OS X: Navigate Text Like a Pro with These Two Modifier Keys

The keyboard is a great way to get around your Mac, and you probably know quite a few of those ticks already. But I have two that every single Mac owner should know, and they both help you deal more easily with text. In fact, I'm using them even now to write this article. They're both modifier-based, and after you learn them, you'll never want to live without them.

The first and most commonly known text navigation modifier is the Command key. It allows you to deal with entire lines of text in one go. For example, while holding Command you can jump to the beginning or end of a line of text by pressing the left or right arrow keys. You can also use the up and down arrow keys to jump to the beginning or end of a text input. But it doesn't stop at navigation. You can also delete a whole line of text by holding Command and hitting the Delete key. And if you add the Shift key into the mix (as in holding both Shift & Command), you can select groups of text with the arrow keys.

The Option key. It's magic!

Now many of you may already know about using Command, but my favorite of the two modifiers is Option. Option lets you do essentially the same sort of stuff that Command lets you do, only it's word-based instead of line-based. This means that you can easily delete only a few words by holding Option and hitting the Delete key. It's so handy! You can also use it in text inputs to move around using the arrow keys or to select individual words when you add in the Shift key.

Give 'em a try. If you're like me, you'll use these keys every day. Enjoy!