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Global Mouse and Keyboard Library

, 8 Aug 2008 CPOL 252.8K 17.3K 303
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Easy-to-use library with global mouse and keyboard hooks and simulators.

Introduction

This article explains how to use the mouse and keyboard library that I have created. This library consists of two things: global mouse and keyboard hooks, and global mouse and keyboard simulators.

The global hooks contain a set of events that follow the .NET event model, so they should be very simple to use if you've done anything with events before.

The simulators will actually simulate mouse movements, clicks, keyboard presses, etc. This can be useful for macro recording (which is one of the sample projects), and of course, messing with your friends. Smile | :)

Background

I've found a lot of hook and simulator code out there, but a lot of it was not very organized, and a bit hard to use. The goal here is to make a very simple and easy-to-use library for mouse and keyboard operations not natively supported by .NET.

Global Hooks

This section will explain how to use the global hooks which can capture mouse and keyboard events from any application. These events are very similar to the ones that appear on Windows controls, so they should look familiar.

Using the mouse hook:

// Create the mouse hook
MouseHook mouseHook = new MouseHook();

// Capture the events
mouseHook.MouseMove += new MouseEventHandler(mouseHook_MouseMove);
mouseHook.MouseDown += new MouseEventHandler(mouseHook_MouseDown);
mouseHook.MouseUp += new MouseEventHandler(mouseHook_MouseUp);
mouseHook.MouseWheel += new MouseEventHandler(mouseHook_MouseWheel); 

// Start watching for mouse events
mouseHook.Start();

...

// Stop watching (don't forget to do this before closing application!)
mouseHook.Stop();

Using the keyboard hook:

// Create the keyboard hook
KeyboardHook keyboardHook = new KeyboardHook();

// Capture the events
keyboardHook.KeyDown += new KeyEventHandler(keyboardHook_KeyDown);
keyboardHook.KeyUp += new KeyEventHandler(keyboardHook_KeyUp);
keyboardHook.KeyPress += new KeyPressEventHandler(keyboardHook_KeyPress);

// Start watching for keyboard events
keyboardHook.Start();

...

// Stop watching (don't forget to do this before closing application!)
keyboardHook.Stop();

Note: When you are setting the events, Visual Studio will name and create a blank method for you. You only need to type this much on the event ...

keyboardHook.KeyDown +=

...and then hit TAB two times. Visual Studio will finish the rest of the line, and will go out and create the blank method for you. This is a nice feature, and saves a lot of time; use it!

Simulators

This section will explain how to use the the mouse and keyboard simulators to simulate mouse clicks and keyboard key presses. Both the KeyboardSimulator and MouseSimulator classes are static, so they are pretty simple to use.

Simulating mouse events:

// Press Left Mouse Button Down
MouseSimulator.MouseDown(MouseButton.Left);

// Let Left Mouse Button Up
MouseSimulator.MouseUp(MouseButton.Left);

// Press down and Let up Left Mouse Button
// (equivalent to two lines above)
MouseSimulator.Click(MouseButton.Left);

// Double click Left Mouse button
// (equivalent to two Click()s above)
MouseSimulator.DoubleClick(MouseButton.Left);

The code above is used to simulate pressing and letting up a certain mouse button. The one parameter is just an enumeration of the three possible mouse buttons: Left, Right, and Middle.

Moving the mouse position:

// Move mouse cursor to Top Left of screen
MouseSimulator.X = 0;
MouseSimulator.Y = 0;

// Move the mouse cursor to the right by 20 pixels
MouseSimulator.X += 20;

The X and Y above are properties. You can use them to get the current position of the mouse cursor, or you can set them to move the mouse cursor to a new location.

Keyboard simulators:

// Press the A Key Down
KeyboardSimulator.KeyDown(Keys.A);

// Let the A Key back up
KeyboardSimulator.KeyUp(Keys.A);

// Press A down, and let up (same as two above)
KeyboardSimulator.KeyPress(Keys.A);

The code above will simulate keyboard key presses. You can press a key down (first line), which doesn't let it up yet. The second line, KeyUp, will release a key that has been pressed down, the third line with do both steps in one shot.

I also included some standard keyboard shortcuts. These can all be done with the code above, but it simplifies it a bit, and makes the code a bit more readable and obvious.

