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Control.PreviewKeyDown Event

Occurs before the KeyDown event when a key is pressed while focus is on this control.

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

public event PreviewKeyDownEventHandler PreviewKeyDown

Some key presses, such as the TAB, RETURN, ESC, and arrow keys, are typically ignored by some controls because they are not considered input key presses. For example, by default, a Button control ignores the arrow keys. Pressing the arrow keys typically causes the focus to move to the previous or next control. The arrow keys are considered navigation keys and pressing these keys typically do not raise the KeyDown event for a Button. However, pressing the arrow keys for a Button does raise the PreviewKeyDown event. By handling the PreviewKeyDown event for a Button and setting the IsInputKey property to true, you can raise the KeyDown event when the arrow keys are pressed. However, if you handle the arrow keys, the focus will no longer move to the previous or next control.

For more information about handling events, see Handling and Raising Events.

The following code example demonstrates a Button that includes a ContextMenuStrip. When the Button has the focus and you press the UP ARROW or DOWN ARROW keys, the ContextMenuStrip appears. The PreviewKeyDown event handler detects when the UP ARROW or DOWN ARROW keys are pressed and sets the IsInputKey property to true. This raises the KeyDown event so that you can display the ContextMenuStrip. You should not put any logic in the PreviewKeyDown event handler, other than to set the IsInputKey property. Instead, you should put your logic in the KeyDown event handler.

public Form1()
{
    InitializeComponent();

    // Form that has a button on it
    button1.PreviewKeyDown +=new PreviewKeyDownEventHandler(button1_PreviewKeyDown);
    button1.KeyDown += new KeyEventHandler(button1_KeyDown);
    button1.ContextMenuStrip = new ContextMenuStrip();
    // Add items to ContextMenuStrip
    button1.ContextMenuStrip.Items.Add("One");
    button1.ContextMenuStrip.Items.Add("Two");
    button1.ContextMenuStrip.Items.Add("Three");
}

// By default, KeyDown does not fire for the ARROW keys 
void button1_KeyDown(object sender, KeyEventArgs e)
{
    switch (e.KeyCode)
    {
        case Keys.Down:
        case Keys.Up:
            if (button1.ContextMenuStrip != null)
            {
                button1.ContextMenuStrip.Show(button1,
                    new Point(0, button1.Height), ToolStripDropDownDirection.BelowRight);
            }
            break;
    }
}

// PreviewKeyDown is where you preview the key. 
// Do not put any logic here, instead use the 
// KeyDown event after setting IsInputKey to true. 
private void button1_PreviewKeyDown(object sender, PreviewKeyDownEventArgs e)
{
    switch (e.KeyCode)
    {
        case Keys.Down:
        case Keys.Up:
            e.IsInputKey = true;
            break;
    }
}

.NET Framework

Supported in: 4.5, 4, 3.5, 3.0, 2.0

.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.

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