Set default action for Enter key

Is there a way to make a button click the default action when the Enter key is pressed on the keyboard regardless of what element currently has focus? More likely, I would want this to apply when any element in the group contain the default button has focus.

Many times, with a data entry form, the user shouldn’t need to fill out every input before saving the current thing. It would be great if the user could press Enter anytime (except in a multi-line input). This could save a lot of senseless mousing around.


I don’t know whether this is possible or not. I suspect it is.

One key challenge though is that you’d 1) be breaking a normal internet convention which will be confusing to users and 2) you’d have to explain how your approach works to users because they wouldn’t know this is the actual behavior of your site, 3) even after an explanation they’d have to change their habits which are reinforced by 99% of other sites on the internet.

So, while it might be better for you site if all of your users could quickly learn this and change their habit, I strongly suspect that simply having to explain it to them is more costly than any benefit that they could accrue. Furthermore, most user-experience professionals would say that the best sites get out of the way of users and don’t require any explanation – this would go in exactly the opposite direction.

As such, I strongly encourage you to stick with the norms of the web. I’m pretty sure your users don’t want to have to use your site differently than the rest of the internet. And, it’s almost definitely not worth your time and effort to make your site work differently than users will naturally assume it works.

@sridharan.s, Thanks for your thoughtful reply,

Good news:
Explanation is easy: While filling out a form, whenever you’re done, press the Enter key and your stuff will be saved to the database. (minor exceptions for entering data in a multi-line input or while selecting data from a dropdown.) If there are other exceptions, I will learn them. Simply this: if you press the Enter key it will act appropriately in an element that uses the Enter key for its normal and understandable function. When you are not in such an element, Enter should have no purpose other than to complete the transaction.

Better news:
Nobody has to change how they currently behave. They will still have the option of mousing to the save/add/update button and clicking. They just have a new and faster way of doing things. If they use it, they will save time. If they don’t, life goes on as per the norm.
This doesn’t depend on stopping what you’re currently accustomed to doing. It is just a new and faster option.

Best news of all:
This approach gets out of the way of the user. It allows the user to focus on what’s on the screen, keep their fingers on the keyboard and get the work done without messing around with a mouse when it is not necessary.

Bad news:
Norms of the web are very much the lowest common denominator. They frequently get in the way of the user, rather than get out of the way as is the prescribed philosophy of user experience.
Mousing around is not natural when fingers are naturally on the keyboard.
Mousing around is a crutch that was popularized by development of web applications in an environment (the browser) that didn’t have any way of supporting native response to the hardware that was sitting in front of the user.
Because the browser and web standards were so crude from the beginning, application norms were made as low and crude as possible.

As in many cases, the lowest common denominator is not at all the best possible, or a desirable solution.

It would be far better for user experience professionals to recognize better user experiences than the norm, and press technology developers to provide the means of implementing stellar user experiences. It is fundamentally wrong for user experience professionals to present a case for adhering to a norm that is clearly sub-optimal.

I am strongly opposed to the norm of forcing users to reach for the mouse when it would be most natural to keep fingers on the keyboard and use one of a few basic keys or key groups:

Character keys
including shift, alt and ctrl (command) combinations

Page Up, Page Down, etc.
(including shift, alt and ctrl (command?) combinations

Call these whatever makes sense for you:

to complete . . .
a line, selection or form.

Esc (escape)
as its name implies, it should be the safest key to use at any time of confusion.

More bad news:
With the web and browsers and HTML, user experience took a giant stumble into the dark ages and lost control of the single most powerful, universal user interface tool computers have - the keyboard. The norm became substandard.

W3C didn’t solve the problem. Apparently, getting out of the way of the user isn’t the primary consideration of those who define the underlying technology.

User experience professionals who tout the norm as some kind of gold standard are making a mockery of the name “professional.” True professionals would be yelling from the mountain tops that limitations placed on superior user experience must be remedied. Using the mouse as a crutch because it’s hard to properly support the keyboard with web technology is unprofessional at best.

Blindly adhering to the norm that was developed out of a crippled technology is truly getting in the way of the user. This is especially true if the user comes to the web from a position of skill with native computer applications.

I appreciate that you wrote what you did.

What I just wrote is not a diatribe directed toward you. I am not flaming. It is simply a short manifesto about how user experience can and should be improved.

The norm should never be held up as something to be aspired to, especially when the norm is clearly a step backward from what was possible before technological limitations prevented building great user experiences that was possible with native computer applications.

Laurence Hansen

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Okay. Sounds like you’ve more than thought it through. Often, this type of request is headed for disaster. Doesn’t seem to be the case here.

I believe there are ways to set-up keyboard shortcuts for certain actions in Bubble. Here’s a post that describes one approach. I haven’t done this myself, so don’t really know the constraints / limitations.

Best of luck!

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I have built a plugin that does this perfectly… You can scope the keybindings or even better you can scope them to the whole page and pickup on the trigger event to perform the action you want. if you create a binding like ctrl+shift+1 it will require those keys to be held or you can 7,0,7,0 meaning a user types the binding one key at a time like a code to activate the event.

so binding key to the whole page:

Then Picking up the event:

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Thanks, Scott.

I will be cautions. Planning to have a small Alpha test group use the app and discuss ux and other concerns before even considering taking it to market.

What’s exciting for me is that Bubble is allowing me to build a serious app at amazing speed. If I can’t get the Enter key to work the way I want, it’s not a deal breaker at all.


Thanks, Jarrad. I’ll take a look.

We’ve had a lot of success running usability sessions with They source people to record their screen and mic while following a test script that you write up. It costs $1 per minute or recorded time, so if you have 5 people use it for 5 mins then it’s $25.

We run these one nearly all of our pages / features before we release. Often use them early in the process too so that we can quickly get feedback on what works / doesn’t. The low price makes it really easy to run a lot of them and continue to learn and iterate.

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Great! Thanks for the tip.

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