Auto-Type - KeePass


Auto-Type Icon


Powerful feature that sends simulated keypresses to other applications.

Text  Basic Auto-Type Information

KeePass features an "Auto-Type" functionality. This feature allows you to define a sequence of keypresses, which KeePass can automatically perform for you. The simulated keypresses can be sent to any other currently open window of your choice (browser windows, login dialogs, ...).

By default, the sent keystroke sequence is {USERNAME}{TAB}{PASSWORD}{ENTER}, i.e. it first types the user name of the selected entry, then presses the Tab key, then types the password of the entry and finally presses the Enter key.

For TAN entries, the default sequence is {PASSWORD}, i.e. it just types the TAN into the target window, without pressing Enter.

You can freely define your own Auto-Type sequence: simply write the sequence into the notes field of the entry, prefixed with "Auto-Type:". Your notes could look something like this:
You can write any notes here.
My e-mail I used to register: [email protected]

Auto-Type: {USERNAME}{TAB}{TAB}Some fixed string{TAB}{PASSWORD}{ENTER}

Here you can continue with your notes if you wish...
As you can see, the only important thing is that the auto-type sequence is prefixed using "Auto-Type:" and is one single line. An auto-type sequence cannot be defined using two or more lines.

If you define two or more auto-type sequences, the first one is used.

Additionally, you can create customized window/sequence associations, which override the default sequence. You can specify different keystroke sequences for different windows for each entry. For example, imagine a webpage, to which you want to login, that has multiple pages where one can login. These pages could all look a bit different (on one you could additionally need to check some checkbox -- like often seen in forums). Here creating customized window/sequence associations solves the problems: you simply specify different auto-type sequences for each windows (identified by their window titles).

Invoking Auto-Type:
There are three different methods to invoke auto-type:

  • Invoke auto-type for an entry by using the context menu command Perform Auto-Type while the entry is selected.
  • Select the entry and press Ctrl+V (that's the menu shortcut for the context menu command above).
  • Using the system-wide auto-type hot key. KeePass will search all entries in the currently opened database for matching sequences.

All methods are explained in detail below.

Text  Context Menu: 'Perform Auto-Type' Command

This method is the one that requires the least amount of configuration and is the simpler one, but it has the disadvantage that you need to select the entry in KeePass which you want to auto-type.

The method is simple: right-click on an entry of your currently opened database and click 'Perform Auto-Type' (or alternatively press the Ctrl+V shortcut for this command). The window that previously got the focus (i.e. the one in which you worked before switching to KeePass) will be brought to the foreground and KeePass auto-types into this window.

The sequence which is auto-typed depends on the window's title. If you didn't specify any custom window/sequence associations, the default sequence is sent. If you created associations, KeePass uses the sequence of the first matching association. If none of the associations match, the default sequence is used.

Text  Global Auto-Type Hot Key

This is the more powerful method, but it also requires a little bit more work/knowledge, before it can be used.

Simple Global Auto-Type Example:

  1. Create an entry in KeePass titled Notepad with values for user name and password.
  2. Start Notepad - under 'Programs' -> 'Accessories'.
  3. Press LCtrl+Alt+A within Notepad. The user name and password will be typed into Notepad.

The KeePass entry title Notepad is matched with the window title of Notepad and the default Auto-Type sequence is typed.

How It Works - Details:

KeePass registers a system-wide hot key for auto-type. The advantage of this hot key is that you don't need to switch to the KeePass window and select the entry. You simply press the hot key while having the target window open (i.e. the window which will receive the simulated keypresses).

By default, the global hot key is LCtrl+Alt+A (i.e. hold the left Ctrl and Alt keys, press 'A' and release all keys). You can change this hot key in the options dialog (main menu - 'Tools' - 'Options', tab 'Advanced'): here, click into the textbox below "Global Auto-Type Hot Key Combination" and press the hot key that you wish to use. If the hot key is usable, it will appear in the textbox.

