How to find out what character key is pressed?

I would like to find out what character key is pressed in a cross-browser compatible way in pure javascript.

"Clear" JavaScript:

<script type="text/javascript">
  function myKeyPress(e){
    var keynum;

    if(window.event) { // IE                    
      keynum = e.keyCode;
    } else if(e.which){ // Netscape/Firefox/Opera                   
      keynum = e.which;


  <input type="text" onkeypress="return myKeyPress(event)" />



There are a million duplicates of this question on here, but here goes again anyway:

document.onkeypress = function(evt) {
    evt = evt || window.event;
    var charCode = evt.keyCode || evt.which;
    var charStr = String.fromCharCode(charCode);

The best reference on key events I've seen is

More recent and much cleaner: use event.key. No more arbitrary number codes!

node.addEventListener('keydown', function(event) {
    const key = event.key; // "a", "1", "Shift", etc.

If you want to make sure only single characters are entered, check key.length === 1, or that it is one of the characters you expect.

Mozilla Docs

Supported Browsers


<tr><td>Key:</td><td id="key"></td></tr>
<tr><td>Key Code:</td><td id="keyCode"></td></tr>
<tr><td>Event Code:</td><td id="eventCode"></td></tr>
<script type="text/javascript">
window.addEventListener("keydown", function (e) {
  //tested in IE/Chrome/Firefox
  document.getElementById("key").innerHTML = e.key;
  document.getElementById("keyCode").innerHTML = e.keyCode;
  document.getElementById("eventCode").innerHTML = e.code;

*Note: this works in "Run code snippet"

This website does the same as my code above:

Use this one:

function onKeyPress(evt){
  evt = (evt) ? evt : (window.event) ? event : null;
  if (evt)
    var charCode = (evt.charCode) ? evt.charCode :((evt.keyCode) ? evt.keyCode :((evt.which) ? evt.which : 0));
    if (charCode == 13) 
        alert('User pressed Enter');

**check this out** 
<!DOCTYPE html>
<script src=""></script>

            var keynum;
            { // IE                 
                keynum = e.keyCode;
                else if(e.which)
                    // Netscape/Firefox/Opera                   
                    keynum = e.which;
                    var unicode=e.keyCode? e.keyCode : e.charCode;


<input type="text"></input>

One of my favorite libraries to do this in a sophisticated way is Mousetrap.

It comes stocked with a variety of plugins, one of which is the record plugin which can identify a sequence of keys pressed.


    function recordSequence() {
        Mousetrap.record(function(sequence) {
            // sequence is an array like ['ctrl+k', 'c']
            alert('You pressed: ' + sequence.join(' '));

<button onclick="recordSequence()">Record</button>

document.onkeypress = function(event){