Testing For Delete Key on Keyboard Up Event

How do I determine whether the delete key was released during a keyboard up event?

I see documentation on all the modifier keys, and it’s obvious how to test for the normal printable characters, but how does one test for the delete key?

Thank you,


It is ASCII character 8, with keyboard code 51 (decimal) or 33 (hex)

Ah, of course. The character attribute of the event can be compared to an ascii value. How silly of me.

Thank you!

I’m now stumped as to how to detect a left/right arrow key press within one-column table view, so I can switch to another table view without the user’s fingers leaving the arrow keys.

Is it possible to compare a key event to an arrow key press? If so, what value do you use for the arrow keys?

Beyond that, is it possible to catch such an event in a table view that’s in a scroll view?

Left arrow is ASCII 28, Right arrow is 29, Up is 30, Down is 31

PS: I use a little application called “Full Key Codes” to get these - very handy. Get it here.


Hmm. That’s what I thought. Yet, the code below doesn’t respond to the arrow key, although delete and space work fine. I assumed I had the wrong ASCII values for the arrow keys, but apparently there’s some other problem. Have you any idea why the code below doesn’t work?

 keyboard up theObject event theEvent
	if the name of theObject is "secondTableView" then
		if character of theEvent is equal to (ASCII character 8) then
		end if
		if character of theEvent is equal to (ASCII character 28) then
			display dialog "left arrow"
		end if
		if character of theEvent is equal to (ASCII character 32) then
                end if
	end if
end keyboard up

Thank you for your help,


PS: Thank you also for the pointer to the code utility. BTW, I notice you originally mentioned key codes, but the documentation says those are device-dependent and suggests they are not to be used. Is the documentation wrong as usual, and all keyboards use the same codes?

Apparently they do not all use the same codes - Laptops are different than desktop keyboards in ways I don’t know.

Vis-a-vis your problem, however, have you tried just using “Left Arrow” in place of (ASCII character 28)? When I run Jon’s Commands’ “keys pressed” command (in his OSAXen), it just returns “Left Arrow”.

Another possibilty is that it requires the Unicode Character (though I don’t know how to use that) which is 2190 for a left arrow and 2192 for a right arrow.

You get to see them this way (which toggles the server)

tell application "System Events"
	if exists process "CharPaletteServer" then
		do shell script "killall CharPaletteServer"
		tell application "CharPaletteServer" to activate
	end if
end tell


I don’t think you can do that in a table view. You can detect arrow keys in a browser, but you can’t use a data source.


Thanks for the help, Adam and Kel. It looks like I’ll have to try some other way to accomplish this, or just erase the feature from my list.

In the mean time, I’m dealing with random signal 11’s on launch of my app now. No reason that I can discern. Plus, my custom menu items become disabled after two uses, even though I have no code at all relating to disabling them in my app. Looks like I’d better head over to the 10.4.3 breakage section.

Hi Jacques,

Ransom changed it to include the arrow keys also.


Hi Jacques,

It must be the old version I’m using. I tried getting the character (arrow key) on key down and it wouldn’t work.


Hi Jacques,

That wouldn’t work right because the “?” is ascii 63 also. I think why they did this is because you use the arrow keys to edit text in the table cell.


Just a follow-up for my post above regarding the random crashing.

I created a new project, re-created the UI elements in the nib, then copied my code, help files, icons, etc. over and made the necessary changes to the project settings. That seems to have fixed the random crashing problem. But, since it was random, I’ll just have to wait a few days to find out if it’s really fixed.