A few days ago, I was trying to figure out what to do about a user control that had multiple fieldsets that needed different default buttons triggered when the enter key was pressed on the page… Too bad the first button on the page is the default, by default! Since there was ~4 different forms that each had their own button, I came up with a hard-coded solution that solved the problem. Somebody suggested I make a jQuery Plug-In, so I tweaked the code a bit more and came up with the following plug-in below (I don’t think this qualifies as anything amazing, but it for the simpleton like me, it has a place).

A few examples on how to set the default to a field/form/etc…

1. You have 2+ fieldsets with their own button to perform an action: $(“FIELDSET”).AssignEnterKey();

2. A div called Search that provides site wide search: $(“#Search”).AssignEnterKey();

3. Multiple look ups on one page that have the class name Lookup: $(“.Lookup”).AssignEnterKey();

* jQuery AssignEnterKey Plug-in *
* Summary This plug-in will attach a click/blur event to all input elements
 inside a parent container, the events will add and remove a class to the
 parent container that is used to associate the enter key with the a
 button or submit button.

* * Notes Using the options, you can target a different controls for both
 triggering the focus and the target to be executed.
* * Example $("FIELDSET").AssignEnterKey();
* * Developed by Zachary.Hunter@gmail.com * Date 2009-05-29 23:05

(function($) {
   $.fn.AssignEnterKey = function(options) {
      var defaults = {triggerExp : ":input", targetExp : ":submit,:button" };
      var options = $.extend(defaults, options);

      $(document).keypress(function(e) {
         if ((e.which && e.which == 13) || (e.keyCode && e.keyCode == 13)) {
            $(".EnterKeyAssigned").find(options.targetExp).click(); return false;

       return this.each(function() {
         var obj = $(this);
             .click(function(){ obj.addClass("EnterKeyAssigned"); })
             .blur(function(){ obj.removeClass("EnterKeyAssigned"); });

I think this came out much more usable than my original code. I setup two parameters you can over-ride so it can look for specific trigger or target controls.

Overall, this is very basic plug-in and I can already see a few things that should be addressed (What to do when nothing is selected? What to do when you have multiple buttons in a container?). I think I’ll add a few more defaults options to address these. I’m very happy with what I got, since this was my first attempt at developing a jQuery plug-in…

Feedback is always appreciated!!!

[EDIT 5/19] by Zach : I have submitted this to the jQuery website as a plug-in. Hopefully somebody else finds this useful…