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Posted 18 Apr 2008

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

, 28 Sep 2008 GPL3
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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

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralVery nice Pin
Micah.code.project5-Jun-08 5:51
memberMicah.code.project5-Jun-08 5:51 

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