Preventing backspace from navigating back in all the browsers

One of the requirements which you may face is preventing the backspace key from navigating back in the browser. This requirement can be achieved by listening on the keyboard keys in the browser and acting when the backspace key is pressed under the condition that the mouse cursor is NOT inside an input or a text area elements. Actually, you have to take care of the IE broken event model when you are implementing this feature. for example, the event.stopPropagation() method is not working in IE, adding to this, you have to get the keycode from the window.event not from the passed event object to the event handler.

I wrote the following code which works on all the common browsers (IE, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox) perfectly, and I wish it can be useful for you:

document.onkeydown = function (event) {
	if (!event) { /* This will happen in IE */
		event = window.event;
	var keyCode = event.keyCode;
	if (keyCode == 8 &&
		(( || event.srcElement).tagName != "TEXTAREA") && 
		(( || event.srcElement).tagName != "INPUT")) { 
		if (navigator.userAgent.toLowerCase().indexOf("msie") == -1) {
		} else {
			event.returnValue = false;
		return false;

Using this code inside a <script> tag of the HTML <body> element can do this job for you.

This entry was posted in JavaScript, Web 2.0 and tagged , , , , , , , , , by Hazem Saleh. Bookmark the permalink.

About Hazem Saleh

Hazem Saleh has more than eleven years of experience in Cloud, Mobile and Open Source technologies. He worked as a software engineer, technical leader, application architect, and technical consultant for many clients around the world. He is an Apache PMC (Project Management Committee) member and a person who spent many years of his life writing open source software. Beside being the author of the "JavaScript Unit Testing" book, "JavaScript Mobile Application Development" book, "Pro JSF and HTML5" book and the co-author of the "Definitive guide to Apache MyFaces" book, Hazem is also an author of many technical articles, a developerWorks contributing author and a technical speaker in both local and international conferences such as ApacheCon North America, Geecon, JavaLand, JSFDays, CON-FESS Vienna and JavaOne. Hazem is an XIBMer, he worked in IBM for ten years. Now, He is working for Nickelodeon New York as a Mobile Architect. He is also an OpenGroup Master Certified Specialist.

One thought on “Preventing backspace from navigating back in all the browsers

  1. Great code! I was googling the solution for this since 2 hours and here I got the solution. Thanks
    Great job guyz..

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