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How to create Ctrl+Key shortcuts in Javascript

October 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Here is the simple code that allows you to capture when a desired set of keys are pressed. In this example, we are focusing on CTRL+S, but it can be expanded easily with just a few lines of code per shortcut you wish to add.

var isCtrl = false;

document.onkeyup=function(e){

if(e.which == 17) isCtrl=false;

}

document.onkeydown=function(e){

if(e.which == 17) isCtrl=true;

if(e.which == 83 && isCtrl == true) {

//run code for CTRL+S — ie, save!

return false;

}

}

jQuery Code

Here is an example of how to create a Ctrl+Key based shortcut within javascript using the jQuery Library.

var isCtrl = false;
$(document).keyup(function (e) {
if(e.which == 17) isCtrl=false;
}).keydown(function (e) {
if(e.which == 17) isCtrl=true;
if(e.which == 83 && isCtrl == true) {
//run code for CTRL+S — ie, save!
return false;
}
});

Explanation

This code is quite simple but let me explain it a little bit. Whenever a key is pressed down, we first check to see if its CTRL being pressed (key code 17). If it is CTRL, then we set isCtrl to true in order to keep track when CTRL is activated, and of course we return isCtrl back to false once CTRL is released via the keyup event. We must keep track of the CTRL activity with a variable because the event will fire on a per-key basis. When you press ctrl+S for example, the event fires twice with two different key codes – making it impossible to simply check for both keys in one swift action.

Now going back to the keydown event; after the CTRL key check, we can look to see if other keys are being pressed. In this example, key code 83 is for the S key, which in one example could be useful for allowing quick saving of a form. And lastly, the return false; plays a very important role in keeping the browser from picking up that particular key combination and acting on it. In the example above of using CTRL+S, normally when you press that the browser will prompt you to save the page – but with the return false, the browser backs down and stays quiet.

Library

As posted in the comments, there is a nice library to get this done over at openjs.com. If your looking for a simple solution that covers all angles, check out Handling Keyboard Shortcuts in JavaScript

Javascript Key Codes

Key Pressed Key Code
backspace 8
tab 9
enter 13
shift 16
ctrl 17
alt 18
pause/break 19
caps lock 20
escape 27
page up 33
page down 34
end 35
home 36
left arrow 37
up arrow 38
right arrow 39
down arrow 40
insert 45
delete 46
0 48
1 49
2 50
3 51
4 52
5 53
6 54
7 55
8 56
9 57
a 65
b 66
c 67
d 68
e 69
f 70
g 71
h 72
i 73
j 74
k 75
l 76
m 77
n 78
o 79
p 80
q 81
r 82
s 83
t 84
u 85
v 86
w 87
x 88
y 89
z 90
left window key 91
right window key 92
select key 93
numpad 0 96
numpad 1 97
numpad 2 98
numpad 3 99
numpad 4 100
numpad 5 101
numpad 6 102
numpad 7 103
numpad 8 104
numpad 9 105
multiply 106
add 107
subtract 109
decimal point 110
divide 111
f1 112
f2 113
f3 114
f4 115
f5 116
f6 117
f7 118
f8 119
f9 120
f10 121
f11 122
f12 123
num lock 144
scroll lock 145
semi-colon 186
equal sign 187
comma 188
dash 189
period 190
forward slash 191
grave accent 192
open bracket 219
back slash 220
close braket 221
single quote 222