Remapping Keys (Keyboard, Mouse and Joystick)

Table of Contents


Limitation: AutoHotkey's remapping feature described below is generally not as pure and effective as remapping directly via the Windows registry. For the advantages and disadvantages of each approach, see registry remapping.

Remapping the Keyboard and Mouse

The syntax for the built-in remapping feature is OriginKey::DestinationKey. For example, a script consisting only of the following line would make A behave like B:


The above example does not alter B itself. B would continue to send the "b" keystroke unless you remap it to something else as shown in the following example:


The examples above use lowercase, which is recommended for most purposes because it also remaps the corresponding uppercase letters (that is, it will send uppercase when CapsLock is "on" or Shift is held down). By contrast, specifying an uppercase letter on the right side forces uppercase. For example, the following line would produce an uppercase B when you type either "a" or "A" (as long as CapsLock is off):


Conversely, any modifiers included on the left side but not the right side are automatically released when the key is sent. For example, the following two lines would produce a lowercase "b" when you press either Shift+A or Ctrl+A:


Mouse Remapping

To remap the mouse instead of the keyboard, use the same approach. For example:

Example Description
MButton::Shift Makes the middle button behave like Shift.
XButton1::LButton Makes the fourth mouse button behave like the left mouse button.
RAlt::RButton Makes the right Alt behave like the right mouse button.

Other Useful Remappings

Example Description
CapsLock::Ctrl Makes CapsLock become Ctrl. To retain the ability to turn CapsLock on and off, add the remapping +CapsLock::CapsLock first. This toggles CapsLock on and off when you hold down Shift and press CapsLock. Because both remappings allow additional modifier keys to be held down, the more specific +CapsLock::CapsLock remapping must be placed first for it to work.
XButton2::^LButton Makes the fifth mouse button (XButton2) produce a control-click.
RAlt::AppsKey Makes the right Alt become Menu (which is the key that opens the context menu).
RCtrl::RWin Makes the right Ctrl become the right Win.
Ctrl::Alt Makes both Ctrl behave like Alt. However, see alt-tab issues.
^x::^c Makes Ctrl+X produce Ctrl+C. It also makes Ctrl+Alt+X produce Ctrl+Alt+C, etc.
RWin::Return Disables the right Win by having it simply return.

You can try out any of these examples by copying them into a new text file such as "Remap.ahk", then launching the file.

See the Key List for a complete list of key and mouse button names.


The #HotIf directive can be used to make selected remappings active only in the windows you specify (or while any given condition is met). For example:

#HotIf WinActive("ahk_class Notepad")
a::b  ; Makes the 'a' key send a 'b' key, but only in Notepad.
#HotIf  ; This puts subsequent remappings and hotkeys in effect for all windows.

Remapping a key or button is "complete" in the following respects:

Although a remapped key can trigger normal hotkeys, by default it cannot trigger mouse hotkeys or hook hotkeys (use ListHotkeys to discover which hotkeys are "hook"). For example, if the remapping a::b is in effect, pressing Ctrl+Alt+A would trigger the ^!b hotkey only if ^!b is not a hook hotkey. If ^!b is a hook hotkey, you can define ^!a as a hotkey if you want Ctrl+Alt+A to perform the same action as Ctrl+Alt+B. For example:

^!b::ToolTip "You pressed " ThisHotkey

Alternatively, #InputLevel can be used to override the default behaviour. For example:

#InputLevel 1

#InputLevel 0
^!b::ToolTip "You pressed " ThisHotkey

If SendMode is used during script startup, it affects all remappings. However, since remapping uses Send "{Blind}" and since the SendPlay mode does not fully support {Blind}, some remappings might not function properly in SendPlay mode (especially Ctrl, Shift, Alt, and Win). To work around this, avoid using SendMode "Play" during script startup when you have remappings; then use the function SendPlay vs. Send in other places throughout the script. Alternatively, you could translate your remappings into hotkeys (as described below) that explicitly call SendEvent vs. Send.

If DestinationKey is meant to be {, it has to be escaped, for example, x::`{. Otherwise it is interpreted as the opening brace for the hotkey's function.

When a script is launched, each remapping is translated into a pair of hotkeys. For example, a script containing a::b actually contains the following two hotkeys instead:

    SetKeyDelay -1   ; If the destination key is a mouse button, SetMouseDelay is used instead.
    Send "{Blind}{b DownR}"  ; DownR is like Down except that other Send functions in the script won't assume "b" should stay down during their Send.

