Keyboard Event Properties

JavaScript FAQ | Keyboard & Mouse Events FAQ  

Question: How do I analyze keyboard events in JavaScript?

Answer: When a user types a letter on the keyboard, this usually triggers the keyboard events* keydown, keypress, and keyup (in this order). To analyze keyboard events, your JavaScript code may use event-handler functions, which can access the event properties. Some of these properties are the same across browsers (e.g. event.type). Other properties may be platform-dependent (e.g. event.which is available in Firefox, Opera, Safari, Chrome, but not in Internet Explorer). Arguably, the most useful properties are event.which, event.keyCode, and event.charCode, because these properties allow your script to answer the questions:

  • Which key did the user press? (Check the keydown event properties.)
  • Which character did the user type? (Check the keypress event properties.)

    Demo: Press or release any key on your keyboard, and the text boxes below will display the actual keyboard event properties available in your browser ():

     Latest keydown:   
     Latest keypress:   
     Latest keyup:

    Properties of the most recent event:  

    Properties of the most recent event:  

    Properties of the most recent event:  

    *In addition to keydown, keypress, and keyup, recent versions of Safari and Google Chrome support the textInput event; however, it is still too early to use textInput in a cross-browser fashion. Note also that some properties are event-specific (e.g., in Safari and Chrome is available for textInput events, but not for keydown events).

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