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The default button on enter on an ASP.NET form

I haven't really thought about this in a long time, but after searching a bit and finding some really complex solutions, I figured out a way to fire a "click" based on pressing enter in a text field. It works OK in IE and Firefox, which is good enough for me, and it only requires one line.

EmailTextBox.Attributes.Add("onKeyPress", "javascript:if (event.keyCode == 13) __doPostBack('" + LoginButton.UniqueID + "','')");

"EmailTextBox" is as you might suspect a text box control, while "LoginButton" is a link button. All it does is render an extra attribute in the rendered tag that checks for a key press, and if it's the enter key, it fires ASP.NET's __doPostBack method with the unique ID of the button that you want to virtually press. That in turn fires off whatever server-side event handlers you've wired up. You could pass in the eventargument as the second parameter in that Javascript if you wanted to.

I can't understand why this wasn't included somewhere in v2. They did offer a default button for the entire form, but I think that only works if you have actual buttons (I use LinkButtons almost exclusively). You could actually wire up any control name here if you wanted.
Posted: Jul 26 2005, 03:25 PM by Jeff | with 61 comment(s) |
Filed under:


Erik Porter said:

We use this in our apps all the time. Very handy! Even with regular buttons, there's still the problem of which one actually gets clicked when you have more than one in your form. By default it just has to do with whichever button is first on the page. It would be nice if a feature in 2.0 allowed you to specify default buttons for both the button and linkbutton. Have you posted anything on Product Feedback about it?
# July 26, 2005 3:40 PM

Jeff said:

I don't remember. Maybe? I haven't thought this out enough to know what other implications there might be, such as those if you plant this thing inside a grid or something.
# July 26, 2005 3:41 PM said:

In ASP.NET V2 you can drive the enter behavior on any focus point on a page. You set this either on the <form> tag or by wrapping regions in an <asp:panel> and then setting the default button property on those container controls (the asp:panel approach is how you can have multiple default buttons all over the page). If the focus is inside that region and enter is hit, the container control will cause the right post-back control to fire.

Hope this helps,

# July 26, 2005 5:31 PM

Erik Porter said:

That's awesome, Scott...thanks! :)
# July 26, 2005 5:34 PM

Matt Berther said:


I use this technique that I posted about a while back...

Works everytime for me.
# July 26, 2005 6:09 PM

Jeff said:

Matt: That solution isn't going to work if different text fields should activate different buttons.

Scott: Good idea, but that only works with buttons, right? LinkButtons no?
# July 26, 2005 9:28 PM

John Walker said:

I've been using a cool free control from MetaBuilders called DefaultButtons for my 1.1 apps. Here's the URL...

It makes the page a bit bigger because it injects some javascript to the client, but it has worked flawlessly for me. Works with link buttons too. Highly recommended.

# July 27, 2005 1:01 AM

QWorld said:

Walker, your control is nice, but it seems still a little bit unperfect, for example, when I foucs on the second textbox and hit enter, Smack1 is foucsed and pressed on the page, althrough the label show Smack2 is fired
# July 27, 2005 6:45 AM

mario said:

What happens if you have more than one textbox in the form.Then it doesn`t see the desired button but the first one in the form.How can I rounf this problem?
# August 24, 2005 9:33 AM

Jeff said:

Sure it does. You set each TextBox to fire the right postback event as described above.
# August 24, 2005 10:02 AM

Tarek El-Mallah said:

Scott...thanks! :)

the panel solve the problem.

# August 7, 2006 4:04 AM

siva said:


# August 11, 2006 3:09 AM

Michael said:

I'm using LinkButton almost exclusively as well. Unfortunately Scott's suggestion only works in IE and not Firefox because there doesn't seem to be a Click() function on HTMLAnchorElement (this is what LinkButton are rendered as). Sadly looking at the W3C docs it looks like it isn't a requirement. Only HTMLInputElement is required to have that function.

# October 2, 2006 9:53 AM

Koob said:

Thanks Scott. But does not work with LinkButton and ImageButton (see Maybe provide some standard scripting in the next .Net version?

# October 27, 2006 10:41 AM

Jeff said:

First off, you don't need to check to see if a script is registered. Second, you're not wiring up anything to an alert box here. You're registering a script fragment that will execute when the page is loaded. You're not calling a function.