*a up::
    SetKeyDelay -1  ; See note below for why press-duration is not specified with either of these SetKeyDelays.
    Send "{Blind}{b Up}"

However, the above hotkeys vary under the following circumstances:

  1. When the source key is the left Ctrl and the destination key is Alt, the line Send "{Blind}{LAlt DownR}" is replaced by Send "{Blind}{LCtrl up}{LAlt DownR}". The same is true if the source is the right Ctrl, except that {RCtrl up} is used.
  2. When a keyboard key is being remapped to become a mouse button (e.g. RCtrl::RButton), the hotkeys above use SetMouseDelay in place of SetKeyDelay. In addition, the first hotkey above is replaced by the following, which prevents the keyboard's auto-repeat feature from generating repeated mouse clicks:
        SetMouseDelay -1
        if not GetKeyState("RButton")  ; i.e. the right mouse button isn't down yet.
            Send "{Blind}{RButton DownR}"
  3. When the source is a custom combination, the wildcard modifier (*) is omitted to allow the hotkeys to work.

Note that SetKeyDelay's second parameter (press duration) is omitted in the hotkeys above. This is because press-duration does not apply to down-only or up-only events such as {b down} and {b up}. However, it does apply to changes in the state of the modifier keys (Shift, Ctrl, Alt, and Win), which affects remappings such as a::B or a::^b. Consequently, any press-duration a script puts into effect during script startup will apply to all such remappings.

Since remappings are translated into hotkeys as described above, the Suspend function affects them. Similarly, the Hotkey function can disable or modify a remapping. For example, the following two functions would disable the remapping a::b.

Hotkey "*a", "Off"
Hotkey "*a up", "Off"

Alt-tab issues: If you remap a key or mouse button to become Alt, that key will probably not be able to alt-tab properly. A possible work-around is to add the hotkey *Tab::Send "{Blind}{Tab}" -- but be aware that it will likely interfere with using the real Alt to alt-tab. Therefore, it should be used only when you alt-tab solely by means of remapped keys and/or alt-tab hotkeys.

In addition to the keys and mouse buttons on the Key List page, the source key may also be a virtual key (VKnn) or scan code (SCnnn) as described on the special keys page. The same is true for the destination key except that it may optionally specify a scan code after the virtual key. For example, sc01e::vk42sc030 is equivalent to a::b on most keyboard layouts.

To disable a key rather than remapping it, make it a hotkey that simply returns. For example, F1::return would disable F1.

The following keys are not supported by the built-in remapping method:

Moving the Mouse Cursor via the Keyboard

The keyboard can be used to move the mouse cursor as demonstrated by the fully-featured Keyboard-To-Mouse script. Since that script offers smooth cursor movement, acceleration, and other features, it is the recommended approach if you plan to do a lot of mousing with the keyboard. By contrast, the following example is a simpler demonstration:

*#up::MouseMove 0, -10, 0, "R"  ; Win+UpArrow hotkey => Move cursor upward
*#Down::MouseMove 0, 10, 0, "R"  ; Win+DownArrow => Move cursor downward
*#Left::MouseMove -10, 0, 0, "R"  ; Win+LeftArrow => Move cursor to the left
*#Right::MouseMove 10, 0, 0, "R"  ; Win+RightArrow => Move cursor to the right

*<#RCtrl::  ; LeftWin + RightControl => Left-click (hold down Control/Shift to Control-Click or Shift-Click).
    SendEvent "{Blind}{LButton down}"
    KeyWait "RCtrl"  ; Prevents keyboard auto-repeat from repeating the mouse click.
    SendEvent "{Blind}{LButton up}"

*<#AppsKey::  ; LeftWin + AppsKey => Right-click
    SendEvent "{Blind}{RButton down}"
    KeyWait "AppsKey"  ; Prevents keyboard auto-repeat from repeating the mouse click.
    SendEvent "{Blind}{RButton up}"

Remapping via the Registry's "Scancode Map"



How to Apply Changes to the Registry: There are at least two methods to remap keys via the registry:

  1. Use a program like KeyTweak (freeware) to visually remap your keys. It will change the registry for you.
  2. Remap keys manually by creating a .reg file (plain text) and loading it into the registry. This is demonstrated in the archived forums.