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I can not figure out how to get my program to pick up a key down event on launch. Ideally, I want to be able to test to see if a key is down at any given time. I have been overriding General/NSResponders keyDown: (General/NSEvent *) event method from within in a window. I think I tried doing it in General/NSApp too. I don’t know. If you have not been able to figure it out, I am rather new to cocoa–and make no attempt at hiding my newbieness. I can not find any useful documentation/tutorials. Everything in Apple’s is “forthcoming”.

So anyway, if anyone knows how I can get my application to do something different if launched with the option key held down than when it’s not, please let me know. Thanks!


I have been told that this is as close to a flaw in the General/AppKit API you can get. It seems to be impossible to get modifiers or keys without having access to an General/NSEvent.

However, you can use Carbon calls to do it. Here is a nice category for finding the status of a few modifiers (Though you should be aware that holding down the alt key during app startup would under General/NeXT start another instance of the program. If apple chooses to revive this behaviour your app will be quite inconsistent):

@interface General/NSEvent (General/ModifierKeys)

@implementation General/NSEvent (General/ModifierKeys)


Well I have no clue to how to implement that code you just gave me (accesssing carbon libraries from a cocoa app). I tried for at least an hour. But It did give me another idea. Couldn’t I overide General/NSApplications did finish launching method and make it generate a event, and then test to see if a moifier key was down during that event (using General/NSEvent’s modifierFlags function)? I tried to do this, but I do not think i am subclassing General/NSApplication correctly……I have my custom class set as the principal class. But when I put a breakpoint inside any of the overidden functions and debug it, it never breaks.

Any insight would be greatly apreciated, and thanks for the already provided help.

It is very simple to call into Carbon from Cocoa. Just include the framework Carbon.framework in your project and call into it! In the source code file, #import <Carbon/Carbon.h>

– General/DavidRemahl

Thanks, I thought all I had to do was the #import! Got it working, thanks for the code snippet!

One Question: How can I check the status of the Boolean in the .m file?

– General/MartinWeil

You can quite easily get access to an event by doing General/[NSEvent currentEvent] and then you can binary or against the modifierflags.

– General/FinlayDobbie

I have no idea what you mean by, could you give me a code snippet?

– General/MartinWeil

Finlay..I don’t think +currentEvent is valid during application launch, only while in the processing of an event.

So, what must I do for checking it? I don’t know how long I have tried, maybe ten hours? I’ve searched everything I found but I didn’t get it working.


if(General/[NSEvent isControlKeyDown]) { // do code }

On 10.6, you can use

General/[NSEvent modifierFlags]