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Acunote's JavaScript Keyboard Shortcuts Framework


Acunote Shortcuts is a JavaScript library providing everything you need to make add rich keyboard shortcut functionality to a web application. With a few lines of code you can have Gmail-like single and multi-key keyboard shortcuts covering the essential functionality.

Acunote Shortcuts was extracted from Acunote, an online project management application for Scrum, XP, Agile and common sense.

Try It

Firefox extension and Greasemonkey script to add keyboard shortcuts to hacker news (, reddit, digg and Redmine:


  • Simple to use: just declare a keymap defining what key sequences to bind to what functions and the library does the rest.
  • Supports single key (e.g. "j") and compound key sequence shortcuts (e.g. "g i") of any length.
  • Supports binding of any letter, number, symbol, punctuation keys. <Shift> modifier is also supported. (e.g. "?").
  • Works in Mozilla Firefox 1+, Internet Explorer 6+, Opera 8+, Safari.
  • Lightweight, does not depend on any other JavaScript library.
  • Visual feedback in the echo area.
  • Optional Ruby on Rails helper provides convenient way to define shortcuts from Ruby. Global and page-specific keymap are supported and are merged at the runtime.
  • Greasemonkey userscript with an examples of using adding shortcuts to News.YC, Reddit, Digg and Redmine. Includes code to add Gmail-style cursor.
  • Open Source, MIT license.

Four Simple Steps To Use Shortcuts from Pure JavaScript

  1. Download the archive and unpack it to your web site or application directory.
  2. Include shortcuts library and styles somewhere inside <head> tag.
    <script src="shortcuts.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
    <link href="shortcuts.css" type="text/css" media="screen"/>
3. Configure shortcuts as a javascript hash.
<script type="text/javascript">
    'h': function() { alert('Help!'); },
    'f': {
        'o': {
            'o': function() { alert('"foo" has been typed!'); }
    'b': {
        'a': {
            'R': function() { alert('"baR" has been typed!'); },
            'z': function() { alert('"baz" has been typed!'); }
4. Initialize keyboard shortcuts listener on page load.
<body onload="shortcutListener.init();">

Four Simple Steps To Use Shortcuts from Ruby on Rails

Rails helper supports global and page-specific keymaps and merges these at runtime.
This way you can define global shortcuts for the whole site in the layout, and modify them as needed for specific pages. This example uses this functionality.

  1. Configure global shortcuts in your layout template.
    @global_shortcuts = {
    :h =>  "alert('Help!');",
    :f => {
    :o => {
    :o => "alert('"foo" has been typed!');"
2. Add local page shortcuts to the page template.
@page_shortcuts = {
    :b => {
        :a => {
            :R => "alert('"bar" has been typed!');",
            :z => "alert('"baz" has been typed!');"
3. Place acunote_shortcuts_helper.rb into you app/helpers directory and include it into ApplicationHelper class
module ApplicationHelper
    include AcunoteShortcutsHelper
4. Call render_shortcuts where your javascript code is rendered
<script type="text/javascript">
    <%= render_shortcuts %>

Then h and foo will be available for all the pages and one page will have additional bar and baz shortcuts.

News.YC, Reddit, Digg and Redmine Keyboard Shortcuts For Your Browser

This Firefox Extension and Greasemonkey Script add Gmail-style cursor, navigation and post management shortcuts to YCombinator News, Reddit, Digg and Redmine. It includes aconote-shortcuts.js library, and site-specific code to setup shortcuts for each of these.

Cursor Movement Notes
j move cursor up
k move cursor down
Post management
o, <Enter> open original post
<Shift>+o open comments
u back to news list
v then u vote up "dig" on Digg
v then d vote down "bury" on Digg
g then i open "index" page News.YC
g then n open "newest" page News.YC, Reddit
g then h open "hot" page Reddit
g then b open "browse" page Reddit
g then s open "saved" page Reddit
g then r open "recommended" page Reddit
g then t open "stats" page Reddit
? show help
Redmine specific
g then p open "projects" page
g then i open "issues" page
g then c open "new issue" form
g then a open "activity" page
g then s open "summary" page
g then n open "news" page
g then f open "forum" page
g then l open "files" page
g then r open "repository" page
g then o open "roadmap" page
g then w open "wiki" page
g then t open "settings" page
? show help

Firefox Extension

Ready to use. Just install it.

Greasemonkey Script

To use Greasemonkey script with Firefox 2+ install Greasemonkey extension and load Acunote shortcuts userscript. For Safari 3+ install GreaseKit plugin and load Acunote shortcuts userscript.

To add support for a new site:

  • download the script source
  • copy and paste the DummySource function, rename and adapt it to your needs
  • add @include* to the list of directives at the beginning of the Greasemonkey script
  • add your site to the SupportedSites map at the end of the Greasemonkey script
  • post your solution to the mailing list and if it's cool, we'll include it in the next Acunote Shortcuts release

Acunote: Powered by Shortcuts

Acunote, our project management software, is the best way to see Acunote Shortcuts library in action. Just about everything is accessible through keyboard.  Acunote also includes more keyboard features, which will be extracted into the library in the future - advanced list selector (like keyboard feed selector in Google Reader or QuickSilver), Esc listeners, accesskey-based shortcuts, etc.

Learn more...


Acunote Shortcuts framework and Greasemonkey script are released under MIT license. Your contributions are welcome.

Development resources:


Acunote JavaScript Keyboard Shortcuts







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