rMouse - Introduction

Dejan Prvulovic

2017-06-22

Automate mouse clicks and send keyboard input with rMouse

rMouse is inspired by packages like pyautogui in Python. The goal of the package is to let users create simple mouse and keyboard macros to automate user input.

The package utilizes the Java Robot Class and depends on the rJava package. Make sure the R version correspons to the Java version, e.g. 64-bit R with 64-bit Java. Troubleshooting rJava can be done via its documentation or online.

rMouse creates a Java Robot Object (jRobot) and an Mouse Info Object (jMouseInfo) upon loading. The functions provided in this package are wrapper functions to call the methods of the Java objects.

Basically, there are three function categories

Each function has a build-in emergency stop procedure. If the mouse cursor is in the top left corner at pixel(x = 0, y = 0), then the execution is suspended. By setting failSafe = FALSE as a parameter of the function, the emergency stop procedure is turned off.

Delays

Delay functions let the system wait between commands and work similar to Base R’s Sys.sleep(time).

It’s advisable to set the auto delay at the beginning:

library(rMouse)
setAutoDelay()    # default

A regular delay in milliseconds can be set with:

delay(1000)      # wait 1 second

Mouse Inputs

Moving and clicking the mouse can be done with:

move(0,0)       # move to top left corner (0,0)
move(50,30)     # move to pixel x = 50, y = 30
left()          # left click
right()         # right click

To get the current cursor position, use:

coord()       # returns a list
pos()         # prints to console
#> move(x,y)

Since the Java Robot Class does not provide a way to record mouse clicks, there is a workaround function called record(). With it you specify how often you want to record the mouse cursor and after how many seconds the position is recorded. Thereby, it is possible to record subsequent mouse positions. The function prints template code to the console, which can easily be adjusted to rapidly build a mouse macro.

# 3 records, 3 seconds in between recordings
record(n = 3, timeInterval = 3) 
#> delay(2000); move(412,668); left()
#> delay(2000); move(155,636); left() 
#> delay(2000); move(387,697); left()
Animation of record()

Animation of record()

Keyboard Input

There are two functions for keyboard input. Generally, it is possible to send numbers [0-9], letters [A-Z] & [a-z], spaces, commas and periods. Special characters are not allowed, as the raw bytes from R differ from the virtual key mapping in Java. Moreover, “ESC”, “ENTER and”TAB" keys are implemented.

type("This is a sentence.")  # a String to be typed, no spec char
type("!")                    # throws an error
specialKey("ESC")            # send ESC key
specialKey("ENTER")          # send ENTER key