// Simulate (Ctrl + C) shortcut, which is copy for most applications
KeyboardSimulator.SimulateStandardShortcut(StandardShortcut.Copy);

// This does the same as above
KeyboardSimulator.KeyDown(Keys.Control);
KeyboardSimulator.KeyPress(Keys.C);
KeyboardSimulator.KeyUp(Keys.Control);

The code above does the exact same thing twice, except the first is a bit shorter and more obvious.

A Sample Application: Global Macro Recorder

A macro recorder is a great example for this library, since we can use the hooks to record the macro, and the simulators to play back.

Check out the Macro project in the downloadable source code.

Future Additions / Revisions

I'm going to edit and add to this library over time as I get feedback. If you think something should be added, changed, or find a problem, please post in the comments section, and I'll do what I can. Thanks. Smile | :)

Revision History

  • 7/23/08: Released first version in three versions of .NET.
  • 7/28/08: Added the Application.ApplicationExit event to make sure hooks stop.
  • 8/8/08: Got rid of the debug code in the Macro example, added the MouseWheel method to the MouseSimulator class, and got rid of the duplicate MousePoint class used in MouseSimulator.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Brian Geiman
Software Developer GEA Refrigeration
United States United States
No Biography provided

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Comments and Discussions

 
Questionremote desckTop Pin
atefeh shahidifard24-Jan-15 8:23
memberatefeh shahidifard24-Jan-15 8:23 
QuestionMouseButton 4 and 5 Pin
daffyduck1879-Jan-15 11:28
memberdaffyduck1879-Jan-15 11:28 
QuestionAlt gr Pin
Member 1114633711-Oct-14 12:37
memberMember 1114633711-Oct-14 12:37 
QuestionSaving mouse keyboard events into file - and reply them later Pin
Member 1109463622-Sep-14 19:32
memberMember 1109463622-Sep-14 19:32 
QuestionKeyDown's behavior is the same as KeyPress! Pin
Hashem AL-Rifai22-Jul-14 22:54
memberHashem AL-Rifai22-Jul-14 22:54 
SuggestionMessage Automatically Removed Pin
18-Jul-14 3:04
memberMember 1093440018-Jul-14 3:04 
QuestionRecording in host application Pin
caesarh12-May-14 3:49
membercaesarh12-May-14 3:49 
Questionx86 and x64 Problem Pin
gerd8723-Mar-14 4:57
membergerd8723-Mar-14 4:57 
QuestionThis cannot work in a console Pin
Spaun199115-Jan-14 6:52
memberSpaun199115-Jan-14 6:52 
QuestionGreat job. Pin
Member 104657707-Jan-14 19:32
memberMember 104657707-Jan-14 19:32 
GeneralSave / load macro - a solution Pin
Member 103476031-Nov-13 5:02
memberMember 103476031-Nov-13 5:02 
GeneralRe: Save / load macro - a solution Pin
walter iermano23-Apr-15 12:16
memberwalter iermano23-Apr-15 12:16 
QuestionSHIFT+END Not work Pin
Member 46159775-Oct-13 3:09
memberMember 46159775-Oct-13 3:09 
QuestionNot working in .NET 4 ! Pin
Member 1019765518-Sep-13 21:53
memberMember 1019765518-Sep-13 21:53 
AnswerRe: Not working in .NET 4 ! Pin
Shashi_zen21-Sep-13 1:57
memberShashi_zen21-Sep-13 1:57 
AnswerRe: Not working in .NET 4 ! Pin
thanapon2620-Mar-14 19:09
memberthanapon2620-Mar-14 19:09 
GeneralRe: Not working in .NET 4 ! Pin
Member 1050464125-Jul-15 22:05
memberMember 1050464125-Jul-15 22:05 
Questionplay macro in game Pin
ragil.sa21-Aug-13 7:13
memberragil.sa21-Aug-13 7:13 
QuestionHow to convert char to it's corresponding KeyCode value? Pin
HallurA23-Jun-13 14:26
memberHallurA23-Jun-13 14:26 
QuestionReplication Does not work Pin
Member 99274632-Apr-13 3:11
memberMember 99274632-Apr-13 3:11 
Questionmouse control Pin
qazxqazx11-Mar-13 6:30
memberqazxqazx11-Mar-13 6:30 
QuestionMouseKeyboardLibrary program Pin
rajatdas20058-Jan-13 2:01
memberrajatdas20058-Jan-13 2:01 
QuestionShif+Left Pin
Member 967060910-Dec-12 2:33
memberMember 967060910-Dec-12 2:33 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
dinhcongthang3-Dec-12 14:31
memberdinhcongthang3-Dec-12 14:31 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
jfln21-Nov-12 3:32
memberjfln21-Nov-12 3:32 
GeneralGreat Code - Great Work Pin
Viraj Doshi1-Nov-12 23:22
memberViraj Doshi1-Nov-12 23:22 
GeneralVery Good! Pin
oiabc7-Sep-12 4:54
memberoiabc7-Sep-12 4:54 
QuestionMouseDown and Move Pin
arpego4-Aug-12 14:34
memberarpego4-Aug-12 14:34 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
csharpbd3-Jul-12 1:20
membercsharpbd3-Jul-12 1:20 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
ProEnggSoft7-Mar-12 18:44
memberProEnggSoft7-Mar-12 18:44 
Questionproblem with right button Pin
irFan917-Feb-12 13:38
memberirFan917-Feb-12 13:38 
QuestionProblem with Ctrl Pin
kirahvi1-Feb-12 0:23
memberkirahvi1-Feb-12 0:23 
AnswerRe: Problem with Ctrl Pin
Aderele Joseph23-Oct-12 13:48
memberAderele Joseph23-Oct-12 13:48 
QuestionNice work! Pin
Roy Barina27-Jan-12 9:55
memberRoy Barina27-Jan-12 9:55 
QuestionRequest Pin
mschotamaster16-Dec-11 17:12
membermschotamaster16-Dec-11 17:12 
Questionhow can we save the recorded macro? Pin
mschotamaster16-Dec-11 17:10
membermschotamaster16-Dec-11 17:10 
QuestionGlobal Macro Record Example - Not responding itself Pin
Pham Van Luan8-Dec-11 4:13
memberPham Van Luan8-Dec-11 4:13 
Hi CodeSummoner,

