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Is there a way I can move the mouse pointer using the keyboard?

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  • 1
    uh, do you mean the mouse pointer?
    – Babu
    Jan 9, 2010 at 18:45
  • 1
    yes, mouse pointer. sorry didn't say it before
    – Lydon Ch
    Jan 9, 2010 at 19:53

3 Answers 3

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In System Preferences, choose Accessibility > Mouse & Trackpad (or search for “mouse keys”). Enabling Mouse Keys (which can usually be done by tapping Option five times) allows the numeric keypad to function as an 8-direction “joystick” (7 = left+up, 8 = up, 9 = right+up, etc.). Use the keypad's 5 to click the mouse (press it twice, quickly to double click; hold Control while pressing to right-click).

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  • Does this work in Mavericks? May 15, 2014 at 18:33
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    @vaichidrewar: Yes (just verified on a MacBook Air running 10.9.3). Also, if your keyboard does not have a keypad (e.g. a laptop), then the effective keys (on a QWERTY layout keyboard) are 7, 8, 9, u, i, p, j, k, l (as if the 3×3 numeric keypad had been transplanted to the center-right part of the keyboard)—other keys are not functional while Mouse Keys is active, so you will need to toggle it back off to do normal typing. May 16, 2014 at 6:28
  • @ChrisJohnsen Thanks! I thought after search I will see 'mouse keys' in the results. But the most relevant item after search is 'make mouse and trackpad easier to use' and initially i could not relate it to 'mouse keys' setting. May 17, 2014 at 0:30
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Yes. Let's assume you're in a document editor and you have a bunch of text you'd like to navigate. You can use the arrow keys ← ↑ → ↓ to move one character in either direction horizontally, or one line in either direction vertically.

To move to the beginning or end of a line, type ⌘← or ⌘→, respectively. ⌘↑ and ⌘↓ move to the beginning and end of the document. In areas where these shortcuts don't work, such as in the Terminal, use ⌃A and ⌃E instead (which can be used in most Cocoa text controls).

You can move one word left or right by using ⌥← or ⌥→, respectively. Likewise, ⌥↑ and ⌥↓ move to the beginning and end of a paragraph.

As Chris Johnsen points out in the comments, you can also use "other Emacs-like bindings (⌃F: →, ⌃B: ←, ⌃N: ↓, ⌃P: ↑, ⌃T: transpose (swap) characters)". Chris also mentions some interesting subtleties with soft-wrapped text, where "⌃A and ⌃E work on the whole line while ⌘← and ⌘→ work on the current portion of the display-wrapped line". Thanks For that.

Not sure if this is what your vague question was referring to, but you can definitely move the cursor using the keyboard almost anywhere in Mac OS X.

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    +1 for the correct ⌃ rather than the easy-but-incorrect ^ :-)
    – Arjan
    Jan 9, 2010 at 19:05
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    Note that ⌃A and ⌃E can be used in most Cocoa text controls along with many other Emacs-like bindings (⌃F: →, ⌃B: ←, ⌃N: ↓, ⌃P: ↑, ⌃T: transpose (swap) characters). Also, for long lines that are “soft wrapped”, ⌃A and ⌃E work on the whole line while ⌘← and ⌘→ work on the current portion of the display-wrapped line. Jan 9, 2010 at 19:10
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    Haha, well I guess this wasn't what the OP was looking for (which makes sense now, in retrospect). Hopefully someone can make use of this info.
    – fideli
    Jan 10, 2010 at 1:29
  • Despite it not being what the Questioner was after it is very likely to be very useful for people searching on this topic. Few people seem to be aware of both the "emacs-like" binds and the historical mac bindings. It's not quite vi but it's under-appreciated.
    – Lake
    Aug 17, 2012 at 19:42
  • Best incorrect answer I've seen in a long time. Have an ▲.
    – Dave Land
    Jul 13, 2017 at 21:43
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Left shift + left alt + num lock enables the number pad for directional cursor function. Use 8,9,6,3,2,1,4,7 to guide your cursor. To click an option with your cursor tap 5 and to double click tap 5 twice.

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