I've developed a paint application on the web using HTML5 Canvas element and JavaScript.

The user can select stuff he drew and then delete it using the Delete key on Windows (which is convenient in Windows).

I've never used Mac myself, and I just found out that there is no Delete key. There is a backspace however (just as in Windows), should this key be used for this?

What's convenient?

2 Answers 2


The Command ⌘ + Backspace ← or on newer Mac OS X Command ⌘ + Delete is the equivalent for the delete key on Windows OS/KeyBoard.

There are application implementations on the Mac using Fn + Delete which is forward delete (on a portable Mac's built-in keyboard).

Implementing both is probably the best way to support actions that users on Mac expect to happen.

Reference (1): OS X keyboard shortcuts by support.apple.com

Reference (2) (a reverse one): Mac OSX Preview: Disable the Command-Backspace “Move to trash” keyboard shortcut?

  • 1
    Hm okay. Are general users familiar with this? Or just "super/pro users"?
    – lawls
    Feb 6, 2014 at 14:22
  • Is that key combination regularly implemented by Mac applications? Would a new user to this program likely think to try it based on their previous expectations of the platform?
    – Racheet
    Feb 6, 2014 at 14:23
  • 1
    I've also seen some applications using FN+Backspace, but usually those are applications that run on several platforms and do not offer a native Mac OS experience. E.g. Eclipse, Filezilla.
    – jff
    Feb 6, 2014 at 14:42
  • 1
    Thanks! I have made sure both Cmd+Backspace and FN+Backspace work.
    – lawls
    Feb 6, 2014 at 14:45
  • 1
    @lawls That's probably the best way to go ahead. Support both ways! Feb 6, 2014 at 14:46

I would personally want the backspace/delete key to work unmodified (i.e. without cmd, fn, or other modifier keys) for this particular function. Consider the fact that deleting photos in iPhoto uses only the unmodified delete key, and deleting songs from lists in iTunes similarly uses only the unmodified delete key. Inkscape (admittedly not an Apple software, though perhaps close to the flavor of your application) also uses the unmodified delete for removing selected elements of a drawing.

Here is a random reference I found, but haven't thoroughly read: https://developer.apple.com/library/mac/documentation/userexperience/conceptual/applehiguidelines/Menus/Menus.html

This indicates that a delete menu item is expected to exist which "Removes selected data without storing the selection on the Clipboard." Furthermore, "Choosing Delete is the equivalent of pressing the Delete key or the Clear key."

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