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Cong Liu edited this page Mar 30, 2016 · 9 revisions

NOTE: some content in this wiki applies only to 0.12 and earlier versions. For official documentation on 0.13 and later, see

Shortcut API requires node-webkit >= 0.10.0

Shortcut represents a global keyboard shortcut, also known as system-wide hotkey. If registered successfully, it works even if your app does not have focus. Every time the user presses the registered shortcut, your app will receive an "active" event of the shortcut object.


// Load native UI library.
var gui = require('nw.gui');

var option = {
  key : "Ctrl+Shift+A",
  active : function() {
    console.log("Global desktop keyboard shortcut: " + this.key + " active."); 
  failed : function(msg) {
    // :(, fail to register the |key| or couldn't parse the |key|.

// Create a shortcut with |option|.
var shortcut = new gui.Shortcut(option);

// Register global desktop shortcut, which can work without focus.

// If register |shortcut| successfully and user struck "Ctrl+Shift+A", |shortcut|
// will get an "active" event.

// You can also add listener to shortcut's active and failed event.
shortcut.on('active', function() {
  console.log("Global desktop keyboard shortcut: " + this.key + " active."); 

shortcut.on('failed', function(msg) {

// Unregister the global desktop shortcut.


new Shortcut(option)

Create new Shortcut, option is an object contains initial settings for the Shortcut. option can have following fields: key, active, failed.

Every field has its own property in the Shortcut, see documentation of each property for details.


Get or Set the key of a Shortcut. It is a string to specify the shortcut key, like "Ctrl+Alt+A".

Supported keys: A-Z, 0-9, Comma, Period, Home, End, PageUp, PageDown, Insert, Delete, Arrow keys (Up, Down, Left, Right) and the Media Keys (MediaNextTrack, MediaPlayPause, MediaPrevTrack, MediaStop). Note that Shortcut.key has to have exactly one keycode, multiple aren't supported.

Since 0.13.0, NW.js supports most of DOM Level 3 W3C KeyboardEvent Code Values. And also supports following key aliases:

  • Backquote == "`"
  • Tab == \t
  • Enter == \n
  • Minus == -
  • Equal == =
  • Backslash == \
  • Comma == ,
  • Period == .
  • Slash == /
  • Semicolon == ;
  • Quote == '
  • BracketLeft == [
  • BracketRight == ]

Modifiers: Ctrl, Alt, Shift. Shortcut.key takes zero or more modifiers.

For version < 0.13.0, Ctrl maps to on Mac OS X. But it's no longer true since NW 0.13.0. Starting from 0.13.0, Command modifier is supported across all platforms. On Mac OS X, Command maps to key. On Windows and Linux, it maps to Win key for US 101 Layout keyboard.

Please use zero modifier only when you are knowing what your are doing. The API App.registerGlobalHotKey can support applications intercepting a single key (like { key: "A"}), but please don't do this since users will not be able to use "A" normally any more until the app unregisters it. However, the API doesn't limit this usage, and it would be useful if the applications wants to listen Media Keys.

Get or Set the active callback of a Shortcut, the active must be a valid function, it will be called when user presses the shortcut.


Get or Set the failed callback of a Shortcut, the failed must be a valid function, it will be called when application passes an invalid Shortcut.key, or when the shortcut registration (App.registerGlobalHotKey) has failed.


Following events can be listened to by using Shortcut.on() method, for more information on how to receive events, you can visit EventEmitter.


Emitted when the users pressed the registered shortcut.


Emitted when the application passed an invalid Shortcut.key, or when the shortcut registration (App.registerGlobalHotKey) has failed.

See Also

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