Click here to Skip to main content
Click here to Skip to main content

Forward/Backward navigation with the mouse thumb buttons for Visual Studio 2008 (C++)

, 28 Sep 2008 GPL3
Rate this:
Please Sign up or sign in to vote.
Forward/backward navigation with the mouse thumb buttons for Visual Studio 2008 (C++).


For most programs, users can use the "thumb-buttons" of the mouse to navigate forwards or backwards. This add-in will implement this feature in Visual Studio 2008 C++. (C# has this feature built-in).

Example usage

  1. Jump to a function definition (right click on the function name, "Go to definition").
  2. Jump back using the "backward button" of your mouse.

A look inside the code

The API for Visual Studio add-ins do not provide the possibility to get informed if a mouse button is pressed inside the Visual Studio window. It is necessary to use a Hook to achieve this:

private void InitHook()
  this.MouseProcDelegate = new HookProc(this.MouseProc);
  uint id = GetCurrentThreadId();
        this.MouseProcDelegate, IntPtr.Zero, id);

The InitHook() function is called if Visual Studio is loading an add-in (on VS start). The hook is only attached to the thread whose the thread-ID is returned by GetCurrentThreadId(). The hook will receive the mouse events before Visual Studio does. Another possibility could be a ShellHook (WH_SHELL) (HSHELL_APPCOMMAND with the APPCOMMAND_BROWSER_BACKWARD and APPCOMMAND_BROWSER_FORWARD events). But, this does not work well (the event is not triggered under all circumstances).

The Hook will call the MouseProc function:

 private int MouseProc(int code, IntPtr wParam, ref MOUSEHOOKSTRUCTEX lParam)
        if (code != HC_ACTION)
          return CallNextHookEx(hhook, code, wParam, ref lParam);

        if (wParam.ToInt32() == WM_XBUTTONUP)
          switch (HiWord(lParam.mouseData))
            case XBUTTON1:
              Debug.Write("mouse back button\n");
              _applicationObject.ExecuteCommand("View.NavigateBackward", "");
            return 1;

            case XBUTTON2:
              Debug.Write("mouse forward button\n");
              _applicationObject.ExecuteCommand("View.NavigateForward", "");
            return 1;




      return CallNextHookEx(hhook, code, wParam, ref lParam);

MOUSEHOOKSTRUCTEX is an updated version of MOUSEHOOKSTRUCT which supports the extra mouse buttons. If the wParam is WM_XBUTTONUP, one of the mouse thumb-buttons was released. You can find out which one was released using the hi-word of lParam.mouseData:

  • XBUTTON1: backward button
  • XBUTTON2: forward button

Finally, ExecuteCommand() is used to call the navigation functionality of Visual Studio:

_applicationObject.ExecuteCommand("View.NavigateBackward", "");
_applicationObject.ExecuteCommand("View.NavigateForward", "");


  • 0.2: Checks if the mouse button is pressed inside a C++ editor window.
  • 0.1: Initial version.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The GNU General Public License (GPLv3)


About the Author

Jochen Baier

Germany Germany
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberAldus@Monitor6-Aug-10 3:22 
GeneralWindows 7 64-bit PinmemberBenoit Chaperot15-Jul-10 1:24 
GeneralBeen Looking For This For a Long Time !! PinmemberBill Gord16-Feb-10 6:39 
GeneralAuthors tip: Version for Visual Studio 2010 available PinmemberJochen Baier7-Feb-10 9:44 
GeneralWorks in Visual Studio 2005, too Pinmemberscott sanders16-Dec-09 18:26 
GeneralOk, this is a bit of a long shot... PinmemberLongShot_0117-Jul-09 5:34 
But does anyone actually have the source code (headers and .cs or .cpp files)? I have an 8 button mouse and I'd like to modify the code to change some of my mouse bindings within VS 2008. Thanks!
GeneralRe: Ok, this is a bit of a long shot... PinmemberJochen Baier18-Jul-09 9:41 
GeneralAwesome Pinmemberdcrobbins12-Sep-08 4:34 
GeneralHelp PinmembervbMr'J23-Jul-08 9:55 
GeneralRe: Help PinmemberMember 434649423-Jul-08 11:40 
GeneralVery nice PinmemberMicah.code.project5-Jun-08 6:51 

General General    News News    Suggestion Suggestion    Question Question    Bug Bug    Answer Answer    Joke Joke    Rant Rant    Admin Admin   

Use Ctrl+Left/Right to switch messages, Ctrl+Up/Down to switch threads, Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right to switch pages.

| Advertise | Privacy | Terms of Use | Mobile
Web02 | 2.8.150414.1 | Last Updated 28 Sep 2008
Article Copyright 2008 by Jochen Baier
Everything else Copyright © CodeProject, 1999-2015
Layout: fixed | fluid