When you press the hot key, KeePass will look at the title of the currently opened window and search the currently opened database for usable entries. If KeePass finds multiple entries that can be used, it displays a selection dialog. In order to decide if an entry is usable for the current window title, at least one of the following conditions must be fulfilled:

  • The title of the entry is a substring of the currently active window title.
  • The entry has a window/sequence association, of which the window specifier matches the currently active window title.

The second condition has been mentioned already, but the first one is new. By using entry titles as filters for window titles, the configuration amount for auto-type is almost zero: you only need to make sure that the entry title is contained in the window title of the window into which you want the entry to be auto-typed. Of course, this is not always possible (for example, if a webpage has a very generic title like "Welcome"), here you need to use custom window/sequence associations.

Custom window/sequence associations can be specified using the Notes field of entries.
My e-mail I used to register: [email protected]

Auto-Type: {USERNAME}{TAB}{TAB}Some fixed string{TAB}{PASSWORD}{ENTER}
Auto-Type-Window: Some Website - Welcome*

Here you can continue with your notes if you wish...
If you now have a window open that starts with "Some Website - Welcome" and press the global auto-type hot key combination, KeePass performs the auto-type sequence above.

Some sites, notably banks, use multi-page login schemes. You can use Auto-Type-Window strings to automate these sites. You can also use Auto-Type-Window strings to standardize your LAN login in one KeePass entry.

As many Auto-Type-Window strings per entry can be defined as you wish.

Also, one sequence can be used for multiple windows. For this, first define a window/sequence pair as normal, then continue by appending '-' and a number, starting with 1. Example:
Auto-Type-Window: Some Dialog - *
Auto-Type-1: {USERNAME}{ENTER}
Auto-Type-Window-1: * - Editor
Auto-Type-Window-1: * - Notepad
Auto-Type-Window-1: * - WordPad
Auto-Type-2: {PASSWORD}{ENTER}
Auto-Type-Window-2: Some Web Page - *
Here, the Auto-Type-1 sequence will be used for all Auto-Type-Window-1 windows.

Custom window associations override the KeePass entry title. If any custom window associations are specified, they will be the only item(s) used to determine a match and the KeePass entry title will be ignored.

Text  Auto-Type Keystroke Sequences

An auto-type keystroke sequence is a one-line string that can contain placeholders and special key codes.

A complete list of all supported placeholders can be found on the page Placeholders. The special key codes can be found below.

Above you've seen already that the default auto-type is {USERNAME}{TAB}{PASSWORD}{ENTER}. Here, {USERNAME} and {PASSWORD} are placeholders: when auto-type is performed, these are replaced by the appropriate field values of the entry. {TAB} and {ENTER} are special key codes: these are replaced by the appropriate keypresses. Special key codes are the only way to specify special keys like Arrow-Down, Shift, Escape, etc.

Of course, keystroke sequences can also contain simple characters to be sent. For example, the following string is perfectly valid as keystroke sequence string:
{USERNAME}{TAB}Some text to be sent!{ENTER}.

Special key codes are case-sensitive.

Special Keys:
The following codes for special keys are supported:

Special KeyCode
Enter{ENTER} or ~
Arrow Up{UP}
Arrow Down{DOWN}
Arrow Left{LEFT}
Arrow Right{RIGHT}
Insert{INSERT} or {INS}
Delete{DELETE} or {DEL}
Page Up{PGUP}
Page Down{PGDN}
Backspace{BACKSPACE}, {BS} or {BKSP}
Print Screen{PRTSC}
F1 - F16{F1} - {F16}
Keypad +{ADD}
Keypad -{SUBTRACT}
Keypad *{MULTIPLY}
Keypad /{DIVIDE}

Special KeyCode
Windows Key: left, right{LWIN}, {RWIN}
Windows Key{WIN} (equ. to {LWIN})
Windows Key@
Numpad 0 to 9{NUMPAD0} to {NUMPAD9}

Additionally, some special commands are supported:

Command SyntaxAction
{DELAY X}Delays X milliseconds.
{CLEARFIELD}Clears the contents of the edit control that currently has the focus (only single-line edit controls).
{VKEY X}Sends the virtual key of value X.

