GetKeyNameText function

Retrieves a string that represents the name of a key.


int WINAPI GetKeyNameText(
  _In_  LONG   lParam,
  _Out_ LPTSTR lpString,
  _In_  int    cchSize


lParam [in]

Type: LONG

The second parameter of the keyboard message (such as WM_KEYDOWN) to be processed. The function interprets the following bit positions in the lParam.

16-23Scan code.
24Extended-key flag. Distinguishes some keys on an enhanced keyboard.
25"Do not care" bit. The application calling this function sets this bit to indicate that the function should not distinguish between left and right CTRL and SHIFT keys, for example.


lpString [out]


The buffer that will receive the key name.

cchSize [in]

Type: int

The maximum length, in characters, of the key name, including the terminating null character. (This parameter should be equal to the size of the buffer pointed to by the lpString parameter.)

Return value

Type: int

If the function succeeds, a null-terminated string is copied into the specified buffer, and the return value is the length of the string, in characters, not counting the terminating null character.

If the function fails, the return value is zero. To get extended error information, call GetLastError.


The format of the key-name string depends on the current keyboard layout. The keyboard driver maintains a list of names in the form of character strings for keys with names longer than a single character. The key name is translated according to the layout of the currently installed keyboard, thus the function may give different results for different input locales. The name of a character key is the character itself. The names of dead keys are spelled out in full.


Minimum supported client

Windows 2000 Professional [desktop apps only]

Minimum supported server

Windows 2000 Server [desktop apps only]


Winuser.h (include Windows.h)





Unicode and ANSI names

GetKeyNameTextW (Unicode) and GetKeyNameTextA (ANSI)

See also

Keyboard Input