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SendKeys Class

Provides methods for sending keystrokes to an application.

System.Object
  System.Windows.Forms.SendKeys

Namespace:  System.Windows.Forms
Assembly:  System.Windows.Forms (in System.Windows.Forms.dll)

public class SendKeys

The SendKeys type exposes the following members.

  NameDescription
Public methodEquals(Object)Determines whether the specified object is equal to the current object. (Inherited from Object.)
Protected methodFinalizeAllows an object to try to free resources and perform other cleanup operations before it is reclaimed by garbage collection. (Inherited from Object.)
Public methodStatic memberFlushProcesses all the Windows messages currently in the message queue.
Public methodGetHashCodeServes as the default hash function. (Inherited from Object.)
Public methodGetTypeGets the Type of the current instance. (Inherited from Object.)
Protected methodMemberwiseCloneCreates a shallow copy of the current Object. (Inherited from Object.)
Public methodStatic memberSendSends keystrokes to the active application.
Public methodStatic memberSendWaitSends the given keys to the active application, and then waits for the messages to be processed.
Public methodToStringReturns a string that represents the current object. (Inherited from Object.)
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Use SendKeys to send keystrokes and keystroke combinations to the active application. This class cannot be instantiated. To send a keystroke to a class and immediately continue with the flow of your program, use Send. To wait for any processes started by the keystroke, use SendWait.

Each key is represented by one or more characters. To specify a single keyboard character, use the character itself. For example, to represent the letter A, pass in the string "A" to the method. To represent more than one character, append each additional character to the one preceding it. To represent the letters A, B, and C, specify the parameter as "ABC".

The plus sign (+), caret (^), percent sign (%), tilde (~), and parentheses () have special meanings to SendKeys. To specify one of these characters, enclose it within braces ({}). For example, to specify the plus sign, use "{+}". To specify brace characters, use "{{}" and "{}}". Brackets ([ ]) have no special meaning to SendKeys, but you must enclose them in braces. In other applications, brackets do have a special meaning that might be significant when dynamic data exchange (DDE) occurs.

Caution noteCaution

If your application is intended for international use with a variety of keyboards, the use of Send could yield unpredictable results and should be avoided.

To specify characters that aren't displayed when you press a key, such as ENTER or TAB, and keys that represent actions rather than characters, use the codes in the following table.

Key

Code

BACKSPACE

{BACKSPACE}, {BS}, or {BKSP}

BREAK

{BREAK}

CAPS LOCK

{CAPSLOCK}

DEL or DELETE

{DELETE} or {DEL}

DOWN ARROW

{DOWN}

END

{END}

ENTER

{ENTER}or ~

ESC

{ESC}

HELP

{HELP}

HOME

{HOME}

INS or INSERT

{INSERT} or {INS}

LEFT ARROW

{LEFT}

NUM LOCK

{NUMLOCK}

PAGE DOWN

{PGDN}

PAGE UP

{PGUP}

PRINT SCREEN

{PRTSC} (reserved for future use)

RIGHT ARROW

{RIGHT}

SCROLL LOCK

{SCROLLLOCK}

TAB

{TAB}

UP ARROW

{UP}

F1

{F1}

F2

{F2}

F3

{F3}

F4

{F4}

F5

{F5}

F6

{F6}

F7

{F7}

F8

{F8}

F9

{F9}

F10

{F10}

F11

{F11}

F12

{F12}

F13

{F13}

F14

{F14}

F15

{F15}

F16

{F16}

Keypad add

{ADD}

Keypad subtract

{SUBTRACT}

Keypad multiply

{MULTIPLY}

Keypad divide

{DIVIDE}

To specify keys combined with any combination of the SHIFT, CTRL, and ALT keys, precede the key code with one or more of the following codes.

Key

Code

SHIFT

+

CTRL

^

ALT

%

To specify that any combination of SHIFT, CTRL, and ALT should be held down while several other keys are pressed, enclose the code for those keys in parentheses. For example, to specify to hold down SHIFT while E and C are pressed, use "+(EC)". To specify to hold down SHIFT while E is pressed, followed by C without SHIFT, use "+EC".

To specify repeating keys, use the form {key number}. You must put a space between key and number. For example, {LEFT 42} means press the LEFT ARROW key 42 times; {h 10} means press H 10 times.

NoteNote

Because there is no managed method to activate another application, you can either use this class within the current application or use native Windows methods, such as FindWindow and SetForegroundWindow, to force focus on other applications.

NoteNote

The SendKeys class has been updated for the .NET Framework 3.0 to enable its use in applications that run on Windows Vista. The enhanced security of Windows Vista (known as User Account Control or UAC) prevents the previous implementation from working as expected.

The SendKeys class is susceptible to timing issues, which some developers have had to work around. The updated implementation is still susceptible to timing issues, but is slightly faster and may require changes to the workarounds. The SendKeys class tries to use the previous implementation first, and if that fails, uses the new implementation. As a result, the SendKeys class may behave differently on different operating systems. Additionally, when the SendKeys class uses the new implementation, the SendWait method will not wait for messages to be processed when they are sent to another process.

If your application relies on consistent behavior regardless of the operating system, you can force the SendKeys class to use the new implementation by adding the following application setting to your app.config file.

<appSettings>

<add key="SendKeys" value="SendInput"/>

</appSettings>

To force the SendKeys class to use the previous implementation, use the value "JournalHook" instead.

The following code example demonstrates how to use the Send method. To run the example, paste the following code in a form called Form1 containing a button called Button1. Ensure the click events are associated with their event-handling methods in this example. The button control's TabIndex property should be set to 0. When the example is running, double-click the form to trigger the button's click event.


	// Clicking Button1 causes a message box to appear. 
	private void Button1_Click(System.Object sender, System.EventArgs e)
	{
		MessageBox.Show("Click here!");
	}


	// Use the SendKeys.Send method to raise the Button1 click event  
	// and display the message box. 
	private void Form1_DoubleClick(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
	{

		// Send the enter key; since the tab stop of Button1 is 0, this 
		// will trigger the click event.
		SendKeys.Send("{ENTER}");
	}

.NET Framework

Supported in: 4.6, 4, 3.5, 3.0, 2.0, 1.1, 1.0

.NET Framework Client Profile

Supported in: 4, 3.5 SP1

Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows 7, Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 (Server Core Role not supported), Windows Server 2008 R2 (Server Core Role supported with SP1 or later; Itanium not supported)

The .NET Framework does not support all versions of every platform. For a list of the supported versions, see .NET Framework System Requirements.

Any public static (Shared in Visual Basic) members of this type are thread safe. Any instance members are not guaranteed to be thread safe.
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