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Global hotkeys made easy

, 19 Oct 2003 99.2K 1.2K 28
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A class to facilitates global hotkeys registration and handling
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This article will show you how to use the CHotkeyHandler class in order to manage and create global hotkeys.

Using the code

#include <conio.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include "hotkeyhandler.h"

void handA(void *)
  printf("this is A\n");

void handQ(void *)
  printf("this is Q\n");

void hand1(void *param)
  WinExec((char *)param, SW_SHOW);

int main(void)
  int err, id;

  CHotkeyHandler hk;

  hk.InsertHandler(MOD_CONTROL | MOD_ALT, 'Q', handQ, id);
  hk.InsertHandler(MOD_CONTROL | MOD_ALT, 'A', handA, id);
  hk.InsertHandler(MOD_CONTROL | MOD_ALT, '1', hand1, id);

  err = hk.Start("calc.exe");
  if (err != CHotkeyHandler::hkheOk)
    printf("Error %d on Start()\n", err);
    return err;
  printf("hotkeys started!!!\ any key to stop them...\n");
  err = hk.Stop();
  return 0;

First we declare a CHotkeyHandler instance. We then start inserting the hotkeys defined by their Control key, Virtual Key, Callback function. The InsertHandler() will return us an identifier for the registered hotkey. You can use this id with the RemoveHandler(). After we have inserted our handlers you can enable the hotkeys by calling Start(). You should always check for error codes returned by the CHotkeyHandler methods. The Start() will take an optional parameter that will be passed to the registered callback when it gets invoked. We then disable all hotkeys via Stop()

For more information about error codes and other methods description please refer to the CHotkeyHandler.cpp file. That's all.


  • 9 May 2003
    • Initial CodeProject version
  • 20 Oct 2003
    • Source code updated<!------------------------------- That's it! --------------------------->


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Elias Bachaalany
Web Developer
United States United States
Elias (aka lallousx86, @0xeb) has always been interested in the making of things and their inner workings.

His computer interests include system programming, reverse engineering, writing libraries, tutorials and articles.

In his free time, and apart from researching, his favorite reading topics include: dreams, metaphysics, philosophy, psychology and any other human/mystical science.

Former employee of Hex-Rays (the creators of IDA Pro), was responsible about many debugger plugins, IDAPython project ownership and what not.

Elias currently works at Microsoft as a software security engineer.

More articles and blog posts can be found here:


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Comments and Discussions

GeneralProblem while compiling in VC++ 2008 Pin
NitsanBr30-Aug-08 12:41
memberNitsanBr30-Aug-08 12:41 
I tried running the snippet shown with the project -
I added a main function to the VS project and I'm having compilation errors.

This is the log:
1>------ Build started: Project: globalhotkeys, Configuration: Debug Win32 ------
1>c:\users\myuser\desktop\globalhks\maintest.cpp(40) : warning C4996: 'getch': The POSIX name for this item is deprecated. Instead, use the ISO C++ conformant name: _getch. See online help for details.
1> d:\program files (x86)\microsoft visual studio 9.0\vc\include\conio.h(145) : see declaration of 'getch'
1>maintest.obj : error LNK2005: "void __cdecl handA(void *)" (?handA@@YAXPAX@Z) already defined in globalhotkeys.obj
1>maintest.obj : error LNK2005: "void __cdecl handQ(void *)" (?handQ@@YAXPAX@Z) already defined in globalhotkeys.obj
1>maintest.obj : error LNK2005: "void __cdecl hand1(void *)" (?hand1@@YAXPAX@Z) already defined in globalhotkeys.obj
1>maintest.obj : error LNK2005: _main already defined in globalhotkeys.obj
1>.\Debug/globalhotkeys.exe : fatal error LNK1169: one or more multiply defined symbols found
1>Build log was saved at "file://c:\Users\Nitsan\Desktop\globalhks\Debug\BuildLog.htm"
1>globalhotkeys - 5 error(s), 1 warning(s)
========== Build: 0 succeeded, 1 failed, 0 up-to-date, 0 skipped ==========

I'm pretty new to C++ and do not understand what exactly should I do with those problems.
maintest - the cpp file containing the snippet in the article.

GeneralRe: Problem while compiling in VC++ 2008 Pin
428814-Aug-09 10:38
member428814-Aug-09 10:38 
GeneralErrors and problems Pin
Val Samko18-Oct-03 11:26
memberVal Samko18-Oct-03 11:26 
GeneralRe: Errors and problems Pin
lallous20-Oct-03 1:48
memberlallous20-Oct-03 1:48 
Generallocal hotkey Pin
shahrzad4-Aug-03 1:00
membershahrzad4-Aug-03 1:00 
GeneralRe: local hotkey Pin
Anonymous9-Aug-03 11:01
sussAnonymous9-Aug-03 11:01 
GeneralHotkeys Vs. KB Hooks Pin
sumudu12-Jun-03 6:41
membersumudu12-Jun-03 6:41 
GeneralRe: Hotkeys Vs. KB Hooks Pin
lallous18-Jun-03 3:04
memberlallous18-Jun-03 3:04 
GeneralRe: Hotkeys Vs. KB Hooks Pin
sumudu18-Jun-03 6:42
membersumudu18-Jun-03 6:42 
GeneralRe: Hotkeys Vs. KB Hooks Pin
JGHG24-Jun-04 2:04
memberJGHG24-Jun-04 2:04 
GeneralRe: Hotkeys Vs. KB Hooks Pin
lallous24-Jun-04 2:28
memberlallous24-Jun-04 2:28 
Generalsynchronous Pin
lins0121-May-03 18:58
memberlins0121-May-03 18:58 
GeneralRe: synchronous Pin
lallous22-May-03 23:56
memberlallous22-May-03 23:56 
GeneralRe: synchronous Pin
lins0127-May-03 19:49
memberlins0127-May-03 19:49 
GeneralRe: synchronous Pin
lallous27-May-03 22:28
memberlallous27-May-03 22:28 
GeneralRe: synchronous Pin
lins0128-May-03 14:47
memberlins0128-May-03 14:47 
GeneralNot exactly.. Pin
peterchen12-May-03 22:14
memberpeterchen12-May-03 22:14 
GeneralRe: Not exactly.. Pin
lallous13-May-03 21:40
susslallous13-May-03 21:40 
GeneralRe: Not exactly.. Pin
peterchen13-May-03 22:28
memberpeterchen13-May-03 22:28 
GeneralRe: Not exactly.. Pin
lallous13-May-03 22:43
memberlallous13-May-03 22:43 
GeneralExample doesn't work for me Pin
Mr.X12-May-03 3:04
memberMr.X12-May-03 3:04 
GeneralRe: Example doesn't work for me Pin
lallous25-May-03 10:12
memberlallous25-May-03 10:12 

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