Skip to content
Home / Blog / Use JavaScript to Detect What ...

Use JavaScript to Detect What Key the User Pressed

In some apps and games it may be necessary to enable certain functionality when the user presses a certain key or key combination on their keyboard. You can do this in a cross-browser fashion in modern browsers using the following JavaScript:

window.addEventListener('keydown', function (e) { document.querySelector('p').innerHTML = `You pressed ${e.key}`; }, false);
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Below a live demo that prints the key on the page:

If you want deeper browser support that goes back to pre-IE9, you would have to use the keypress event (which is now deprecated) in a snippet like this:

function doWhichKey(e) { e = e || window.event; let charCode = e.keyCode || e.which; return String.fromCharCode(charCode); } window.addEventListener('keypress', function (e) { console.log("You pressed " + doWhichKey(e)); }, false);
Code language: JavaScript (javascript)

Here’s a brief breakdown of the code:

  • The doWhichKey() function includes some code for older browsers like old IE
  • The function returns a character code for the key that was pressed (e.g. the letter J is represented by “74”; the spacebar by “32”, and so on)
  • The event listener logs the code, which has been converted to its literal value using String.fromCharCode()

The website keycode.info allows you to see the keycode for any key.

Note: To the best of our knowledge, the information above and the snippet are accurate and up to date. However, in case you notice something wrong, please report snippet or leave a comment below.
Back to SnippetsShow Comments

Or start the conversation in our Facebook group for WordPress professionals. Find answers, share tips, and get help from other WordPress experts. Join now (it’s free)!

Most Searched Articles

Best JavaScript Libraries and Frameworks: Try These 14 in 2022

In this post, we look at the best JavaScript libraries and frameworks to try out this year. Why? Well, with JavaScript being available in every web browser, this makes it the most accessible programming language of ...

25+ Best Free WordPress Themes for 2022 (Responsive, Mobile-Ready, Beautiful)

If you're looking for only the best free WordPress themes in the market for this year, then you're in the right place. We have more than enough such themes for you right ...

12 Best WordPress Hosting Providers of 2022 Compared & Tested

Looking for the best WordPress hosting that you can actually afford? We did the testing for you. Here are 10+ best hosts on the market ...

Handpicked Articles

How to Make a WordPress Website: Ultimate Guide for All Users – Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced

Many people wonder how to make a WordPress website. They’ve heard about WordPress, its incredible popularity, excellent features and designs, and now they want to join the pack and build a WordPress website of their own. So, where does one get ...

How to Start an Ecommerce Business: Ultimate Guide for 2022

Is this going to be the year you learn how to start an eCommerce business from scratch? You’re certainly in the right place! This guide will give you a roadmap to getting from 0 to a fully functional eCommerce business. ...