Scoot to the top or bottom of a document


Scoot to the top or bottom of a document
Mac Tip #528, 21 March 2012

My client had a lot of emails in her InBox. Rather than scrolling laboriously up and down, she wanted to scoot quickly to the top of the list.

Apple gives you some handy keyboard shortcuts to quickly go to the top or bottom of a document, or even just to go up or down a page, but exactly how you do it depends a bit on your keyboard. Here’s what you need to know.

Quick Start

  1. Use the Home and End keys to scoot to top or bottom of a long document.
  2. Use the Page Up and Page Down keys to move one page at a time.
  3. On a laptop use the fn key with the left and right arrow keys to scoot to top or bottom of a long document.
  4. On a laptop use the fn key with the up and down arrow keys to move one page at a time.

Want more detail? Read the full Tip below.

The keyboard confusion

Some Macs, such as the laptops, have a built-in keyboard. That keyboard is necessarily fairly small, and generally it doesn’t have exactly the same keys as an external keyboard. To get around this, some keys do double duty, and you’ll need to use the fn key to help out. There’s more about the fn key below.

The fn key on a MacBook Pro built-in keyboard.

The fn key on a 2010 MacBook Pro built-in keyboard.

Also, because the built-in keyboard is on the smaller side, some people prefer to connect an external keyboard. External keyboards come in all shapes and sizes, and aren’t even necessarily manufactured by Apple.

That can all lead to complications.

I use a MacBook Pro all the time and have 4 keyboards available to me, although I do more than 99% of my typing on the built-in keyboard:

  • the built-in keyboard (with fn key)
  • a new small Apple Bluetooth keyboard (with fn key)
  • an old Apple USB full-size keyboard
  • A Goldtouch split-keyboard that belongs to my partner.

Just so you can see what we’re up against, there are photos of the 4 keyboards on Page 2 of this Tip.

The fn key

I’ve written about the fn key before in connection with the keys across the top of the keyboard: Old gold: The Fn key Mac Tip #324, 06 February 2008. But for this Tip we’re using it with the arrow keys, as it makes them do something pretty special.

Home and End are codewords for top and bottom

For the longest time Apple and other computer makers have used the words Home and End to refer to the top left and bottom right corners of a document respectively.

If your keyboard has a Home key (often on the right hand side of a keyboard) press it to scoot to the top of a long document.

If your keyboard has an End key (it should be near the Home key) press it to scoot to the bottom of a long document.

For example, visit this long Apple page of Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts.

Try the End key to see the end of the page and then the Home key to see the top of the page.

This should work with any long document, such as your email In Box, a spreadsheet, a wordprocessing file, a web page, and so on.

Home and End on Mac laptops

Mac laptops don’t have Home and End keys. Instead, hold down the fn key and press the left arrow key to go to the top of the document. Hold down the fn key and press the right arrow key to go to the bottom of the document.

The arrow keys are in the bottom righthand corner of a Mac laptop keyboard.

Page Up and Page Down

Perhaps you don’t want to just shoot to the top or bottom of a document but to go up or down one page at a time.

The bigger keyboards usually have Page Up and Page Down keys. Give them a try.

Page Up and Page Down on Mac laptops

And of course on the laptop keyboard these keys don’t exist. Instead use the fn key and press the up arrow key to scroll up a page. To scroll down a page use the fn key and press the down arrow key .

If you’ve been in the habit of scrolling one line at a time with the arrow keys alone, or of dragging your fingers on the trackpad, or scrolling a mouse endlessly try out these quick ways of scooting around long web pages and documents.

How’s it working out for you? Tell us in the Comments online how this Tip helped you.

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7 Comments

  1. Patrick Cannon said:

    I found this tip really useful. I use a MacBook Pro and these shortcuts will save a LOAD of swipe scrolling. Thanks !

  2. Kristina Lefever said:

    Thanks for the link to the shortcuts! Coming from a Word environment, I could not figure out how to do any forward-deletes! I had looked on the Apple site, but did not find that page. So, now I know Control-K (forward delete the entire line), and fn-option-delete (forward delete word).
    I am enjoying my new Mac, and your tips are usually helpful, and enjoyable to read, too. Thanks!

    • Miraz Jordan said:

      Thanks Kristina. I’m glad MacTips is useful. :-)

      If you’re using a Mac laptop try also holding down the fn key and pressing the delete key. It deletes forward one character at a time.

  3. Eric said:

    I have been using Mac keyboards for 25 years . What is a Home Key and the others you mention?

    • Miraz Jordan said:

      Hi Eric,

      as I say in the Tip:

      “Home and End are codewords for top and bottom
      For the longest time Apple and other computer makers have used the words Home and End to refer to the top left and bottom right corners of a document respectively.

      If your keyboard has a Home key (often on the right hand side of a keyboard) press it to scoot to the top of a long document.

      If your keyboard has an End key (it should be near the Home key) press it to scoot to the bottom of a long document.”

      Elsewhere in the Tip I also explain the other keys I mention.

      Quite honestly, I’m not sure why you’ve asked the question as the answers are in the Tip itself… What’s the source of your confusion?

      Cheers,

      Miraz

  4. Rich Owings said:

    I just use the space bar to move down on the page (Shift+Space to move up) and CMD + the up or down arrow key to move to the top or bottom of a page.

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