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Listen for key press in .NET console app


Question

How can I continue to run my console application until a key press (like Esc is pressed?)

I'm assuming its wrapped around a while loop. I don't like ReadKey as it blocks operation and asks for a key, rather than just continue and listen for the key press.

How can this be done?

2017/02/02
1
229
2/2/2017 3:49:24 PM

Accepted Answer

Use Console.KeyAvailable so that you only call ReadKey when you know it won't block:

Console.WriteLine("Press ESC to stop");
do {
    while (! Console.KeyAvailable) {
        // Do something
   }       
} while (Console.ReadKey(true).Key != ConsoleKey.Escape);
2014/01/16
352
1/16/2014 9:01:25 PM

You can change your approach slightly - use Console.ReadKey() to stop your app, but do your work in a background thread:

static void Main(string[] args)
{
    var myWorker = new MyWorker();
    myWorker.DoStuff();
    Console.WriteLine("Press any key to stop...");
    Console.ReadKey();
}

In the myWorker.DoStuff() function you would then invoke another function on a background thread (using Action<>() or Func<>() is an easy way to do it), then immediately return.

2016/12/12

The shortest way:

Console.WriteLine("Press ESC to stop");

while (!(Console.KeyAvailable && Console.ReadKey(true).Key == ConsoleKey.Escape))
{
    // do something
}

Console.ReadKey() is a blocking function, it stops the execution of the program and waits for a key press, but thanks to checking Console.KeyAvailable first, the while loop is not blocked, but running until the Esc is pressed.

2016/12/12

From the video curse Building .NET Console Applications in C# by Jason Roberts at http://www.pluralsight.com

We could do following to have multiple running process

  static void Main(string[] args)
    {
        Console.CancelKeyPress += (sender, e) =>
        {

            Console.WriteLine("Exiting...");
            Environment.Exit(0);
        };

        Console.WriteLine("Press ESC to Exit");

        var taskKeys = new Task(ReadKeys);
        var taskProcessFiles = new Task(ProcessFiles);

        taskKeys.Start();
        taskProcessFiles.Start();

        var tasks = new[] { taskKeys };
        Task.WaitAll(tasks);
    }

    private static void ProcessFiles()
    {
        var files = Enumerable.Range(1, 100).Select(n => "File" + n + ".txt");

        var taskBusy = new Task(BusyIndicator);
        taskBusy.Start();

        foreach (var file in files)
        {
            Thread.Sleep(1000);
            Console.WriteLine("Procesing file {0}", file);
        }
    }

    private static void BusyIndicator()
    {
        var busy = new ConsoleBusyIndicator();
        busy.UpdateProgress();
    }

    private static void ReadKeys()
    {
        ConsoleKeyInfo key = new ConsoleKeyInfo();

        while (!Console.KeyAvailable && key.Key != ConsoleKey.Escape)
        {

            key = Console.ReadKey(true);

            switch (key.Key)
            {
                case ConsoleKey.UpArrow:
                    Console.WriteLine("UpArrow was pressed");
                    break;
                case ConsoleKey.DownArrow:
                    Console.WriteLine("DownArrow was pressed");
                    break;

                case ConsoleKey.RightArrow:
                    Console.WriteLine("RightArrow was pressed");
                    break;

                case ConsoleKey.LeftArrow:
                    Console.WriteLine("LeftArrow was pressed");
                    break;

                case ConsoleKey.Escape:
                    break;

                default:
                    if (Console.CapsLock && Console.NumberLock)
                    {
                        Console.WriteLine(key.KeyChar);
                    }
                    break;
            }
        }
    }
}

internal class ConsoleBusyIndicator
{
    int _currentBusySymbol;

    public char[] BusySymbols { get; set; }

    public ConsoleBusyIndicator()
    {
        BusySymbols = new[] { '|', '/', '-', '\\' };
    }
    public void UpdateProgress()
    {
        while (true)
        {
            Thread.Sleep(100);
            var originalX = Console.CursorLeft;
            var originalY = Console.CursorTop;

            Console.Write(BusySymbols[_currentBusySymbol]);

            _currentBusySymbol++;

            if (_currentBusySymbol == BusySymbols.Length)
            {
                _currentBusySymbol = 0;
            }

            Console.SetCursorPosition(originalX, originalY);
        }
    }
2015/04/28

Here is an approach for you to do something on a different thread and start listening to the key pressed in a different thread. And the Console will stop its processing when your actual process ends or the user terminates the process by pressing Esc key.

class SplitAnalyser
{
    public static bool stopProcessor = false;
    public static bool Terminate = false;

    static void Main(string[] args)
    {
        Console.ForegroundColor = ConsoleColor.Green;
        Console.WriteLine("Split Analyser starts");
        Console.ForegroundColor = ConsoleColor.Red;
        Console.WriteLine("Press Esc to quit.....");
        Thread MainThread = new Thread(new ThreadStart(startProcess));
        Thread ConsoleKeyListener = new Thread(new ThreadStart(ListerKeyBoardEvent));
        MainThread.Name = "Processor";
        ConsoleKeyListener.Name = "KeyListener";
        MainThread.Start();
        ConsoleKeyListener.Start();

        while (true) 
        {
            if (Terminate)
            {
                Console.WriteLine("Terminating Process...");
                MainThread.Abort();
                ConsoleKeyListener.Abort();
                Thread.Sleep(2000);
                Thread.CurrentThread.Abort();
                return;
            }

            if (stopProcessor)
            {
                Console.WriteLine("Ending Process...");
                MainThread.Abort();
                ConsoleKeyListener.Abort();
                Thread.Sleep(2000);
                Thread.CurrentThread.Abort();
                return;
            }
        } 
    }

    public static void ListerKeyBoardEvent()
    {
        do
        {
            if (Console.ReadKey(true).Key == ConsoleKey.Escape)
            {
                Terminate = true;
            }
        } while (true); 
    }

    public static void startProcess()
    {
        int i = 0;
        while (true)
        {
            if (!stopProcessor && !Terminate)
            {
                Console.ForegroundColor = ConsoleColor.White;
                Console.WriteLine("Processing...." + i++);
                Thread.Sleep(3000);
            }
            if(i==10)
                stopProcessor = true;

        }
    }

}
2016/12/12

If you are using Visual Studio, then you can use "Start Without Debugging" in the Debug menu.

It will automatically write "Press any key to continue . . ." to the console for you upon completion of the application and it will leave the console open for you until a key is pressed.

2014/06/26

Source: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/5891538
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