Finding Home and End on a Mac Keyboard

January 10, 2011 at 2:00 am 36 comments

By Chad Upton | Editor

I use both Mac and Windows computers and I appreciate some attributes of each. For example, I really like the home and end keys on Windows keyboards. These guys make it a breeze to select a single line of text or jump to the end of the line to keep writing after an edit.

Because Apple market share is at an all time high, I’m sure a lot of people are going to notice the absence of these keys when they switch. Unless you’ve got the full-size apple keyboard, the “home” and “end” keys are absent on your desktop or macbook keyboard. But, if you hold down the fn (or control) key, you can use the left and right arrow keys as home and end keys respectively. Hold shift while doing this to select the characters between cursor positions.

Speaking of the Mac keyboard, the delete key is equivalent to the backspace key on a Windows computer — it deletes characters to the left of the cursor. But, you can make Mac’s delete key function like the Windows delete key if you hold the fn key while pressing it — deleting characters to the right. Another favorite keyboard shortcut on Mac OS is fn + F11 which will temporarily hide your windows to expose your desktop, allowing you to easily select files without going to the finder or minimizing all of your windows. Then press fn+F11 to bring all your windows back to their original positions.

By the way, you can plug a Windows USB keyboard into a Mac, although not all of the task keys function the way they do on a PC.

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36 Comments Add your own

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by bencord0, BrokenSecrets.com. BrokenSecrets.com said: Finding Home and End on a Mac Keyboard http://bit.ly/fnZzbO #Secrets [...]

    Reply
  • 2. Sean  |  January 10, 2011 at 10:30 am

    This is especially nice for me since even though my keyboard DOES have “home” and “end” keys, they don’t behave the same as the Windows versions.

    Instead of taking you to the beginning or end of a line, they take you to the beginning or end of your *document*.

    Nice to know I don’t have to mouse click to the end of the line anymore…

    Reply
    • 3. Soufiane  |  July 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm

      You could also use the cmd+[left/right arrow key] combo to take you to the beginning/end of a line….

      Reply
      • 4. Shiggity Shwa  |  October 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm

        This worked. Other solutions didn’t.

      • 5. Danette  |  March 17, 2013 at 9:24 pm

        thank you SO much!!! I was so excited when I saw the above article- being a newbie Mac owner (Macbook Pro) and lost without the time-saving “end” and “home” keys. Which are just insane not to have! BUT the “fn” + arrow keys did not work for me either- doing nothing or taking me to Mission Control screen! But your command arrow suggestion DID work!
        sorry really happy : ) Thanks again!

  • 6. Jes  |  January 10, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    OMG, thanks Chad!! I have always been annoyed that those keys are not present! I will totally be using those fn shortcuts all the time! See you this weekend.

    Reply
  • 7. molly  |  January 28, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    to temporarily hide your windows to expose your desktop, you don’t have to hold fn – just push F11 and it will do the same thing! :)

    go mac go!!

    Reply
    • 8. Chad Upton  |  January 28, 2011 at 7:34 pm

      Ya, good point Molly… it depends on the mac. The F11 key on newer models is a volume down button by default (hold “fn” to use F11).

      Reply
  • 9. Kelsey Lundquist Graybill  |  June 23, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    You just made my day! I love my Mac but really miss my “home” & “end” buttons. Now can you tell me how to toggle between pages?

    Reply
  • 10. Shyam  |  November 25, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    I found a easy shortcut key in OSX Lion. simply press the command key with left and right combination for windows home and end… hurray. atlas.. try command+left key…..

    Reply
    • 11. mkf  |  May 29, 2012 at 7:18 pm

      Yes – its the COMMAND key – not the function key. The function key takes you to the end of the document or the start.

      Reply
  • 12. RaVen  |  January 22, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Thank you for solving this mysterious home and end key feature in Mac – none of the Mac users in the past 6 months could answer this question. THANK YOU!
    BTW, I love your useful information!

    Reply
  • 13. lely  |  February 4, 2012 at 2:11 am

    thanks a lot for this information! really saves my time… :)

    Reply
  • 14. Stephen Bamforth  |  March 4, 2012 at 11:10 am

    thanks for this concise instruction really helpful for a someone who has used Microsoft for the past twenty years and has become a convert, if only there was a way to move the window radio buttons to the right I would be contented.

    Reply
  • 15. Parkata  |  March 17, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    I tried your suggested combination keys and they didn’t work. However, the command key with the left and right arrow, respectively, did. So, thank u so much, I was going crazy trying to figure out how to find the home and end keys. But, even more importantly for me was to find out how use the “Microsoft” delete key. I had tried several combinations with diff keys but none of them had worked so far. But now, you’ve given me the answer to all of the important ones, and in the process of learning those I discovered that using option and left/right arrows moves one word at a time. Cool!

