Subscribing to cancel key press events in a .NET console application

Users can stop and close a console application by any of the following methods:

  • Pressing the ‘x’ button in the top right hand corner
  • Pressing ctrl+c
  • Pressing ctrl+break

Occasionally you might want to check whether the user has pressed either ctrl+c or ctrl+break. The following code sample will show you how to do that.

The Console object has an event called CancelKeyPress that you can subscribe to. The following sample adds an event handler to this event. The handler prints the special key property of the ConsoleCancelEventArgs object. It can have 2 values: ControlC or ControlBreak. Then if ctrl+c was pressed then the event is cancelled, i.e. the console window won’t close:

static void Main(string[] args)
	Console.CancelKeyPress += Console_CancelKeyPress;

static void Console_CancelKeyPress(object sender, ConsoleCancelEventArgs e)
	if (e.SpecialKey == ConsoleSpecialKey.ControlC)
		e.Cancel = true;

The Console_CancelKeyPress method will be called if you press either the ctrl+c or the ctrl+break key combination.

View all various C# language feature related posts here.


About Andras Nemes
I'm a .NET/Java developer living and working in Stockholm, Sweden.

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