[javascript] Capturing TAB key in text box

I would like to be able to use the Tab key within a text box to tab over four spaces. The way it is now, the Tab key jumps my cursor to the next input.

Is there some JavaScript that will capture the Tab key in the text box before it bubbles up to the UI?

I understand some browsers (i.e. FireFox) may not allow this. How about a custom key-combo like Shift+Tab, or Ctrl+Q?

This question is related to javascript user-interface

The answer is


The previous answer is fine, but I'm one of those guys that's firmly against mixing behavior with presentation (putting JavaScript in my HTML) so I prefer to put my event handling logic in my JavaScript files. Additionally, not all browsers implement event (or e) the same way. You may want to do a check prior to running any logic:

document.onkeydown = TabExample;

function TabExample(evt) {
  var evt = (evt) ? evt : ((event) ? event : null);
  var tabKey = 9;
  if(evt.keyCode == tabKey) {
    // do work
  }
}

In Chrome on the Mac, alt-tab inserts a tab character into a <textarea> field.

Here’s one: . Wee!


there is a problem in best answer given by ScottKoon

here is it

} else if(el.attachEvent ) {
    myInput.attachEvent('onkeydown',this.keyHandler); /* damn IE hack */
}

Should be

} else if(myInput.attachEvent ) {
    myInput.attachEvent('onkeydown',this.keyHandler); /* damn IE hack */
}

Due to this it didn't work in IE. Hoping that ScottKoon will update code


I'd rather tab indentation not work than breaking tabbing between form items.

If you want to indent to put in code in the Markdown box, use Ctrl+K (or ?K on a Mac).

In terms of actually stopping the action, jQuery (which Stack Overflow uses) will stop an event from bubbling when you return false from an event callback. This makes life easier for working with multiple browsers.


I would advise against changing the default behaviour of a key. I do as much as possible without touching a mouse, so if you make my tab key not move to the next field on a form I will be very aggravated.

A shortcut key could be useful however, especially with large code blocks and nesting. Shift-TAB is a bad option because that normally takes me to the previous field on a form. Maybe a new button on the WMD editor to insert a code-TAB, with a shortcut key, would be possible?