A simple micro-library for defining and dispatching keyboard shortcuts. It has no dependencies.
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Keymaster is a simple (~60 LoC) micro-library for defining and dispatching keyboard shortcuts. It has no dependencies.

It’s a work in progress (e.g. beta), so spare me your nerdrage and instead contribute! Patches are welcome, but they are not guaranteed to make it in.

One global method is exposed, key which defines shortcuts when called directly. Use key.setScope for switching scope.

At any point in time (even in code other than key shortcut handlers), you can query the key object for the state of modifier keys. This allows easy implementation of things like shift+click handlers. For example, key.shift is true if the shift key is currently pressed.

Keymaster understands the following modifiers: , shift, option, , alt, ctrl, control, command, and .

The following special keys can be used for shortcuts: backspace, tab, clear, enter, return, esc, escape, space, up, down, left, right, home, end, pageup, pagedown, del, delete and f1 through f19.

When an INPUT, SELECT or TEXTAREA element is focussed, Keymaster doens't process shortcuts.

// define short of 'a'
key('a', function(){ alert('you pressed a!') });

// returning false stops the event and prevents default browser events
key('ctrl+r', function(){ alert('stopped reload!'); return false });

// multiple shortcuts
key('command+r, ctrl+r', function(){ });

// shortcut with a scope
key('o, enter', 'issues', function(){ /* do something */ });
key('o, enter', 'files', function(){ /* do something else */ });
key.setScope('issues'); // default scope is 'all'

// query modifier keys
if(key.shift) alert('shift is pressed, OMGZ!');

Keymaster should work with any browser that fires keyup and keydown events, and is tested with IE (6+), Safari, Firefox and Chrome.

See http://madrobby.github.com/keymaster/ for a live demo.

key('c', 'issues', function(){

key('command+r, ctrl+r', 'issues', function(){
  console.log('Hijacked Command+R or Ctrl+R, damn!');
  return false;

key('i', function(){
  console.log('Switched to "issues" scope. Command+R or Ctrl+R is now no longer reloading...');

key('i', function(){
  console.log('(example of multiple assignment)');

key('o, enter, left', function(){
  console.log('o, enter or left pressed!');

key('ctrl+c', function(){
  console.log('this is not the command line');

key('⌘+right,shift+left,ctrl+shift+alt+d', function(event){
  console.log('command+right, or shift+left, or ctrl+shift+alt+d');
  console.log('here is the event: ', event);
  console.log('key.control', key.control);
  console.log('key.ctrl', key.ctrl);
  console.log('key.shift', key.shift);
  console.log('key.alt', key.alt);
  console.log('key["⌘"]', key[""]);
  return false; // prevent default & stop propagation


  • Make behavior with INPUT / SELECT / TEXTAREA configurable
  • Comprehensive test suite

Keymaster is (c) 2011 Thomas Fuchs and may be freely distributed under the MIT license. See the MIT-LICENSE file.