Create Keyboard Shortcuts with Mousetrap

By  on  

Some of the finest parts of web apps are hidden in the little things.  These "small details" can often add up to big, big gains.  One of those small gains can be found in keyboard shortcuts.  Awesome web apps like Gmail and GitHub use loads of keyboard shortcuts and they make navigating exponentially faster.  After evaluating a few keyboard microlibraries, I've found Mousetrap to be the best!

Using Mousetrap

Mousetrap's bind method is the key to the madness, accepting the key(s) to listen to, the callback method, and a specific event to use (if present):

Mousetrap.bind("s", function(e) {
	// Focus on the search field, do whatever
});

What's immediately nice to see is that you can reference keys by key name and not need to look up key code numbers.  You can listen for multiple keys by adding a + between them:

Mousetrap.bind("shift+k", function() {
	// Create a link
});

You can also listen for key sequences by separating keys with spaces:

Mousetrap.bind("d a v i d", function() {
	// Alert "FTW"
});

// konami code!
Mousetrap.bind('up up down down left right left right b a enter', function() {
    highlight([21, 22, 23]);
});

In the case of listening for likewise events, you can pass Moustrap an array:

Mousetrap.bind(["command+s", "ctrl+s"], function() {
	// Save the form
});

Modifier keys like SHIFT and CONTROL may also be used:

Mousetrap.bind("shift+k", function() {
	// Yay for extra key control
});

You can also use keys which require SHIFT without needing to cite the key:

Mousetrap.bind("* _ $", function() {
	// Yay for extra key control
});

Removing event listeners can be done with a simple unbind call, passing the key(s) to which unbind:

Mousetrap.unbind("s");

You can ever trigger an event if you'd like:

Mousetrap.trigger("s");

Essentially you get maximum control over key events.  Mousetrap even provides a more advanced functionality if you need it, so check out the official documentation to learn more.

Mousetrap is an awesome utility:  simple, useful, and tiny.  You can probably get away with avoid this micro-library if you only have a few keys to listen for, but if you're looking to do advanced keyboard handling and navigation, Mousetrap is perfect.

Recent Features

  • By
    9 Mind-Blowing Canvas Demos

    The <canvas> element has been a revelation for the visual experts among our ranks.  Canvas provides the means for incredible and efficient animations with the added bonus of no Flash; these developers can flash their awesome JavaScript skills instead.  Here are nine unbelievable canvas demos that...

  • By
    5 Awesome New Mozilla Technologies You&#8217;ve Never Heard Of

    My trip to Mozilla Summit 2013 was incredible.  I've spent so much time focusing on my project that I had lost sight of all of the great work Mozillians were putting out.  MozSummit provided the perfect reminder of how brilliant my colleagues are and how much...

Incredible Demos

  • By
    Duplicate the jQuery Homepage Tooltips Using MooTools

    The jQuery homepage has a pretty suave tooltip-like effect as seen below: Here's how to accomplish this same effect using MooTools. The XHTML The above XHTML was taken directly from the jQuery homepage -- no changes. The CSS The above CSS has been slightly modified to match the CSS rules already...

  • By
    Introducing MooTools Templated

    One major problem with creating UI components with the MooTools JavaScript framework is that there isn't a great way of allowing customization of template and ease of node creation. As of today, there are two ways of creating: new Element Madness The first way to create UI-driven...

Discussion

  1. “These “small details” can often add up to big, big gains”.
    Really true. And I guess as far as the web goes, javascript is what provides all the “smalldetails”. I have programmed for a long time with a focus on the server side of the web. I have started to delve deeper into javascript and CSS and this is very helpful.

  2. This is just awesome! I can already think of so many scenarios where I can use this.

    Thanks

  3. boris

    what’s the meaning?

    “You can also use keys which require SHIFT without needing to cite the key:

    Mousetrap.bind("* _ $", function() {
    	// Yay for extra key control
    });
    

    • You don’t have to press “shift+4”, for example, to listen for “$” — you can use the character instead.

  4. Mousetrap is great. We have used it to provide the same keyboard shortcuts as Google Reader had to our Google Reader alternative – http://silverreader.com .

    • And sorry for the link / spamming… I have tried to wrap it
      with *shameless plug*, but it got removed when posted :)

  5. you forgot “select” in your Konami code

  6. great article btw

Wrap your code in <pre class="{language}"></pre> tags, link to a GitHub gist, JSFiddle fiddle, or CodePen pen to embed!