# November 24, 2006 10:35 AM

SImon said:

Thanks Jeff.

I took out the alert box and just simply wrote:

response.write("Got Here")

when I click the button the data gets added and Got Here gets written.

when I hit the enter key the data gets added but the "Got Here" doesn't get written.

I'm baffled - any ideas?



# November 24, 2006 11:29 AM

John said:

Thanks Scott, wrapping my second "form" in the panel and setting the default button did the trick.  Thanks for the post, works great!

# December 1, 2006 9:31 PM

Khalid said:

actually I was thinking of this solution but I did not have time to try it.

Then I searched the internet to find some thing fast and this is it.

Don't worry; all the rights are for you :)

# December 4, 2006 10:46 AM

Muhammad Kashif Zia said:

After reading above i have made something like below for me just like window default button. Working fine but need to test more.

<form id="Form1" method="post" runat="server" onkeydown="BLOCKED SCRIPTif (window.event.keyCode == 13 && window.event.srcElement.type != 'submit'){__doPostBack('SearchCriteriaButton');return false;}">

# December 18, 2006 12:45 PM

JD said:

Should this code work for 1.1 too ?



# February 20, 2007 11:46 PM

Jared said:

I've been looking something that does that for ages. Thanks alot!

# February 21, 2007 8:16 PM

Kevin said:

Hi All,

Great solutions overall, however I can't seem to apply the theory to buttons which are not directly accessible in the code behind (such as buttons within templates of FormViews where a FindControl method is needed to access the control).

Here's a short snippet from the code behind:

Button btn = (Button)formView1.FindControl("btnUpdate");

Panel1.DefaultButton = btn.UniqueID;

I get an exception:

The DefaultButton of 'Panel1' must be the ID of a control of type IButtonControl.

I think the problem is Panel1 cannot find the button because it is nested in a template within the formview (i.e. the controls are roughly designed as:

<asp:Panel id="Panel1" ... >

 <asp:FormView ID="formView1" ... >



      <asp:Button id="btnUpdate" ... />





If anyone has a solution for setting buttons within templates as default please post!



# April 29, 2007 12:02 PM

Mike said:

Kevin: the DefaultButton property is of type string, so you need to set it to the UniqueID property of the control.

# June 11, 2007 6:49 AM

Louis De Grazia said:

I used this in a user control and it worked fine. Thank you so much!

Protected Sub Page_Load(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles Me.Load

       TextBox1.Attributes.Add("onKeyPress", "javascript:if (event.keyCode == 13) __doPostBack('" + btnGo.UniqueID + "','')")

   End Sub

# June 25, 2007 3:50 PM

Nimesh Khatri said:

If there were multiple buttons on the page then the page could end-up reloaded a couple of times (call page_load multiple times). Returning false avoids the extra reload.

The following change fixes this problem.

EmailTextBox.Attributes.Add("onKeyPress", "javascript:if (event.keyCode == 13) {__doPostBack('" + LoginButton.UniqueID + "',''); return false);");

# June 26, 2007 6:12 PM

Mike said:

You know what could solve all this? Having multiple forms on your page. Too bad you usually have the complete page in a form and nested forms are not allowed in HTML.

# July 30, 2007 10:57 AM

alex said:

This doesn't sit well with me but it definitely does the trick for FormViews with templates. Add a panel into each template and set the DefaultButton value there.


  <asp:Panel runat="server" ID="pnlEdit" DefaultButton="btnUpdate">



  <asp:Panel runat="server" ID="pnlEdit" DefaultButton="btnInsert">


# August 8, 2007 9:42 AM

mepis said:

I would use:

this.Form.DefaultButton = LoginButton.UniqueID;

# August 14, 2007 3:52 PM

Richard said:

Note that if you are using this method in a user control you must use ClientID instead of UniqueID.

# September 3, 2007 7:09 PM

Dave said:

I was looking for similar problem but the stated solution did not work.

My scenario:

2 textboxes

3 buttons

My solution:

Page.Form.DefaultButton = btnSubmit.UniqueID

# September 19, 2007 12:58 PM

Tyler Thompson said:

Making a custom linkbutton server control from this website worked great for me in both IE and Firefox:

# September 27, 2007 12:54 PM

Dave Newman said:

If you want to fix this problem without having a lot of extra markup, try this:

# October 24, 2007 8:49 PM

devmet said:

Thanks. This is great !

