HTML / HTML Attributes

HTML Accesskey Attribute

Oct 12, 2022
3 min read
HTML accesskey Attribute

Definition

The accesskey Attribute allows you to specify a keyboard shortcut to focus or activate a specific element.

Applicable Elements

The accesskey attribute is a Global Attribute, meaning it can be used with all HTML Elements.

HTML accesskey Global Attribute

Syntax

<a href="https://www.thewebmaster.com/" accesskey="h">Homepage</a>

Usage

  • The accesskey attribute must be a single character that a keyboard can generate with a single key-press. It includes accented, and other non-alphabet characters
  • You can specify multiple accesskeys separated by a space. For example, you could specify s for desktop users, and 0 for mobile users that use a numeric keypad. The browser will automatically choose the appropriate one.

There are a few issues with using access keys:

  • An accesskey should be used only with careful consideration. It can conflict with the system, or other browser shortcuts, and assistive technologies such as screen readers.
  • You should ensure any shortcut keys assigned are available on all international keyboard variants.
  • You should make sure users are aware of the existence of any accesskey assignments, so they are not confused if they inadvertently activate them.
  • Using a number as an accesskey may not be clear for users with cognitive issues.

The activation of the accesskey attribute depends on your browser, and operating system. See table below:

WindowsLinuxMac
FirefoxAlt + Shift + keyOn Firefox 57 or newer: Control + Option + key or Control + Alt + key
On Firefox 14 or newer: Control + Alt + key
On Firefox 13 or older: Control + key
Internet ExplorerAlt + key
Alt + Shift + key
N/A
EdgeN/AControl + Option + key
Control + Option + Shift + key
Google ChromeAlt + key
SafariN/A
Opera 15+Alt + keyControl + Alt + key
Opera 12Shift + Esc opens a contents list. You can choose an item from the list by pressing key

Values

Values can include:

  • A single printable character that a keyboard can generate with a single keypress. It must be one Unicode code point in length.

Examples

The following example allows you to activate a hyperlink with an accesskey. On Windows using Chrome, for example, you would press alt + h. See table above for other browsers \ operating systems.

<a href="https://www.thewebmaster.com/" accesskey="h">Homepage</a>

The following example assigns two access keys; s and 0. The user agent will choose the most appropriate depending on the device used.

<form action="/search">
 <label>Search: <input type="search" name="name" accesskey="s 0"></label>
 <input type="submit">
</form>

Specification

The accesskey HTML specification for the <accept-charset> element is as follows:

Browser Support

The accesskey attribute has the following browser support:

Desktop

ChromeEdgeFirefoxIEOperaSafari
accesskeyYesYesYesYesYesYes

Mobile

Android WebviewChrome AndroidFirefox AndroidOpera AndroidiOS SafariSamsung Internet
accesskeyYesYesYesYesYesYes