When I press Ctrl-Backspace, Mathematica inserts what looks either like a tiny white space or sometimes is invisible. Actually, though, it is an ascii character code 8, also enterable in Mathematica as \.08. The presence of this character completely messes up code and is very difficult to diagnose (for example, \.08a is different from a, but they look identical).

I can't imagine the purpose of this behavior but I desperately want to get rid of it. Ideally, Ctrl-Backspace would delete the previous word, like in a sensible application. I would be completely content, though, with disabling all behavior when I press Ctrl-Backspace.

I have tried looking in KeyEventTranslations.tr but I didn't find the origin of this behavior.

Note that I am using Mac OS X 10.9.3 and Mathematica on a MacBook 2012.

  • $\begingroup$ "Ideally, Ctrl-Backspace would delete the previous word, like in a sensible application." ...and like it works here on my Linux box. $\endgroup$
    – halirutan
    Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 22:04
  • $\begingroup$ Don't fight OS X, learn how to use it. The standard modifier key for operations on full words is Option, not Control like on Windows/Linux. Use Option-Delete to delete the previous word. $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 22:26
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ FYI, this remains an issue in Mathematica 10. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 20:28

1 Answer 1


This isn't an answer, but I think it casts some light on the insidiousness of the problem jondaman21 has found.


Before the last input line was evaluated \.0842 had the color of an unevaluated symbol, but after the last input line was evaluated it is visually indistinguishable from integer 42.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.