# January 21, 2008 11:09 AM

Ian said:

Josh, thanks for that 1 textbox bug find.  I was having trouble with a button not doing anything on return.  I added a second textbox, as you suggested, and it works now.

# March 11, 2008 5:15 PM

droyad said:

Thanks for the info, it helped my come up with a slightly different solution:

# March 31, 2008 8:04 PM

DugFmJamul said:

Thanks Jeff,

I have beed searching for days and your method seems to work just fine for me.

Thanks again.

# April 4, 2008 5:46 PM

Ian Bowyer said:

Another option is to put the controls in a panel and set the DefaultButton property to the button.

<asp:Panel ID="Panel1" runat="server" DefaultButton="Button1">

  <asp:TextBox ID="TextBox1" runat="server" />

  <asp:Button ID="Button1" runat="server" Text="Button" />


# June 5, 2008 4:06 AM

Slappy said:

I have a slightly different but related problem.

I want to suppress the default submit behavior when the enter key is hit. Limiting this to an element would be a bonus. Any ideas or pointers?

# July 4, 2008 2:23 AM

jonsch said:

holy crap Scott, you're like the supreme guru.  Actually, my opinion is bias dude, I've read tons of your books and watched a good number of your videos.

Keep kickin' arse and takin' names, as I'm sure the internet community truly appreciates it, I know I do!



# July 21, 2008 4:55 PM

Dawiid said:

Damn Scott, you just lifted a stone of my chest thank you for sharing your knowlege! You da' man! :o)

# August 8, 2008 9:07 AM

Jake H. said:

Thanks for the simple, effective, cross-browser solution Jeff!  It works great in IE, Firefox, and Chrome.  You just saved millions of our users (and more importantly us developers that test the site constantly) much hassle.  Thanks again!

# September 11, 2008 12:08 PM

Barry said:

I have been trying to make this work for a couple of hours and cannot get it working - Am I missing something (Using BN Net Framework 1.1)

Using two buttons and trying to get textbox1 to initiate a button2 response. Keeps going to button1 response. See Code Below:

Private Sub Page_Load(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles MyBase.Load

TextBox1.Attributes.Add(”onKeyPress”, “javascript:if (event.keyCode == 13) __doPostBack(’” + Button2.UniqueID + “‘,”)”)

End Sub

Private Sub Button1_Click(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles Button1.Click

Label1.Text = “button 1 clicked”

End Sub

Private Sub Button2_Click(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles Button2.Click

Label1.Text = “Button 2 clicked”

End Sub

Thanks Barry

# October 9, 2008 7:36 PM

Greyman said:

Sweet!  Such elegant solution.  So simple to implement and very efficient, yet not obvious.  This tweak to my forms has really been appreciated.

# October 14, 2008 11:43 PM

jcargilo said:

Hey Jeff, I've been using your method since I discovered it a while ago.  I recently ran into an issue (surprised I hadn't earlier) in that the __doPostBack method is bypassing client validation (using ASP.NET validation controls).  While looking around for a more elegant solution, I figure it simply had to do with adding some code to your method to check for client validation before posting back.  Following PLBlum's advice at:

Using your example above, I modifed your method as follows:

EmailTextBox.Attributes.Add("onKeyPress", "javascript:if(event.keyCode == 13){ if(Page_ClientValidate('" + LoginButton.ValidationGroup + "')){__doPostBack('" + LoginButton.UniqueID + "','')}}");

This little snippet will now check client validation (and the validation group if you're doing multiple forms on one page) before processing the Default Button Enter Key press.

Hope that helps anyone else who might have discovered this.  Thanks for the starting code, however, it's been excellent!

