Override DOM input typed character

iamandrewluca profile image Andrew Luca Updated on ・3 min read

Problem trying to solve.

Map every keyboard (input source / layout) back to EN-US.
Why would I want to do this, you ask?

At work we have a QRcode scanner that can be connected to any machine (via USB), and it will simulate some keyboard input when you scan a QRcode.

Scanner works with US Standard 101 layout (EN-US), and it knows for example that character Y has scancode 0x1c and Z will have scancode 0x1d, and it will simulate a scancode for a specific key on keyboard (USB keyboard scancodes).

For example we have a QRcode that represent this URl.


This will type QRcode scanner for 5 keyboard (input source / layout)

// English (ABC)

// German (ABC - QWERTZ)

// Dvorak

// Russian

// Romanian - Standard

As you see the results for each one are the same 🙃
This is why we need to map US Standard 101 layout scancodes to EN-US


Solution is based on KeyboardEvent.code that represents physical code of the key. Also KeyboardEvent.code (status: Working Draft) is not supported in all browsers.

KeyboardEvent.code browser support

Here is a polyfill if you want to support more browsers

Solution for the problem. Let's get started!

This is the only piece of HTML you'll see in this post 🙂

The rest will be mighty JavaScript

<input type="text" />

First of all let see what are most events used on an input, and in what order they are trigerred.

const input = document.querySelector('input')

input.addEventListener('focus', info)
input.addEventListener('keydown', info)
input.addEventListener('keypress', info)
input.addEventListener('input', info)
input.addEventListener('keyup', info)
input.addEventListener('change', info)
input.addEventListener('blur', info)

function info(event) {
    console.log(event.type, event.target.value)

The only way to catch typed character into input is to watch for keypress event.

At this phase character does not appear in input.value

function onFocus  (event) { info(event) }
function keyDown  (event) { info(event) }
function keyPress (event) {
  // this 2 calls will stop `input` and `change` events

  // get current props
  const target = event.target
  const start = target.selectionStart;
  const end = target.selectionEnd;
  const val = target.value;

  // get some char based on event
  const char = getChar(event);

  // create new value
  const value = val.slice(0, start) + char + val.slice(end);

  // first attemp to set value
  // (doesn't work in react because value setter is overrided)
  // target.value = value

  // second attemp to set value, get native setter
  const nativeInputValueSetter = Object.getOwnPropertyDescriptor(
  nativeInputValueSetter.call(target, value);

  // change cursor position
  target.selectionStart = target.selectionEnd = start + 1;

  // dispatch `input` again
  const newEvent = new InputEvent('input', {
    bubbles: true,
    inputType: 'insertText',
    data: char
function keyUp    (event) { info(event) }
function onInput  (event) { info(event) }
function onChange (event) { info(event) }
function onBlur   (event) {
  // dispatch `change` again
  const newEvent = new Event('change', { bubbles: true })

function info     (event) { console.log(event.type) }

function getChar(event) {
  // will show X if letter, will show Y if Digit, otherwise Z
  return event.code.startsWith('Key')
    ? 'X'
    : event.code.startsWith('Digit')
      ? 'Y'
      : 'Z'

Posted on May 15 '19 by:

iamandrewluca profile

Andrew Luca


All in Developer! ♣️♥️♠️♦️


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