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In this tutorial, we are going to cover some of the Robot Class Keyboard Events.

As discussed in the Robot class Introduction tutorial, the Robot class provides methods that can be used to simulate keyboard and mouse actions, e.g., simulation on OS popups/alerts and even on OS applications like Calculator, Notepad, etc.

Keyboard methods in Robot class

To simulate keyboard actions, following Robot class methods should be used :

Keyboard methods:

  • keyPress(int keycode): This method presses a given key. The parameter keycode is an integer value for the key pressed. For example, to press a key for alphabet A, the value that has to pass is KeyEvent.VK_A i.e., keyPress(KeyEvent.VK_A).
    • KeyEvent is generally a low-level event. In Java AWT, low-level events are events that indicate direct communication from the user like a keypress, key release or a mouse click, drag, move, or release, etc. KeyEvent indicates an event that occurs on pressing, releasing, or typing a key on the component object like a text field.
    • This KeyEvent class has various constant fields like VK_0, VK_1 till VK_9  of type integer. These values are the same as ASCII code for numbers '0' till '9'. Similarly, for alphabets, this class has constant fields like VK_A, VK_B till VK_Z. It also has constant fields for representing special characters like VK_DOLLAR for  "$" key, modifier keys like VK_SHIFT for Shift key, etc.
  • keyRelease(int keycode): This method releases a given key. For Example, the Shift key pressed using the *keyPress(KeyEvent.VK_SHIFT *) method needs to release using the keyRelease (KeyEvent.VK_SHIFT ) method.

Practice Exercise to Perform Keyboard events using java Robot Class in Selenium

Let’s discuss an example from an already available demo page on Toolsqa as ““.

Robot Class Keyboard Events

Here, to Upload any file, select the file first from Open popup which is Desktop Windows popup. Which, in turn, requires the filename to enter, e.g., D1.txt in this example.

Let's understand how to use the Robot class method to enter a filename.

  • Instantiate Robot Class

Robot robot = new Robot();

  • Invoke the keyPress method to enter the text

robot.keyPress(<keycode integer value>);

If a user needs to enter "D1.txt" in a textbox on a Webpage, he/she can use the sendKeys method, and just a single method call sendKeys("D1.txt") will suffice the purpose. But, to enter text in Desktop Windows popup using keyPress() method, the method needs to be invoked for each character of the input string, like keyPress(KeyEvent.VK_D), keyPress(KeyEvent.VK_1), etc.

Let us automate the following scenario :

  1. Launch the web browser and launch our practice page
  2. Click on ‘Click here to browse’ button
  3. Press Shift Key
  4. Enter d to type it as D as the modifier Shift key press
  5. Release Shift Key
  6. Enter remaining part of the file name, i.e., 1.txt to display it as D1.txt
  7. Press Enter key
  8. Click on the Upload button and close the alert
  9. Close the browser to end the program

Prerequisite: Create a file C:\demo\D1.txt

Following is the sample code:

package com.toolsqa.tutorials.actions;
import java.awt.AWTException;
import java.awt.Robot;
import java.awt.event.KeyEvent;
import org.openqa.selenium.Alert;
import org.openqa.selenium.By;
import org.openqa.selenium.Keys;
import org.openqa.selenium.WebDriver;
import org.openqa.selenium.WebElement;
import org.openqa.selenium.firefox.FirefoxDriver;

public class RobotKeyboardDemo {

	public static void main(String[] args) throws InterruptedException, AWTException, IOException {

		// Create a new instance of the Firefox driver
		WebDriver driver = new FirefoxDriver();
		String URL = "";
		//Start Browser
		//maximize browser
		// This will click on Browse button
		WebElement webElement = driver.findElement("browseFile"));		
		//click  Browse button 
		//Create object of Robot class
		Robot robot = new Robot();
		//Code to Enter D1.txt 
		//Press Shify key 
		//Press d , it gets typed as upper case D as Shift key is pressed
		//Release SHIFT key to release upper case effect
		//Press ENTER to close the popup

        //Wait for 1 sec
		//This is just a verification part, accept alert
        webElement = driver.findElement("uploadButton"));;				 
		WebDriverWait wait = new WebDriverWait(driver, 10);		 
		Alert myAlert = wait.until(ExpectedConditions.alertIsPresent());	       	 
		//Accept the Alert		 

		//Close the main window 


Note: Even though Robot class specifies to follow keyRelease for each keyPress event, Alphabets and numbers don't have any side effects on the next statements. Therefore, generally, users skip the keyRelease event for Alphabets and numbers. On the other hand, all the modifier keys such as SHIFT, ALT, etc. will always have a side effect on the next statements. As a result, it is still mandatory to specify keyRelease for each keyPress event of the modifier keys.

Just Try commenting out robot.keyRelease(KeyEvent.VK_SHIFT); in the above sample code and run the script. You will notice the file name types as, 'D!.TXT'. It is because the key pressed effect for the SHIFT key gets carried forward to the next typed text and types it in the uppercase.


To conclude, in this tutorial, we have covered Robot keyboard methods used to interact with operating system specific popup or applications in Selenium script.

  • keyPress(int keycode): Method to press a given key.
  • keyRelease(int keycode): Method to release a given key.

As already briefed in the Robot introduction tutorial, the Robot class also provides methods to simulate mouse actions. We will cover those methods in detail in the next tutorial, i.e., Robot Class Mouse Events.

Robot Class in Java - An Introduction
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