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7.3 Erasing Text

<DEL>
<Backspace>
Delete the character before point, or the region if it is active (delete-backward-char).
<Delete>
Delete the character after point, or the region if it is active (delete-forward-char).
C-d
Delete the character after point (delete-char).
C-k
Kill to the end of the line (kill-line).
M-d
Kill forward to the end of the next word (kill-word).
M-<DEL>
Kill back to the beginning of the previous word (backward-kill-word).

The <DEL> (delete-backward-char) command removes the character before point, moving the cursor and the characters after it backwards. If point was at the beginning of a line, this deletes the preceding newline, joining this line to the previous one.

If, however, the region is active, <DEL> instead deletes the text in the region. See Mark, for a description of the region.

On most keyboards, <DEL> is labeled <Backspace>, but we refer to it as <DEL> in this manual. (Do not confuse <DEL> with the <Delete> key; we will discuss <Delete> momentarily.) On some text terminals, Emacs may not recognize the <DEL> key properly. See DEL Does Not Delete, if you encounter this problem.

The <delete> (delete-forward-char) command deletes in the “opposite direction”: it deletes the character after point, i.e., the character under the cursor. If point was at the end of a line, this joins the following line onto this one. Like <DEL>, it deletes the text in the region if the region is active (see Mark).

C-d (delete-char) deletes the character after point, similar to <delete>, but regardless of whether the region is active.

See Deletion, for more detailed information about the above deletion commands.

C-k (kill-line) erases (kills) a line at a time. If you type C-k at the beginning or middle of a line, it kills all the text up to the end of the line. If you type C-k at the end of a line, it joins that line with the following line.

See Killing, for more information about C-k and related commands.