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Navigate Large Documents in a Snap with These Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

Posted by Jim Tanous on June 30, 2014
Apple Wireless Keyboard

Here are some quick OS X keyboard shortcuts that can save you some time while navigating long documents or websites. Everyone knows that the Command key (⌘) is arguably the most important modifier in OS X, and used for functions like cut, copy, paste, and Spotlight, but you can also use the Command key in conjunction with the keyboard arrow keys to quickly jump to the top or bottom of a document or page.
To try it out, open a lengthy pages document or website, something long enough that you would normally have to scroll down to reach the bottom. Now press Command and the Down arrow on your keyboard and you’ll be instantly taken to the very bottom of the document or page. Press Command and Up to jump back up to the top.
The above commands work for any Mac-compatible keyboard, but if you have an Apple keyboard with the Function key, a few more shortcuts become available. In addition to Command-Up and Command-Down, users can press Function-Left and Function-Right to achieve the same result (that is, jump to the top or bottom of a document, respectively).
Further, users can jump up or down a single page at a time by pressing Function-Up and Function-Down, respectively. Here’s a table for quick reference:
[table id=3 /]
Note that these commands can be easy to mix up, and users might find themselves pressing Command-Right or Command-Left with the intention of jumping to the top or bottom of a page. While this mistake won’t do anything at all in a word processing app like Pages, it will actually trigger the Next/Previous page function in a Web browser like Safari. Just keep that in mind if you’re trying to navigate a long website and find yourself instead jumping back and forth between pages.

Apple Extended Keyboard

The Apple Extended Keyboard (via The University of Chicago)


Longtime computer users likely recognize that these shortcuts duplicate the Home, End, and Page Up/Down keys, and that’s true. Traditional keyboards, like the Apple Keyboard with Numeric KeypadApple Extended Keyboard, and many PC keyboards, have dedicated Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys. But the age of smaller and thinner devices has necessitated a shrinking of the keyboards found on laptops and desktops, and most keyboards today, especially from Apple, lack these special navigation keys.
As a result, these useful time-saving keyboard shortcuts have been hidden in recent years behind the Command and Function modifiers, with many new Mac users completely oblivious to their existence. It’s true that Apple makes navigating OS X with a mouse or trackpad a slick and smooth experience, but any function that keeps a user’s hands on the keyboard is almost always more efficient.

4 thoughts on “Navigate Large Documents in a Snap with These Mac Keyboard Shortcuts”

Amanda says:
fn+command+left arrow = Home
fn+command+right arrow = End
Reply
Donna says:
command down arrow took me right to the bottom of my document, these instructions were perfect, thanks for the post.
Reply
Martin Hatchuel says:
WOW! Command down takes me – one whole line down.
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pjpaz says:
Maaaaaan…… I get so tired of all the incorrect instructions out there. Getting to the end of a document on _my_ version of Word (Word for Mac 2011, vers 14.4.0) on _my_ MacBook Pro (circa 2016, running Mac OS 10.12.1) requires the following:
fn + option + →
It’d be so nice to see this info elsewhere… instead of so many people copying and pasting incorrect instructions.
Reply
earth_dweller says:
Thank you so much for that information! I have been going nuts with your exact same set-up with a 900+-page doc, trying to get to the top! fn + opt + up-arrow works for me!
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Hobbit_CZ says:
You Sir are the real MVP! Same here Word for Mac 2017 (Office 365). I believe the instructions in the article are just some BS which never actually worked.
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TekRevue says:
Nah, they work. They just don’t work in a specific word processor released three years after this was written and that wasn’t once mentioned in the article. Apple provides system-wide keyboard shortcuts that apps can use (and Apple’s apps like Pages still use), but third-parties like Microsoft have chosen not to.
Hobbit_CZ says:
…and also in word processor released three years before this was written (Word for Mac 2011 needs FN + OPT + -> too.
Generally it seems in none of the versions of the MS Word. Unfortunately lot of people get here (and to other pages) googling shortcuts for MS Word for Mac (I did). The article doesn’t bother to mention that these won’t work on the most popular text editor…
TekRevue says:
It didn’t mention Word at all. It mentioned Pages. These are the default commands in OS X/macOS. Hence you might understand my confusion with your “BS” comment.
I’ll write a Word-specific article and be sure to send it to you.
Hobbit_CZ says:
I am sorry, that was a confusion, as for me and many many others is the only considerable document editing software unfortunately still MS Word. So if I see “document editing shortcuts on Mac” I automatically assume it’s for MS Word for Mac. I corrected my comment accordingly.

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