Expected Cross-browser behavior of the Cursor in Reaction to Keystrokes

For usability, it’s very important that the common navigation keys (up/down/enter/backspace) should behave as a the user expects. This means that whenever possible, any cross-browser behavioral differences should be corrected.

General Guidelines

  • The Enter and Backspace keys should be compliments with regards to navigation. Doing one and then the other should return to the same state.
  • The Up and Down keys should be compliments.
  • The Up and Down keys should not create new blocks. Only move the cursor between them.
  • When navigating to “blue space” (areas without blocks) via the nav keys or the mouse, a paragraph block should be created on first content keystroke.
  • Backspace at the start of a block joins the contents of the current block with the contents of the previous.
  • Enter when in a block creates a new block after the current, with the content after the cursor in the new block.
  • Tables, Images, Blockquotes and Pre areas are “special”.


The | character represents the cursor.

Paragraph at Start



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