MS Word Tricks Posted on October 15th, 2007 by

Until we get video media up and running, the Gustavus Technology Tip of the Week will be located on the Instructional Services blog.

Today, I’d like to tell you how to delete whole words on a Macintosh. This can be helpful if you want to delete a word you just typed that is misspelled or inappropriate, or if there’s a phrase you’d like to get rid of, but pressing the delete key over and over is too time consuming. Also, taking the time to use the mouse to highlight text can sometimes be tedious.

To delete a word at a time (rather than a character at a time) hold the “option key” down while pressing delete. This key is located to the left of the space bar, in between the apple key and the control key. Now the cursor will jump back to the previous space, one word for each tap on the delete key.

If you have any suggestions or questions, please email Instructional Services.



  1. Shanon Nowell says:

    You can also do this on a PC using ctrl+Backspace.

  2. Nick Sonsteby says:

    Thanks Betsy! Worked for me!

  3. Joe Lencioni says:

    Good idea, Betsy. There are also some great lists of keyboard shortcuts that can save you a lot of time and effort:

    Mac OS X
    Windows XP
    Windows Vista
    Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera

  4. Joyce Aarsvold says:

    Actually, Joe, there are also great keyboard shortcuts for Apple’s Safari, as well.