onkeydown (HTML attribute)

Spec
Version
HTML 4
Browser support (more…)
IE5.5+ FF1+ SA1.3+ OP9.2+
Full Full Full Full

Syntax

onkeydown="script"

Description

The onkeydown event handler captures the moment that a key is pressed down but has not yet been released. The release of the key is captured by the onkeyup and onkeypress attributes.

Note that this event attribute cannot be applied to the following elements:

  • applet
  • base
  • basefont
  • bdo
  • br
  • font
  • frame
  • frameset
  • head
  • html
  • iframe
  • isindex
  • meta
  • param
  • script
  • style
  • title

Example

This attribute may be used when a key that’s being held down continuously has some kind of timer effect—for example, the user presses the space key until an activity on screen is completed (releasing the key may cause the action to pause)—like so:
<body onkeydown="increasePower();"/>

Value

This attribute has no fixed value. It’s up to the author to decide on the scripting that’s included here, be that a call to one or more defined functions, or a simple alert() statement.

Compatibility

Internet Explorer Firefox Safari Opera
5.5 6.0 7.0 1.0 1.5 2.0 1.3 2.0 3.0 9.2 9.5
Full Full Full Full Full Full Full Full Full Full Full

Every browser listed supports this attribute. However, inline event handlers such as this should be avoided. In the same way that inline CSS styles are frowned upon but externally defined CSS styles are considered good practice, inline event handlers should be stripped out and replaced with events attached unobtrusively through the DOM.

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