JavaScript listener, “keypress” doesn't detect backspace?

I'm using a keypress listener eg..

addEventListener("keypress", function(event){


However, this doesn't seem to detect a backspace which erases text...

Is there a different listener I can use to detect this?



KeyPress event is invoked only for character (printable) keys, KeyDown event is raised for all including nonprintable such as Control, Shift, Alt, BackSpace, etc.


The keypress event is fired when a key is pressed down and that key normally produces a character value



Try keydown instead of keypress.

The keyboard events occur in this order: keydown, keyup, keypress

The problem with backspace probably is, that the browser will navigate back on keyup and thus your page will not see the keypress event.


Something I wrote up incase anyone comes across an issue with people hitting backspace while thinking they are in a form field

window.addEventListener("keydown", function(e){
     * keyCode: 8
     * keyIdentifier: "U+0008"
    if(e.keyCode === 8 && document.activeElement !== 'text') {
        alert('Prevent page from going back');

My numeric control:

function CheckNumeric(event) {
    var _key = (window.Event) ? event.which : event.keyCode;
    if (_key > 95 && _key < 106) {
        return true;
    else if (_key > 47 && _key < 58) {
        return true;
    else {
        return false;

<input type="text" onkeydown="return CheckNumerick(event);" />

try it

BackSpace key code is 8


event.key === "Backspace"

More recent and much cleaner: use event.key. No more arbitrary number codes!

note.addEventListener('keydown', function(event) {
    const key = event.key; // const {key} = event; ES6+
    if (key === "Backspace") {
        // Do something

Mozilla Docs

Supported Browsers


Use one of keyup / keydown / beforeinput events instead.

based on this reference, keypress is deprecated and no longer recommended.

The keypress event is fired when a key that produces a character value is pressed down. Examples of keys that produce a character value are alphabetic, numeric, and punctuation keys. Examples of keys that don't produce a character value are modifier keys such as Alt, Shift, Ctrl, or Meta.

if you use "beforeinput" be careful about it's Browser compatibility. the difference between "beforeinput" and the other two is that "beforeinput" is fired when input value is about to changed, so with characters that can't change the input value, it is not fired (e.g shift, ctr ,alt).

I had the same problem and by using keyup it was solved.


The keypress event might be different across browsers.

I created a Jsfiddle to compare keyboard events (using the JQuery shortcuts) on Chrome and Firefox. Depending on the browser you're using a keypress event will be triggered or not -- backspace will trigger keydown/keypress/keyup on Firefox but only keydown/keyup on Chrome.

Single keyclick events triggered

on Chrome

  • keydown/keypress/keyup when browser registers a keyboard input (keypress is fired)

  • keydown/keyup if no keyboard input (tested with alt, shift, backspace, arrow keys)

  • keydown only for tab?

on Firefox

  • keydown/keypress/keyup when browser registers a keyboard input but also for backspace, arrow keys, tab (so here keypress is fired even with no input)

  • keydown/keyup for alt, shift

This shouldn't be surprising because according to

Note: as the keypress event isn't covered by any official specification, the actual behavior encountered when using it may differ across browsers, browser versions, and platforms.

The use of the keypress event type is deprecated by W3C (

The keypress event type is defined in this specification for reference and completeness, but this specification deprecates the use of this event type. When in editing contexts, authors can subscribe to the beforeinput event instead.

Finally, to answer your question, you should use keyup or keydown to detect a backspace across Firefox and Chrome.

Try it out on here:

$(".inputTxt").bind("keypress keyup keydown", function (event) {
    var evtType = event.type;
    var eWhich = event.which;
    var echarCode = event.charCode;
    var ekeyCode = event.keyCode;

    switch (evtType) {
        case 'keypress':
            $("#log").html($("#log").html() + "<b>" + evtType + "</b>" + " keycode: " + ekeyCode + " charcode: " + echarCode + " which: " + eWhich + "<br>");
        case 'keyup':
            $("#log").html($("#log").html() + "<b>" + evtType + "</b>" + " keycode: " + ekeyCode + " charcode: " + echarCode + " which: " + eWhich + "<p>");
        case 'keydown':
            $("#log").html($("#log").html() + "<b>" + evtType + "</b>" + " keycode: " + ekeyCode + " charcode: " + echarCode + " which: " + eWhich + "<br>");
<script src=""></script>
<input class="inputTxt" type="text" />
<div id="log"></div>


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