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Articles / Desktop Programming / Win32
Posted 23 Jul 2008


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Global Mouse and Keyboard Library

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4.94/5 (132 votes)
8 Aug 2008CPOL3 min read
Easy-to-use library with global mouse and keyboard hooks and simulators.

Image 1


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. :)


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


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

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


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

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!


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

// Let Left Mouse Button Up

// Press down and Let up Left Mouse Button
// (equivalent to two lines above)

// Double click Left Mouse button
// (equivalent to two Click()s above)

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

// Let the A Key back up

// Press A down, and let up (same as two above)

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

// This does the same as above

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

Image 2

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. :)

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.


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

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Comments and Discussions

Questionhow can i save events list to a file and load it again? Pin
behnams6614-Sep-21 9:21
Memberbehnams6614-Sep-21 9:21 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
hhppp24-Feb-21 3:06
Memberhhppp24-Feb-21 3:06 
QuestionScrolling redirection lags Pin
huhuhhuhuh2-Sep-20 12:09
Memberhuhuhhuhuh2-Sep-20 12:09 
AnswerSave and Load (working :) :) :) ) Pin
WaleedHendricks6-Aug-20 1:51
MemberWaleedHendricks6-Aug-20 1:51 
GeneralRe: Save and Load (working :) :) :) ) Pin
Member 1497935426-Mar-21 9:06
MemberMember 1497935426-Mar-21 9:06 
Questionframework 4.7.2 Pin
duup27-Apr-20 7:24
Memberduup27-Apr-20 7:24 
AnswerRe: framework 4.7.2 Pin
jakemun4-Jun-20 12:18
Memberjakemun4-Jun-20 12:18 
QuestionRaw Mouse Input Pin
wqaxs364-Oct-19 1:51
Memberwqaxs364-Oct-19 1:51 
QuestionCannot get Alt sequences to work with KeyboardSimulator Pin
Tomee6-Nov-18 3:22
MemberTomee6-Nov-18 3:22 
QuestionMany THX for effort :))) Pin
Genato2-Oct-18 19:43
MemberGenato2-Oct-18 19:43 
QuestionDidn't work in my dotnet 4.5.x WPF automation project, fix was Pin
Erling Limm8-Feb-18 2:01
MemberErling Limm8-Feb-18 2:01 
AnswerRe: Didn't work in my dotnet 4.5.x WPF automation project, fix was Pin
Serge Desmedt22-Feb-18 3:08
professionalSerge Desmedt22-Feb-18 3:08 
AnswerRe: Didn't work in my dotnet 4.5.x WPF automation project, fix was Pin
CC_CCDD28-Sep-18 14:04
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AnswerRe: Didn't work in my dotnet 4.5.x WPF automation project, fix was Pin
btarb2418-Mar-22 10:09
Memberbtarb2418-Mar-22 10:09 
QuestionMouse Drag Simulation Pin
ali.hnd12-Nov-17 20:21
Memberali.hnd12-Nov-17 20:21 
QuestionMy vote of 5 and a question Pin
marcelo.nicolet29-Jun-17 2:48
Membermarcelo.nicolet29-Jun-17 2:48 
Questionextra mouse keys Pin
Member 1324879617-Jun-17 5:47
MemberMember 1324879617-Jun-17 5:47 
QuestionOnly can run in debug Mode! Pin
vport200314-Jun-17 18:37
Membervport200314-Jun-17 18:37 
QuestionAny update on being able to suppress Mouse Clicks? Pin
rbyrnes20-Apr-17 7:30
Memberrbyrnes20-Apr-17 7:30 
QuestionHookManager.MouseUp -= HookManager_MouseUp Pin
Konstantin Zaytsev20-May-16 23:32
MemberKonstantin Zaytsev20-May-16 23:32 
Question? being interpreted as a / Pin
Member 892653918-Jan-16 1:28
MemberMember 892653918-Jan-16 1:28 
AnswerRe: ? being interpreted as a / Pin
rbyrnes20-Apr-17 7:51
Memberrbyrnes20-Apr-17 7:51 
QuestionKeyboardinput in RDP Session via mstsc.exe not caught Pin
Member 1115350028-Oct-15 5:41
MemberMember 1115350028-Oct-15 5:41 
Questioncan we save all recorded mouse/keyboard events into the file and play them from reading the file. Pin
ImmadiDeepthi27-Sep-15 18:05
MemberImmadiDeepthi27-Sep-15 18:05 
Questionremote desckTop Pin
atefeh shahidifard24-Jan-15 8:23
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