Which keycode for escape key with jQuery

Which keycode for escape key with jQuery

I have two functions. When enter is pressed the functions runs correctly but when escape is pressed it doesn’t. What’s the correct number for the escape key?
$(document).keypress(function(e) {
if (e.which == 13) $(‘.save’).click(); // enter (works as expected)
if (e.which == 27) $(‘.cancel’).click(); // esc (does not work)


Solution 1:

Try with the keyup event:

$(document).keyup(function(e) {
  if (e.keyCode === 13) $('.save').click();     // enter
  if (e.keyCode === 27) $('.cancel').click();   // esc

Solution 2:

Rather than hardcode the keycode values in your function, consider using named constants to better convey your meaning:

var KEYCODE_ESC = 27;

$(document).keyup(function(e) {
  if (e.keyCode == KEYCODE_ENTER) $('.save').click();
  if (e.keyCode == KEYCODE_ESC) $('.cancel').click();

Some browsers (like FireFox, unsure of others) define a global KeyEvent object that exposes these types of constants for you. This SO question shows a nice way of defining that object in other browsers as well.

Solution 3:

(Answer extracted from my previous comment)

You need to use keyup rather than keypress. e.g.:

$(document).keyup(function(e) {
  if (e.which == 13) $('.save').click();     // enter
  if (e.which == 27) $('.cancel').click();   // esc

keypress doesn’t seem to be handled consistently between browsers (try out the demo at http://api.jquery.com/keypress in IE vs Chrome vs Firefox. Sometimes keypress doesn’t register, and the values for both ‘which’ and ‘keyCode’ vary) whereas keyup is consistent.

Since there was some discussion of e.which vs e.keyCode: Note that e.which is the jquery-normalized value and is the one recommended for use:

The event.which property normalizes event.keyCode and event.charCode. It is recommended to watch event.which for keyboard key input.

(from http://api.jquery.com/event.which/)

Solution 4:

To find the keycode for any key, use this simple function:

document.onkeydown = function(evt) {

Solution 5:

27 is the code for the escape key. 🙂

Solution 6:

Your best bet is

$(document).keyup(function(e) { 
    if (e.which === 13) $('.save').click();   // enter 
    if (e.which === 27) $('.cancel').click(); // esc   

    /* OPTIONAL: Only if you want other elements to ignore event */


  • which is more preferable than keyCode because it is normalized
  • keyup is more preferable than keydown because keydown may occur multiple times if user keeps it pressed.
  • Do not use keypress unless you want to capture actual characters.

Interestingly Bootstrap uses keydown and keyCode in its dropdown component (as of 3.0.2)! I think it’s probably poor choice there.

Related snippet from JQuery doc

While browsers use differing
properties to store this information, jQuery normalizes the .which
property so you can reliably use it to retrieve the key code. This
code corresponds to a key on the keyboard, including codes for special
keys such as arrows. For catching actual text entry, .keypress() may
be a better choice.

Other item of interest: JavaScript Keypress Library