Your project makes me impressively, It works well and smoothly
But I click Global Macro Record Example form, it met an error that was not responding itself.
You can debug this error because I got stuck.

Best Regards,
PVL
QuestionGlobal Mouse and Keyboard Library Pin
shfitythrower6-Dec-11 6:35
membershfitythrower6-Dec-11 6:35 
QuestionSolve my Problem Please Pin
shfitythrower6-Dec-11 6:32
membershfitythrower6-Dec-11 6:32 
AnswerRe: Solve my Problem Please Pin
Pham Van Luan24-Dec-11 20:57
memberPham Van Luan24-Dec-11 20:57 
GeneralRe: Solve my Problem Please Pin
shfitythrower15-Jan-12 19:43
membershfitythrower15-Jan-12 19:43 
Questionproblem when using with the float data type Pin
irFan9127-Oct-11 21:53
memberirFan9127-Oct-11 21:53 
QuestionCan't run normally in .net4.0 Pin
hambor29-Aug-11 3:24
memberhambor29-Aug-11 3:24 
AnswerRe: Can't run normally in .net4.0 Pin
AuspexPT19-Nov-11 9:40
memberAuspexPT19-Nov-11 9:40 
QuestionUsing this to create a Keyboard Layout Pin
vinodonly8-Aug-11 2:37
membervinodonly8-Aug-11 2:37 
GeneralGreat work Pin
izayoikagami29-Jul-11 6:31
memberizayoikagami29-Jul-11 6:31 
Questionto use this code in .NET 4.0 Pin
BillWoodruff5-Jul-11 18:50
memberBillWoodruff5-Jul-11 18:50 
QuestionHow can I press hotkey Ctrl + C and double click Pin
lampv0120327-Jun-11 6:44
memberlampv0120327-Jun-11 6:44 
GeneralIt's not work! Pin
rakkang18-Jun-11 2:20
memberrakkang18-Jun-11 2:20 
GeneralRe: It's not work! Pin
outerhell27-Jan-14 23:44
memberouterhell27-Jan-14 23:44 

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