Backspace key

Updated: 11/30/2020 by Computer Hope
Computer Backspace keys

The Backspace key or Back space key is a keyboard key that deletes any character before the cursor's current position.

Note

The Backspace key is sometimes referred to as the rubout key. The rubout key was on early terminal and computer keyboards; it performed the same function as today's backspace key.

Where is the Backspace key?

As seen below, the Backspace key is located in the top-right portion of the keyboard's character keys section. On Apple computers, there is a "delete" key instead of Backspace, but performs the same function.

Note

All keyboards that utilize the Backspace key only have one.

Backspace key on a Windows-based keyboard

Backspace key

Delete (Backspace) key on an Apple keyboard

Delete key on an Apple keyboard.

Does Backspace remove text to the left or right of the cursor?

When you press the Backspace (Windows) or delete key (macOS), it removes text to the left of the cursor. If you need to remove text to the right of the cursor, press the Delete key.

Tip

The arrow pointing to the left helps you remember the direction of the Backspace key.

Apple delete key.
Note

Apple keyboards have two delete keys. The one that functions the same as its Windows counterpart is in the navigation keys section next to the main character keys section (shown right).

How is the Backspace key used, and what is its function?

The Backspace key has one function: delete text to the left of the cursor. In some Internet browsers, you can also press the Backspace key to go back to the previous page. However, most browsers today use the shortcut combination Alt+left arrow key instead.

Practice using the Backspace key

The following text box allows you to practice using the Backspace key. Click the mouse button at the end of "deleted" and press the Backspace key to erase the characters to the left of the cursor.

Tip

Like all other keys, Backspace can be combined with other modifier keys to create keyboard shortcuts. For example, you can press and hold the Ctrl key, and then press Backspace to delete one full word at a time, instead of one character.

Tip

To delete text in the middle of a sentence, click to place your text cursor immediately after the text you want to delete. Then, press Backspace until the text is erased. For example, in the sentence above, you could click after the word "example" and press the Backspace key until it is deleted.

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