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1.2.1 • Public • Published

Ninja Keys

Keyboard shortcut interface for your website that works with Vanilla JS, Vue, and React.

FOSSA Status npm npm


https://ninja-keys-demo.vercel.app/ Demo


A lot of applications support a common pattern where the user hits +k (or ctrl+k) and a search UI dialog appears. I've recently seen this in Notion, Slack, Linear, Vercel and Algolia, but I'm sure there are plenty more. Apple Spotlight, Alfred and the Raycast app also have a similar pattern, but with different shortcuts. There are already some libraries built for this, but they are too framework specific, like Laravel only or React only Nevertheless, mine is not a silver bullet and if you need more framework integration, check them out too.

I needed a keyboard interface for navigation with static websites without any frameworks. At the same time, I have a few Vue projects where something like this could be useful, so I decided to give it a try for Web Components and Lit Element.



  • Keyboard navigation
  • Light and dark theme built in
  • Built-in icon support from Material font and custom svg icons
  • Nested menu - a tree or flat data structure can be used
  • Auto register your shortcuts
  • Root search - for example, if you search "Dark," it will find it within the "Theme" submenu
  • CSS variable to customize the view
  • Customizable hotkeys to open/close etc. Choose what best fits your website.

Why the "Ninja" name?

Because it appears from nowhere and executes any actions quickly... Or because it allows your users to become keyboard ninjas 🙃

Install from NPM

npm i ninja-keys

Import if you are using webpack, rollup, vite or other build system.

import 'ninja-keys';

Install from CDN

Mostly for usage in HTML/JS without a build system.

<script type="module" src="https://unpkg.com/ninja-keys?module"></script>

or inside your module scripts

<script type="module">
  import {NinjaKeys} from 'https://unpkg.com/ninja-keys?module';


Add the tag to your HTML.

<ninja-keys> </ninja-keys>
  const ninja = document.querySelector('ninja-keys');
  ninja.data = [
      id: 'Projects',
      title: 'Open Projects',
      hotkey: 'ctrl+N',
      icon: 'apps',
      section: 'Projects',
      handler: () => {
        // it's auto register above hotkey with this handler
        alert('Your logic to handle');
      id: 'Theme',
      title: 'Change theme...',
      icon: 'desktop_windows',
      children: ['Light Theme', 'Dark Theme', 'System Theme'],
      hotkey: 'ctrl+T',
      handler: () => {
        // open menu if closed. Because you can open directly that menu from it's hotkey
        ninja.open({ parent: 'Theme' });
        // if menu opened that prevent it from closing on select that action, no need if you don't have child actions
        return {keepOpen: true};
      id: 'Light Theme',
      title: 'Change theme to Light',
      icon: 'light_mode',
      parent: 'Theme',
      handler: () => {
        // simple handler
      id: 'Dark Theme',
      title: 'Change theme to Dark',
      icon: 'dark_mode',
      parent: 'Theme',
      handler: () => {
        // simple handler

Library using flat data structure inside, as in the example above. But you can also use a tree structure as below:

  id: 'Theme',
  children: [
    { id: 'light' title: 'light_mode', },
    { id: 'System Theme',
      children: [
        { title: 'Sub item 1' },
        { title: 'Sub item 2' }


Field Default Description
placeholder Type a command or search... Placeholder for search
disableHotkeys false If attribute exist will register all hotkey for all actions
hideBreadcrumbs false Hide breadcrumbs on header if true
openHotkey cmd+k,ctrl+k Open or close shortcut
navigationUpHotkey up,shift+tab Navigation up shortcuts
navigationDownHotkey down,tab Navigation down shortcuts
closeHotkey esc Close shortcut
goBackHotkey backspace Go back on one level if has parent menu
selectHotkey enter Select action and execute handler or open submenu
hotKeysJoinedView false If exist/true will display hotkeys inside one element
noAutoLoadMdIcons false If exist it disable load material icons font on connect


<ninja-keys placeholder="Must app is awesome" openHotkey="cmd+l" hideBreadcrumbs></ninja-keys>


Array of INinjaAction - interface properties below

Name Type Description
id string Unique id/text. Will be displayed as breadcrumb in multimenu
title string Title of action
hotkey string(optional) Shortcut to display and register
handler Function(optional) Function to execute on select
mdIcon string(optional) Material Design font icon name
icon string(optional) Html to render as custom icon
parent string(optional) If using flat structure use id of actions to make a multilevel menu
keywords string(optional) Keywords to use for search
children Array(optional) If using flat structure then ids of child menu actions. Not required on tree structure
section string(optional) Section text. Like a header will be group with other same sections


Name Arg Description
open { parent?: string } Open menu with parent, if null then open root menu
close Close menu
setParent parent?: string Navigate to parent menu


const ninja = document.querySelector('ninja-keys');
// or
ninja.open({ parent: 'Theme' })


Component wide events

Name Description Payload
change Emitted when on each change of search input { detail: { search: string, actions: Array<NinjaAction> } }
selected Emitted when on user selected action or on submit of input { detail: { search: string, action: NinjaAction or undefined }}

Both handler of action and component event selected emitted when user submit form or select item.