# February 2, 2009 4:12 PM

Jeepie said:

Thanks for the tip on setting the Default button on a panel, saves a lot of time :-)

# February 11, 2009 8:23 AM

Kris Haney said:

You can just use this control as you would a normal panel and it works with LinkButtons as well.

public class DefaultButtonPanel : Panel


  protected override void OnLoad(EventArgs e)


     if (DefaultButton != "")


        LinkButton btn = FindControl(DefaultButton) as LinkButton;

        if (btn != null)


           Button defaultButton = new Button();

           defaultButton.ID = btn.ID + "_Default";

           defaultButton.Text = " ";

           defaultButton.Style.Add("display", "none");

           PostBackOptions p = new PostBackOptions(btn, "", null, false, true, true, true, true, btn.ValidationGroup);

           defaultButton.OnClientClick = Page.ClientScript.GetPostBackEventReference(p) + "; return false;";


           DefaultButton = defaultButton.ID;






# May 6, 2009 3:17 PM

Kris Haney said:

Oh and it works with validation groups.  You could tweak that PostBackOptions object to include postback url, etc, but I didn't need it.

# May 6, 2009 3:21 PM

SNRaj said:

protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)


Page.Form.DefaultButton = <Control>.UniqueID;


Note: <Control> may be button, imagebutton

# June 22, 2009 9:53 AM

John said:

Dude, you are the MAN!  Thanks for the solution.

# August 21, 2009 4:42 PM

Greenhacks said:


Page.Form.DefaultButton = <Control>.UniqueID;

That worked like a charm for me.

Thanks a lot.

# November 29, 2009 1:25 PM

big fan said:

this is great!

# January 3, 2010 10:06 PM

Mohammad Gdeisat said:

Your help is much appreciated. Thanks!

# February 3, 2010 5:41 AM

msnyder0 said:

Thanks for posting this.

# March 2, 2010 1:12 PM

sermormo said:

Thanks for this post..

# April 23, 2010 5:45 PM

ts said:

For me the best solution is to use the Panel

<asp:Panel ID="formPanel" DefaultButton="SearchButton" runat="server">

# June 8, 2010 8:09 AM

ake said:

thx for solution.  you save my time.

# September 10, 2010 12:27 AM

Carlo said:

This solution is still very good, tried it today on Asp.Net 4.0 and it works very well. Thanx!

I had to add some code to use it inside an <asp:Login> element.

Code example:


TextBox Password =(TextBox)Login1.FindControl("Password");

LinkButton ButtonLogin = (LinkButton) Login1.FindControl("ButtonLogin");

Password.Attributes.Add("onKeyPress", "javascript:if (event.keyCode == 13) __doPostBack('" + ButtonLogin.UniqueID + "','')");


# December 14, 2010 11:36 AM

gs said:

I used this and works fine in IE and FF and with LinkButton. Uses jQuery.

$('#<%=txtEmail.ClientID %>').keypress(function(e){




                       <%=this.postbackstr %>




Thanks to everyone who contributed.

# August 31, 2011 9:13 PM

Dimitry Dabady said:

Thank you so much Jeff. It works very well. You make me save a lot of time.

Keep the good work !!

# September 29, 2011 7:50 PM

shinypriya said:

I need help in this c#

when i click button 1 it opens one pdf with the nameddestination...

when i click button 2 it opens in another pdf with the namedestination...

i want to open the different name destination in opne pdf when i click the button...

example... button 1 should open nameddestination 4

                button 2 should open nameddestination 7

but with this code.. the 2 nameddestination open in "2" pdf..

i want to open it in "1" pdf.. can you please help me...

Plz.... Desperate......Desperate.....

******this is my code*******

using System;

using System.Collections.Generic;

using System.ComponentModel;

using System.Data;

using System.Drawing;

using System.Linq;

using System.Text;

using System.Windows.Forms;

namespace button_click_pdf_2


   public partial class Form1 : Form


       public Form1()




       private void button1_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)


              System.Diagnostics.Process myProcess = new System.Diagnostics.Process();

              myProcess.StartInfo.FileName = "AcroRd32.exe";

              myProcess.StartInfo.Arguments = " /n /A \"nameddest=nameddest\" C:\\temp\\file.pdf\"";



       private void button2_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)


           System.Diagnostics.Process myProcess = new System.Diagnostics.Process();

           myProcess.StartInfo.FileName = "AcroRd32.exe";

           myProcess.StartInfo.Arguments = "/n /A \"nameddest=nameddest:\" C:\\temp\\file.pdf\"";





# March 15, 2012 3:33 PM

JasonTEPOORTEN said:

Thanks for the assistance everyone.

The method of setting the DefaultButton="btnMethod" for a "<asp:Panel" worked for me.

# January 31, 2013 1:22 AM
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