Export (0) Print
Expand All

How to: Handle Keyboard Input at the Form Level

Windows Forms provides the ability to handle keyboard messages at the form level, before the messages reach a control. This topic shows how to accomplish this task.

To handle a keyboard message at the form level

  • Handle the KeyPress or KeyDown event of the startup form, and set the KeyPreview property of the form to true so that keyboard messages are received by the form before they reach any controls on the form. The following code example handles the KeyPress event by detecting all of the number keys and consuming '1', '4', and '7'.

    
    // Detect all numeric characters at the form level and consume 1, 
    // 4, and 7. Note that Form.KeyPreview must be set to true for this
    // event handler to be called.
    void Form1_KeyPress(object sender, KeyPressEventArgs e)
    {
        if (e.KeyChar >= 48 && e.KeyChar <= 57)
        {
            MessageBox.Show("Form.KeyPress: '" +
                e.KeyChar.ToString() + "' pressed.");
    
            switch (e.KeyChar)
            {
                case (char)49:
                case (char)52:
                case (char)55:
                    MessageBox.Show("Form.KeyPress: '" +
                        e.KeyChar.ToString() + "' consumed.");
                    e.Handled = true;
                    break;
            }
        }
    }
    
    
    

The following code example is the entire application for the above example. The application includes a TextBox along with several other controls that allow you to move focus from the TextBox. The KeyPress event of the main Form consumes '1', '4', and '7', and the KeyPress event of the TextBox consumes '2', '5', and '8' while displaying the remaining keys. Compare the MessageBox output when you press a number key while the TextBox has focus with the MessageBox output when you press a number key while focus is on one of the other controls.


using System;
using System.Drawing;
using System.Windows.Forms;

namespace KeyboardInputForm
{
    class Form1 : Form
    {
        TextBox TextBox1 = new TextBox();

        [STAThread]
        public static void Main()
        {
            Application.EnableVisualStyles();
            Application.Run(new Form1());
        }

        public Form1()
        {
            this.AutoSize = true;

            FlowLayoutPanel panel = new FlowLayoutPanel();
            panel.AutoSize = true;
            panel.FlowDirection = FlowDirection.TopDown;
            panel.Controls.Add(TextBox1);
            this.Controls.Add(panel);

            this.KeyPreview = true;
            this.KeyPress +=
                new KeyPressEventHandler(Form1_KeyPress);
            TextBox1.KeyPress +=
                new KeyPressEventHandler(TextBox1_KeyPress);
        }

        // Detect all numeric characters at the form level and consume 1, 
        // 4, and 7. Note that Form.KeyPreview must be set to true for this
        // event handler to be called.
        void Form1_KeyPress(object sender, KeyPressEventArgs e)
        {
            if (e.KeyChar >= 48 && e.KeyChar <= 57)
            {
                MessageBox.Show("Form.KeyPress: '" +
                    e.KeyChar.ToString() + "' pressed.");

                switch (e.KeyChar)
                {
                    case (char)49:
                    case (char)52:
                    case (char)55:
                        MessageBox.Show("Form.KeyPress: '" +
                            e.KeyChar.ToString() + "' consumed.");
                        e.Handled = true;
                        break;
                }
            }
        }

        // Detect all numeric characters at the TextBox level and consume  
        // 2, 5, and 8.
        void TextBox1_KeyPress(object sender, KeyPressEventArgs e)
        {
            if (e.KeyChar >= 48 && e.KeyChar <= 57)
            {
                MessageBox.Show("Control.KeyPress: '" +
                    e.KeyChar.ToString() + "' pressed.");

                switch (e.KeyChar)
                {
                    case (char)50:
                    case (char)53:
                    case (char)56:
                        MessageBox.Show("Control.KeyPress: '" +
                            e.KeyChar.ToString() + "' consumed.");
                        e.Handled = true;
                        break;
                }
            }
        }
    }
}


This example requires:

  • References to the System, System.Drawing and System.Windows.Forms assemblies.

For information about building this example from the command line for Visual Basic or Visual C#, see Building from the Command Line (Visual Basic) or Command-line Building With csc.exe. You can also build this example in Visual Studio by pasting the code into a new project. For more information, see How to: Compile and Run a Complete Windows Forms Code Example Using Visual Studio and How to: Compile and Run a Complete Windows Forms Code Example Using Visual Studio and How to: Compile and Run a Complete Windows Forms Code Example Using Visual Studio and How to: Compile and Run a Complete Windows Forms Code Example Using Visual Studio and How to: Compile and Run a Complete Windows Forms Code Example Using Visual Studio.

Community Additions

ADD
Show:
© 2014 Microsoft