But event selected can be used to handle edge cases, so it's not recommended to write each action logic here. It’s better to use the action handler property.

For example, if a user enters a search query and there is an empty list, listening to this event you can handle that.

ninja.addEventListener('change', (event) => {
  console.log('ninja on change', event.detail);
  // detail = {search: 'your search query', actions: Array<NinjaAction>}
ninja.addEventListener('selected', (event) => {
  console.log('ninja on selected', event.detail);
  // detail = {search: 'your search query', action: NinjaAction | undefined }
  if (event.detail.action){
  // perform API search for example


Component supports a dark theme out-of-box. You just need to add a class.

<ninja-keys class="dark"></ninja-keys>

If you need more style control, use any of the CSS variables below.

CSS variables

Name Default
--ninja-width 640px;
--ninja-backdrop-filter none;
--ninja-overflow-background rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.5);
--ninja-text-color rgb(60, 65, 73);
--ninja-font-size 16px;
--ninja-top 20%;
--ninja-key-border-radius 0.25em
--ninja-accent-color rgb(110, 94, 210);
--ninja-secondary-background-color rgb(239, 241, 244);
--ninja-secondary-text-color rgb(107, 111, 118);
--ninja-selected-background rgb(248, 249, 251);
--ninja-icon-color var(--ninja-secondary-text-color);
--ninja-icon-size 1.2em;
--ninja-separate-border 1px solid var(--ninja-secondary-background-color);
--ninja-modal-background #fff;
--ninja-modal-shadow rgb(0 0 0 / 50%) 0px 16px 70px;
--ninja-actions-height 300px;
--ninja-group-text-color rgb(144, 149, 157);
--ninja-footer-background rgba(242, 242, 242, 0.4);
--ninja-placeholder-color #8e8e8e
--ninja-z-index 1


ninja-keys {
  --ninja-width: 400px;

CSS Shadow Parts

Allowing you to style specific elements from your style. Because styles are encapsulated by Shadow DOM, it will be annoying to create css variables for all properties. That's why you can use ::part to make a custom look for the component. It's supported by all modern browsers

Name Description
actions-list Element that wraps all child elements.
ninja-action Single action
ninja-selected Selected action
ninja-input Input element
ninja-input-wrapper Wrapper element around div, useful for advanced styles

Example style using parts

ninja-keys::part(actions-list) {
  padding: 8px;
ninja-keys::part(ninja-action) {
  border-radius: 8px;
  border-left: none;

ninja-keys::part(ninja-selected) {
  background: rgba(51, 51, 51, 0.1);

ninja-keys::part(ninja-input) {
  color: #14b8a6;

ninja-keys::part(ninja-input)::placeholder {
  color: #f43f5e;

ninja-keys::part(ninja-input-wrapper) {
  background: rgba(244, 63, 93, 0.3);


By default, components use icons from https://fonts.google.com/icons

For example, you can just set mdIcon to light_mode to render a sun icon.

To add Material icons for your website, you need to add them to your HTML, for example

<link href="https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Material+Icons&display=block" rel="stylesheet">

If you want custom icons, you can use svg or img to insert it with an icon property for action with ninja-icon class. Example:

  title: 'Search projects...',
  icon: `<svg xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" class="ninja-icon" fill="none" viewBox="0 0 24 24" stroke="currentColor">
    <path stroke-linecap="round" stroke-linejoin="round" stroke-width="2" d="M7 8h10M7 12h4m1 8l-4-4H5a2 2 0 01-2-2V6a2 2 0 012-2h14a2 2 0 012 2v8a2 2 0 01-2 2h-3l-4 4z" />
  section: 'Projects',

You can also change the width and font using CSS variables

ninja-keys {
  --ninja-icon-size: 1em;

Change or hide footer

  <div slot="footer">You can use a custom footer or empty div to hide it</div>

Dev Server

npm run start


To lint the project run:

npm run lint


Prettier is used for code formatting. It has been pre-configured according to the Lit's style.


Copyright (c) Sergei Sleptsov hey@sergei.ws

Licensed under the MIT license.

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