Deleting Wrong Text On Mac

macOS and Mac Apps

I'm a veteran PC user. I have found it hard to get used to selecting, cutting, copying, and pasting text on Mac. My primary editor is TextMate. Specifically, I keep deleting and selecting the wrong text. On the PC, speech says the text, and when you press Delete, it works every time. For me on Mac, It seems like I have to put the cursor on the text, then go backward to delete it, and when I think I have selected the text to delete, wanting to remove a word, for example, I delete the wrong text.

How can I think of this correctly and get used to it?




Submitted by Bruce Harrell on Sunday, July 25, 2021

I don't know what apps you are using when you encounter your difficulty, so I'm going to assume you are using Pages or Text Edit. On this assumption, do the following.

To select text, have VoiceOver read the first letter you want to select. Then, press the left arrow once. Then, while holding down the shift key:
press option right arrow to select word by word, or
press command right arrow to select to the end of the current line, or
press down arrow to select line by line. There is a command for deleting paragraph by paragraph, but I don't use that one, so you'll have to look it up.

to copy, press command c
to paste, press command v
to move (meaning to complete what windows calls cut and paste), after pressing command c to copy, and after moving your cursor to the place you want to move your selected text, press command option v
and to delete your selected text, press the delete key. You can set verbosity for VoiceOver to read you the selected text if you like.

Hope this helps.


Submitted by Greg Wocher on Sunday, July 25, 2021

I am also a veteran windows user who bought my first mac about five years ago. It has taken me a while to get used to this as well. If you move to the right, the cursor will be to the right of whatever element you just moved by. So for example if you moved to the right word by word the cursor will be at the end of the word VO just announced. If you move to the left, the cursor will be to the left of whatever element you moved by. For example if you move word by word to the left, the cursor will be to the left of the first letter of the word VO announced.

Submitted by Kevin Shaw on Monday, July 26, 2021

When using a Mac vs. a PC, it's easy to bring the same type of navigation concept over to Mac from PC which is probably why moving around in text fields is confusing.

On a PC, the cursor appears underneath the active letter in focus.

On a Mac, there is no cursor. Instead, the Mac uses an insertion point. This appears as a flashing vertical line that appears to the right of the text being typed. When you arrow left, the insertion point moves past the last letter and now appears to the left of the letter.

For example, here's a word with the insertion point at the end of the word.

If I arrow left once, the insertion point moves one position to the left of the O.
Disc|o. VoiceOver will read the letter "o" because the insertion point moved one place left.

If I move to the right again, you will hear the o spoken again.

It's understandable to find this confusing. I had to reacquaint myself with this fact after moving from Mac to PC and then back to Mac. I had sight while using a Mac and in the early days of PCs, so I have some familiarity with how the interface looks.

As a tip, Command-down arrow will take you to the end of your text editing area. Command-up will take you to the beginning. Command-left takes you to the start of a line and command-right takes you to the end of the line.
Option left and right will move you between the start and ends of words.
Option up and down moves you to the top and bottom of paragraphs. Remember, when the insertion point moves up or left, it's moving to the top or left of the paragraph or word. Moving the other way will take you past the same text again.
These are native Mac commands, not VoiceOver commands. This is something else you will need to adjust to on a Mac, using system native commands instead of having to worry about using VO keys for everything.

Hope this is helpful.