Command SyntaxAction
{BEEP X Y}Beeps with a frequency of X and a duration of Y milliseconds.
{DELAY=X}Sets the default delay to X milliseconds for all following keypresses.
{APPACTIVATE WindowTitle}Activates the window "WindowTitle".

Finally, some examples:

Types the entry's title, a Tab, the user name, a Tab, the password of the currently selected entry, and presses Enter.

Presses the Tab key, enters the entry's password and presses Enter.

Types the user name, presses Tab, presses Ctrl-v (which pastes data from the Windows clipboard in most applications), and presses Enter.

Toggling Checkboxes:
Sometimes you find checkboxes on websites ("Stay logged in on this computer" for example). You can toggle these checkboxes by sending a space character (' ') when auto-typing. For example:
If there is a webform with a user name field, password field and a checkbox, this sequence would enter the user name, the password and toggle the checkbox that follows the password control.

Pressing Non-Default Buttons:
Pressing non-default buttons works the same as toggling checkboxes: send a space character (' '). Note that this should only be used for non-default buttons; for default buttons, {ENTER} should be sent instead.

Higher ANSI Characters:
The auto-type function supports sending of higher ANSI characters in range 126-255. This means that you can send special characters like ©, @, etc. without any problems; you can write them directly into the keystroke sequence definition.

Text  Target Window Filters

When creating a custom window/sequence association, you need to tell KeePass how the matching window titles look like. Here, KeePass supports simple wildcards:

String with WildcardMeaning
STRINGMatches all window titles that are named exactly "STRING".
STRING*Matches all window titles that start with "STRING".
*STRINGMatches all window titles that end with "STRING".
*STRING*Matches all window titles that have "STRING" somewhere in the window title. This includes the string being directly at the start or at the end of the window title.

Other wildcards aren't supported. The * wildcard must not be in the middle of a string.

For example, *Windows*Explorer* won't match Windows Explorer, it will only match Windows*Explorer, i.e. the middle * character is treated as '*' text character instead of a wildcard.

By using wildcards, you can make your auto-type associations browser-independent. See the usage examples for more information.

Text  Change Default Auto-Type Sequence

The default auto-type sequence (i.e. the one which is used when you don't specify a custom one) is {USERNAME}{TAB}{PASSWORD}{ENTER}. KeePass allows you to change this default sequence. Normally you won't need to change it (use custom window/sequence definitions instead!), but it is quite useful when some other application is interfering KeePass (for example a security software that always asks you for permission before allowing KeePass to auto-type).

The default auto-type sequence can be changed in the Auto-Type configuration dialog. This dialog can be found in 'Tools' -> 'Options' -> 'Advanced' -> 'Auto-Type'.

Text  Usage Example

Now let's have a look at a real-world example: logging into a website. In this example, will we use the global auto-type hot key to fill out the login webpage. First open the test page, and afterwards create a new entry in KeePass with title Test Form and a user name and password of your choice.

Let's assume the global auto-type hot key is set to LCtrl+Alt+A (the default). KeePass is running in the background, you have opened your database and the workspace is unlocked.

When you now navigate to the test page and are being prompted for your user name and password, just click into the user name field and press LCtrl+Alt+A. KeePass enters the user name and password for you!

Why did this work? The window title of your browser window was "Test Form - KeePass - Internet Explorer" or "Test Form - KeePass - Mozilla Firefox", depending on the browser you are using. Because we gave the entry in KeePass the title Test Form, the entry title is contained in the window title, therefore KeePass uses this entry.

Here you see the huge advantages of auto-type: it not only doesn't require any additional browser software (the browser knows nothing of KeePass -- there are no helper browser plugins required), it is also browser-independent: the one entry that you created within KeePass works for Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox (and other browsers) without requiring any modifications or definitions.

When you would use window/sequence associations (instead of entry title matching), you can achieve the same browser-independent effect using wildcards: you could for example have used Test Form - KeePass - * as window filter. This filter matches both the Internet Explorer and the Firefox window.