Handle key presses example

With this simple tutorial we are going to see how to implement a simple key listener for your Java Desktop Application. This is a very nice tool if your application offers rich keyboard activity to the user.

In short, in order to implement a simple key listener in Java, one should perform these steps:

  • Create a new KeyAdapter instance.
  • Override the keyPressed method to customize the handling of that specific event. Now every time the user presses a key this method will be launched.
  • Use KeyEvent.getKeyChar() and KeyEvent.getKeyCode() to find out which key the user pressed.

Let’s take a look at the code snippet that follows:

package com.javacodegeeks.snippets.desktop;

import java.awt.BorderLayout;
import java.awt.Component;
import java.awt.Frame;
import java.awt.TextArea;
import java.awt.event.KeyAdapter;
import java.awt.event.KeyEvent;

public class KeyListener {

  public static void main(String[] args) {

// Create frame with specific title

Frame frame = new Frame("Example Frame");

// Create a component to add to the frame; in this case a text area with sample text

Component textArea = new TextArea("You pressed []: n");

textArea.addKeyListener(new KeyAdapter() {

	  public void keyPressed(KeyEvent evt) {

TextArea source = (TextArea)evt.getSource();

source.setText("You pressed [" + evt.getKeyText(evt.getKeyCode()) +"] : ");


// Add the components to the frame; by default, the frame has a border layout

frame.add(textArea, BorderLayout.NORTH);

// Show the frame

int width = 300;

int height = 300;

frame.setSize(width, height);




This was an example on how to handle key presses in Java.

Ilias Tsagklis

Ilias is a software developer turned online entrepreneur. He is co-founder and Executive Editor at Java Code Geeks.
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Back to top button