    Reply
  • 16. Melissa  |  April 29, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Thank you so much! I love my new light Macbook but was going crazy over this. Thank you!

    Reply
  • 17. Maria Siles-Kawalec  |  May 7, 2012 at 2:12 am

    I love all your hints, thank you so much everyone. I too was struggling going from Microsoft to my new Mac.

    Reply
  • 18. Nancy  |  May 19, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Thank you!! I’m a new mac user and I didn’t realize how much I use the end key until it wasn’t there anymore.

    Reply
  • 19. site  |  May 26, 2012 at 8:41 am

    How come you dont have your site viewable in wap format? cant view anything in my netbook.

    Reply
  • 20. Kathy  |  July 12, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks for the helpful tips! I just received a new Mac notebook for home use and was frustrated by the absence of these keys, as I use them all day long at work as a legal secretary. Thanks again!

    Reply
  • 21. Chiropractic Commando  |  July 13, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Awesome. I use word on macbook pro and was frustrated that cmd+left/right or fn+left/right was not working. I have just discovered that cmd+fn+left right does the job. Thanks for getting me going in the right direction. Health always, ;-)
    The Chiropractic Commando

    Reply
  • 22. m  |  July 22, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Thanks so much of this info. I work in Apple’s Motion 5 Pro App as a video producer and this was making me crazy as I mostly use quick keys to work. I looked and looked on the Apple site and could not find the answer. Somehow I must have typed the right combination in the search bar tonight and found your site. This info should be on a billboard somewhere:). so very grateful! M Lawrence

    Reply
  • 23. elishares  |  August 24, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Thanks mate, you saved my energy and time a lot! Cheers~! I used cmd+left/right on my MacBook Pro for Home and End.

    Reply
  • 24. Ina  |  January 17, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Thank you! Really! I’ve had my Mac for over 3 years, and just now did I learn how to get it to do that.

    Reply
  • 25. Danette  |  March 17, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Chad, thanks for the article- I was so excited to finally find out “where” the end/home keys where on my new Mac (I’m owned PC’s my whole life). But alas- the fn + arrow keys did not do what you said they would : ( Another viewer’s suggestion of “command” + arrows did recreate end/home keys though.

    Not sure if this was just an error on your part or a distinction on different Macs?

    Reply
    • 26. rob4313  |  September 23, 2013 at 7:09 am

      I find that the fn+arrow works like ctrl+home on PC to take you to the top/bottom of page, and the cmd+arrow will work like home and end in a line of text. I am now happy again.

      Reply
  • 27. Siddharth Bhagwan  |  May 6, 2013 at 4:02 am

    Neat! Thanks buddy…

    Reply
  • 28. agentw  |  June 1, 2013 at 1:36 am

    thanks for taking the time to write about this. helpful!

    Reply
  • 29. Brad LaCroix  |  July 11, 2013 at 5:31 am

    Awesome! Thanks!!!

    Reply
  • 30. Hedwigia  |  August 17, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Another happy new iMac user here – I was really missing my end/home/delete keys. :) This might be quite an old post, but it is still very useful.

    Reply
  • 31. Ovande Furtado  |  September 25, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Why don’t just fix it once and fall all?

    http://lifehacker.com/225873/mac-switchers-tip–remap-the-home-and-end-keys

    Cheers

    Reply
  • 32. David Knapp  |  September 25, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    I havfe a question. How do I find the fucking HOME key. Your explanation didn’t work. I want to stop this damn voice over shit NOW! Whoever said Apple was better than PC had his head up his ass!

    Reply
    • 33. Avisek  |  January 19, 2014 at 9:17 am

      Try Command + Arrows man…

      Reply
  • 34. Alison Bennett  |  November 25, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    I really want a “Home” key to get to the top of a document or the top of the emails. None of the things suggested here gets me that. :(

    Reply
  • 35. Avisek  |  January 19, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Thanks a ton for this article, Chad. Saved a lot of time.
    But I agree with Parkata above. Fn + Arrows do not move you to the beginning or the end of a line, rather it moves you to the beginning or end of the entire document. Command + Arrows however does the trick. I guess this was a change in the later Macs. Yet, thanks for the article.

    Reply
  • 36. Drei  |  April 14, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Just an addition to this,

    Fn+Command+Left arrow key takes you to the very beginning of the entire document and Fn+Command+Right arrow key brings you to the very end of the entire document on newer versions i guess.

    Reply

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