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Control Website With Keyboard Shortcuts




Mousetrap is a JavaScript library for handling keyboard shortcuts developed by Craig Campbell. It is a small standalone 4kb file with no external dependencies that can be easily integrated with your Jekyll website on Github pages. That’s what I’ve done here and with a bit of extra code I’ve added navigation for all the sections on this website. It works flawlessly!

How To

Step 1 - Prerequisites

Get both of the following from the author’s website:

  • Mousetrap - Download the minified version from here.
  • Bind Dictionary - Handy plugin that allows you to bind multiple key events in a single call.

Add the two scripts to your website and create a third one for your code:

<!-- load mousetrap -->
<script type="text/javascript" src="/assets/scripts/mousetrap.min.js">

<!-- load mousetrap bind dictionary plugin -->
<script type="text/javascript" src="/assets/scripts/mousetrap-bind-dictionary.min.js">

<!-- load custom keyboard shortcuts -->
<script type="text/javascript" src="/assets/scripts/keyboard.js"> 

Step 2 - Add navigation code

This is very straight-forward. I’ve the following mnemonics: g h - Go Home, g b - Go Blog, etc.

// Bind keys
  'g h': function() { window.location.href = "/"; },
  'g b': function() { window.location.href = "/blog"; },
  'g c': function() { window.location.href = "/cheat-sheets"; },
  'g t': function() { window.location.href = "/tips"; },
  'g a': function() { window.location.href = "/about"; },

Navigate to next/previous post

You can also navigate between posts or elements from a custom collection. Since I already had links pointing to the previous and next entries, it was just a matter of selecting them from JS:

function blogNav(key) {
  if ( key === 'h' ) {
    var navPrev = document.querySelectorAll(".PageNavigation .prev")
    window.location.href = navPrev[0].href;
  } else if (key === 'l' ) {
    var navNext = document.querySelectorAll(".PageNavigation .next")
    window.location.href = navNext[0].href;

To make keyboard navigation possible within all the sections of the website, I’ve added shortcuts to cycle through post lists and categories entries, Vim-style using h/j/k/l. Developer Tools was really useful to test the JavaScript code and understand the structure of the website and how to locate list elements:

// Navigate previous/next entry VIM style
function entriesNav(key) {
  var mainContent = document.getElementById("main_content");
  var listEntries = [];
  if (document.getElementById("archives")) {
    var lists = mainContent.getElementsByTagName("ul");
    for (var i=0; i<lists.length; i++){
      var currListEntries = [][i].getElementsByTagName("li")); 

      for (var j=0; j<currListEntries.length; j++) {
  } else {
    var currentList = mainContent.getElementsByTagName("ul")[0];
    listEntries = []"li"));

  var currentClass = mainContent.getElementsByTagName("ul")[0].className;
  var idx = -1;
  var currentfocus = document.activeElement; 

  // Get current post index
  if ( currentfocus.parentElement.parentElement) {
    if ( currentfocus.parentElement.parentElement.className === currentClass ) {
      idx = listEntries.indexOf(currentfocus.parentElement)

  // Adjust post index
  if ( key === 'j' && idx < listEntries.length - 1 ) {
  } else if (key === 'k' && idx > 0 ) {

  // Move focus to the link

Bonus - Overlay help window

You might also want to add a nice overlay window with the shortcuts. I’m not going to include any more code here. Again, Developer Tools is amazing, check the source of the main Blog page :)