Mac question

OK, Mac heads, now that you’ve talked me into this, answer me this:

How do I change the function of say, the F12 key on my Powerbook to turn it into a normal old forward delete key (FN-DELETE in Macese)? I’m being driven nuts by having to do two-handed deletes. I just want a simple delete key. And I can’t believe that Apple devoted entire keys to eject and to bringing up the dashboard (when they have all those pretty icons to do the task for us).

Mac question

Mac question

: OK, Mac heads, now that you’ve talked me into this, answer me this:

How do I change the function of say, the F12 key on my Powerbook to turn it into a normal old forward delete key (FN-DELETE in Macese)? I’m being driven nuts by having to do two-handed deletes. I just want a simple delete key. And I can’t believe that Apple devoted entire keys to eject and to bringing up the dashboard (when they have all those pretty icons to do the task for us).

  • http://www.smays.com Steve Mays

    I have come so close, so many times, to buying a Mac over the years… and always backed off at the last moment. I somehow knew there would be endless moments like the one you describe. Mac folks say life is too short to live on a PC. I wonder if it is too short to endure the switch. I hope you survive the conversion (because I’m a fan and want a happy ending for you) but suspect you’ll be back on a PC by Labor Day. Good luck.

  • William

    Go to System Preferences and click on the keyboard/mouse icon, then click on shortcuts. Very easy Jeff.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Willliam… and then what? Of course, I tried that. But I honestly don’t get what to do next. I haven’t been a made Mac man yet. Please take me through the next steps. I know after you tell me, the scales will fall away from my eyes and I will get it. But now I don’t. I try to add a shortcut and then don’t know what to do. Thus, I come for help.

  • Mort

    Uhhhhh, wait a minute. I thought Dell drove you to it. What’s this ok Mac heads line.

  • William

    You got me. The closest I can get is on the left hand side there is a plus sign. Click that to add a new shortcut. Then select the application you want to make the shortcut for. Any function that is contained within a menu (ie open file, copy, etc) you can add a shortcut for. Not sure if this solves your problem, sorry.

  • steve k

    You can’t teach old dogs new tricks…
    : ).
    Very common complaint from switchers, “it’s not like my windows!”
    Command(or the Apple button) -delete is the key command for emptying files from the finder. Inside an app the delete button works fine on its own.
    http://www.xvsxp.com/keyboard/ for a comparison of key shortcuts.
    Many more sites have more tips. try osxhints.com.
    ucontrol is a freeware keyboard shortcut modifier, look for it at versiontracker.com.
    You can change the expose-dashboard function keys,most everything.
    Just because its different from what you are used to doesn’t make it bad.
    Hope u like the system wide spell check.

  • steve

    o, and 2 handed deletes?
    it just takes a thumb and forefinger from one hand.
    Perhaps you should use the speech recognition to delete by voice command. It’s in the system prefs.

  • http://asbestosden.org Shawn Levasseur

    Find the line that has assigned F12 to Dashboard, uncheck that item. That would remove the Dashboard trigger from F12
    As far as adding a shortcut for forward delete, it cannot be done in this control panel. It can only assign shortcuts for menu items.
    You could use Quickeys to do this, but it is an additional piece of software that you’d have to buy and learn how to use. If I wanted to assign forward delete to F12, I’d do it this way. But then again, I use Quickeys for a lot of automation and shortcuts. It wouldn’t be worth it for just reassigning a single key.
    If you had a USB keyboard that included a forward delete key, I’d think that would work. But that’s not useful for work away from the desk.
    And as to your comment: “I can’t believe that Apple devoted entire keys to eject and to bringing up the dashboard (when they have all those pretty icons to do the task for us),” true there’s lots of graphical devices to do this, but a keystroke is quicker and more efficient. Which is of course why you want a single key over a key with a modifier.
    There was more usage out of Dashboard and disk ejecting than there was for forward deleting. (I was suprised to hear that anyone actually uses forward delete..)
    The whole existence of the “fn” key and everything it does is to squeeze the functionality of a full sized keyboard down into a laptop. I suspect that unless you are willing to learn and spring for another piece of sofware (or use an external keyboard) you will have to use two fingers for a forward delete.
    I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help. Someone may have a simple solution, but I doubt it.
    As you are learning about MacOS X as a first time user, let me reccomend a book for you: “MacOS X: The Missing Manual (Tiger edition)” by David Pogue. This was the book I used when I made the big switch from MacOS 9 to MacOS X.

  • http://www.andrewraff.com Andrew

    uControl will allow you to remap a useless key (like enter) into a forward delete: http://gnufoo.org/ucontrol/
    I’m not sure if it will work under Tiger or not, though.
    After 3.5 years on an iBook and now a Powerbook, I’ve just gotten used to fn-delete, to the extent that I end up hitting control-backspace on all other keyboards, instead of delete.

  • http://sisu.typepad.com Sissy Willis

    It’s true these folk are psychopaths who must be rooted out and brought to justice, but it’s naive to believe they should be content to have physical comforts handed to them on a welfare platter. No man — no creature worth its salt — can bear the shame.
    They are not without a kind of perverted honor

  • Mike G

    While you’re trying to solve this one, you can console yourself with this:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/17/technology/17spy.html?

  • Rich

    Sorry, Jeff. Unless you want to buy QuickKeys,there’s no way I can find on 10.4 to remap F12 to act as a forward-delete.

  • http://thefatguy.com/ Scott Chaffin

    What in the world is forward-delete? I thought I was a proficient keyboarder, and I’ve never heard that phrase.

  • biff

    To Scott Chaffin -
    A “forward-delete” removes the character to the right of the cursor, while a “regular” delete removes the character to the left of the cursor.
    On the current Powerbooks, if you hold down the “fn” key while typing the “delete” key, you will get the “forward-delete” behavior.

  • Warmongering Lunatic

    Scott — On a Mac, the backspace key called delete, and what somebody on a PC would call delete is called forward delete.
    Jeff –
    Unlike for Windows 2000/XP, there is no built-in way or third-party utility to do completely arbitrary remaps of the Mac OS X keyboard. DoubleCommand can convert the enter key or backslash to forward delete, and as mentioned above uControl can do the same for the Enter key.
    (For Windows users who come across this, I prefer using KeyTweak and SharpKeys to the built-in method of editing the Registry manually with codemap in hand.)

  • Ever Dubious

    Doesn’t ctrl-d, executable with a single hand, accomplish what you want? And of course, ctrl-a, ctrl-e and ctrl-k are useful.

  • Skate

    Cool! I’ve had my powerbook for years and never knew the function key would make the delete key go forward!
    Problem solved.
    Thanks, biff.

  • http://www.dailypundit.com David Gillies

    Why not hack the keyboard driver? It’s BSD under the hood, after all.
    Only kidding (although it’s probably what I would do).

  • http://www.keshertalk.com/ Yehudit

    I’ve been a Machead my entire computing life, and I have always thought it absurd that there was no easy way to do forward delete on Mac laptop keyboards.

  • http://www.musiccherry.com Fenton

    This thread just saved millions of hours of frustration.
    The only two things I don’t adore (and actually hated) about getting a mac for the first time last month were
    - No “regular” delete key. (now i can just ctrl-backspace/delete… so excited haha)
    - No right click (I will NEVER understanding why you wouldn’t have three mouse keys. The more keys the better especially now that life online is so internet-oriented).

  • http://donotremove.net Phelps

    Fenton, if you want a right-click, plug in a two button mouse. It’s there — and has been since 1996 or so.
    (It doesn’t matter which two or three button mouse you pick. If it is USB, it will work.)