I have an MDI application that has JInternalFrames containing JTextArea objects. The app has a "Run" menu under which I have items like "Execute" and "Stop". When "Execute" option is selected, I run some simulation and when "Stop" option is selected, I stop the simulation. Now I want to add keyboard accelerators to these commands. I added Ctrl+E to "Execute" and it worked fine. I want to add "Escape" as the accelerator for "Stop" but it doesn't work. When no internal frame is open, escape is trapped properly and my action listener is invoked. But when an internal frame is open and the JTextArea inside this frame has the focus, the Escape key is not trapped. I think it is because of the JTextArea. How do I force the application to invoke the menu handler (i.e. the action listener for the Stop menu item) even when the JTextArea has the focus?