Catching the "Enter" key in a CListCtrl (and other controls)

In order to catch the "Enter" key, and other special keys in a CListCtrl (or any control for that matter) it is necessary to derive your own class and add a handler for the WM_GETDLGCODE message. To allow all special keys to be processed by the control add the following:
UINT SMUPPGrid::OnGetDlgCode()
	UINT result = CListCtrl::OnGetDlgCode();
	result = result | DLGC_WANTALLKEYS;
	return result;

Other options include (from MSDEV documentation):

  • DLGC_WANTALLKEYS All keyboard input.
  • DLGC_WANTARROWS Arrow keys.
  • DLGC_WANTMESSAGE All keyboard input. The application passes this message on to the control.
  • DLGC_BUTTON Button (generic).
  • DLGC_DEFPUSHBUTTON Default pushbutton.
  • DLGC_UNDEFPUSHBUTTON No default pushbutton processing. (An application can use this flag with DLGC_BUTTON to indicate that it processes button input but relies on the system for default pushbutton processing.)
  • DLGC_RADIOBUTTON Radio button.
  • DLGC_STATIC Static control.

This is a relatively simple process but it is not really all that intuitive or well documented.

Last updated: 9 May 1998


  • DLGC_UNDEFPUSHBUTTON: is this an undocumented feature?

    Posted by Legacy on 03/29/1999 12:00am

    Originally posted by: newsoft

    When handling WM_GETDLGCODE, this is the behavior
    that I observed (i'm using NT 4.0 workstation SP4
    and Visual C++ 5.0 SP3):

    // when this button gets the focus, the border
    // drawn with DrawFrameControl() is drawn with the
    // default black rectangle around it (as a default
    // button) and the regular default control (the OK
    // button usually) is drawn like a non-normal control.
    // Note that this affects only the DRAWING of buttons,
    // the enter key still goes to the default control
    // (the OK button - dismissing the dialog) even
    // though it's not drawn with the black rectangle
    // around it.

    // when this button gets the focus, the enter
    // key will generate a WM_BUTTONDOWN event.
    // The key will not go the the usually default
    // button (the OK button usually).

    // this seems to make an owner-drawn button behave
    // (look & feel) like a non owner-drawn button
    // (If using DrawFrameControl() to draw the frame).

    DLGC_BUTTON doesn't seem to have any effect if OR'ed
    with the above.

  • Catching Enter in combobox

    Posted by Legacy on 10/26/1998 12:00am

    Originally posted by: Vadim

    This doesn't work with combobox. To catch Enter in combobox 
    override PreTranslateMassage():

    if (pMsg->message == WM_KEYDOWN) {
    if ((int)pMsg->wParam == VK_RETURN) {
    do your processing

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