While designing a text box where a user can enter a note, I want to eliminate the enter button and rely on the return key.

What is the best practice for note entry fields?

What is needed to tell the user if at all when defaulting to the return key to enter/save the text?

  • I think return key or icon is widely used now a days! I would recommend that option Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 6:40
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    While designing a text box where a user can enter a note, I want to eliminate the enter button and rely on the return key. Why???
    – Izhaki
    Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 14:23

4 Answers 4


I think you can show status "Saving" under the text field when a user clicks Enter button or change cursor focus on another element. If user leaves the page just do autosave of last unsaved data. It shouldn't be too complicated.

Autosave of text field

  • This is a helpful UI solution. I realized that a solution is right before our eyes in this comment UI for stackexchange. Upon enter the comment or 'note' posts above. However there is also an Add Comment button. Therefore, there is an accepted redundancy - the enter button functioning the same as the return key.
    – jeancode
    Commented Dec 17, 2019 at 4:35

Most users are familiar with how text fields work, and most text fields allow you to safely edit text without triggering something irreversible (like posting or sending). Changing fundamental behavior, like the return key, will cause the user to make mistakes, and those mistakes will cause the user to feel negativity towards your program.

That said, if the return key is one of many triggers that initiate a non-destructive action (like saving), then Mger's answer with the auto save indicator would be a very user friendly solution, as it provides clear feedback at a glance. But completely relying on the return key for an action is not intuitive.


As I understand your problem, the solution below will be helpful, but versions for the illustration can be studied further to be influenced more proper. As you seen from the link to codepen.io, the animated placeholder would be very appropriate to give a direction to the user.

animated placeholder

  • your solution seems more for a text box than a note field. I will explain further and revise my question. What I am looking for is a long text field that can take any length string for taking notes. Upon enter the note would display.
    – jeancode
    Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 6:19
  • Basically it is like this field in stackexchange. There is no enter button. But upon clicking the return key - the comment is posted above.
    – jeancode
    Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 6:21
  • It's not different for it either but updated the link and the screenshot above. I just wanted to visualize the idea of putting placeholder of ⏎ to save onto the textarea you want to implement this specific issue. You may choose not to write "Name, Surname" on it (: Commented Dec 13, 2019 at 7:56

What do users expect? Context matters. Based on traditions of user interfaces, most users probably expect to press Enter OR click a Save button to enter text in a field. Giving both options often makes the most sense. On the other hand, if saving the text also sends you to another screen, then you want to prevent accidental actions, probably by not allowing Enter, and by labeling the button "Save and Close" or "Save and Exit" or similar. Also, keep in mind whether entering blank lines with the Enter or Return button should be an option, in which case you have to think about editing versus saving controls. Finally, most interfaces allow Shift+Enter to enter a "carriage return" or soft return. Will you accommodate that?

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