hadn't thought to test before, only the result in a file] – Tetsujin Mar 10 at 16:52
  • I'm confused. Do you mean that you are able to delete the remaining portion of the line using Command + Delete or that you managed to use fn+Backspace as Delete even through you're pressing Command? – Davide Mar 11 at 17:15
  • Fn/Backspece registers as Del. Forward line delete doesn't work with either method, only the opposite direction, as I said in my answer. – Tetsujin Mar 11 at 18:51
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    Ok, understood, then you're right: it's the keyboard shortcut itself that is missing from macOS. – Davide Mar 13 at 11:35
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I would argue that there are no 'hidden keys'. Just documented built-in keyboard shortcuts

  • Fn-Delete: Forward delete on keyboards that don't have a Forward Delete key. Or use Control-D.
  • FnUp Arrow: Page Up: Scroll up one page.
  • FnDown Arrow: Page Down: Scroll down one page.
  • FnLeft Arrow: Home: Scroll to the beginning of a document.
  • FnRight Arrow: End: Scroll to the end of a document.
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I think you could use the free software Karabiner to remap the Fn key to a custom modifier. You can then create shortcuts for my_modifier_1+Delete ⌦ etc.

The custom modifier would act as an additional modifier and thus stack with other modifiers.

You would have to manually rebind all the shortcuts that previously existed with Fn.

Here is an example of creating a customer modifier in Karabiner.

[
    {
        "type": "basic",
        "from": {
            "key_code": "fn",
            "modifiers": {
                "mandatory": [],
                "optional": ["any"]
            }
        },
        "to": [
            {
                "set_variable": {
                    "name": "my_modifier_1",
                    "value": 1
                }
            }
        ],
        "to_after_key_up": [
            {
                "set_variable": {
                    "name": "my_modifier_1",
                    "value": 0
                }
            }
        ]
    }
]

I have a magic keyboard with an button. I've remapped it to the Backspace ⌫ using the following Karabiner Simple modification: enter image description here

It now works with all other modifier keys!

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    The issue doesn't appear to be a key remap problem, but one of a function that appears to have been omitted from the OS itself. – Tetsujin Mar 8 at 19:22
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    Exactly. This I could probably get this to work, it's probably too cumbersome and on a MacBook keyboard there aren't "spare" keys that I would turn into modifier keys. However thanks for introducing me to Karabiner – Davide Mar 10 at 14:36

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