I'm running R2014b, and I inherited some pre-2014b code that used an undocumented feature to re-enable capture of keypress events in either pan or zoom mode:
if verLessThan('matlab', '8.4')
hManager = uigetmodemanager(figure_handle);
set(hManager.WindowListenerHandles, 'Enable', 'off');
set(figure_handle, 'WindowKeyPressFcn', );
set(figure_handle, 'KeyPressFcn', @(obj, evt) keypress_cb(obj, evt));
In R2014b, and maybe earlier, it seems that this fix has been broken by the fact that hManager.WindowListenerHandles, which is an object of class event.proplistener, no longer has any 'set' methods (I think all its properties are now protected).
For R2014b or later, how do I re-enable keypress capture in pan or zoom mode?