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keydown vs keypress vs keyup

Written byPhuoc Nguyen
18 Jun, 2020
  • The order of events
    When user presses a key or combination of different keys, `keydown`, `keypress` and `keyup` are triggered in that order:
    1. The `keydown` event is triggered first when user presses a key
    2. The `keyup` event is triggered last when user releases a key
    3. In between, the `keypress` event is triggered
  • These events serve different purposes.
    The `keydown` and `keyup` events are often used to handle the physical keys, while the `keypress` event is used to handle characters which are being typed.
    The `keypress` ignores keys such as `delete`, `arrows`, `page up`, `page down`, `home`, `end`, `ctrl`, `alt`, `shift`, `esc`, etc. So, if we need to handle those keys, it's better to use either `keydown` or `keyup` event.
    The sample code below listens on the `keydown` event, and closes the modal if the Esc key is pressed:
    document.addEventListener('keydown', function (e) {
    if (e.key === 'Escape') {
    // Close the modal
  • The `keydown` and `keypress` events fire multiple times if user press and hold a key.
    While `keyup` fires only once when user releases the key.
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