Mouse Recorder - Documentation

Disclaimer: The documentation is beta

Introduction

Mouse Recorder can record your mouse movement, mouse clicks, scroll-wheel actions and keyboard input and playback the recorded automation procedures infinitely. You can automate any activity in any windows application.

Macro recordings can be exported to the popular Text Expander for Windows, PhraseExpress. Such exported macros are stored and organized like a regular text snippet in PhraseExpress, thus can be shared in a company network with its client-/server architecture or triggered by hotkeys or Autotext text abbreviations.

Mouse Recorder can perform complex tasks without any programming skills.

Main features

  • Recording of mouse movements, mouse clicks and scroll-wheel actions.
  • Recording of keystrokes.
  • Wait for specific window states (e.g. wait until a web page is loaded).
  • Macro export for use with PhraseExpress.
  • Built-in macro step-by-step editor.
  • Variable playback speed.

Special benefits

  • Works in any program as it simulates generic mouse & keyboard actions.
  • Smart application windows auto-resize.
  • Mouse Recorder can smooth edgy mouse movements for professional software tutorial video creation.
  • Advanced editing features with auto-sensing of mouse positions.
  • Smart macro optimizer to eliminate redundant automation steps.
  • Seamless integration with the popular Text Expander software PhraseExpress.
  • Can optionally run from USB thumb drives.

Use case examples

  • Automate repetitive tasks on your computer.
  • Perform advanced configuration steps and hand the recorded file for remote execution.
  • Create streamlined presentations and tutorial videos.
  • Ideal for use with screen recording software, e.g. Camtasia.
  • Auto-fill forms, generate reports, etc.
  • Perform system maintenance tasks
  • Auto-login to online accounts.
  • Auto-click websites or programs.

System requirements

  • Microsoft Windows 7/8/8.1

Installation

To install Mouse Recorder

  1. Download the installation file.
  2. Double-click the installation file and follow the on-screen instructions.
  3. Double-click the program file to launch Mouse Recorder.

We recommend to use the installation program as it will register the Mouse Recorder specific file extension ".mrf". You can then double click macro files to open them in Mouse Recorder.

Important Note

  • Always shut-down Mouse Recorder before unplugging the USB stick in order to prevent data loss!
  • You can enforce the portable mode by launching the software with the command-line parameter -portable.

First steps

Here is a quick start tutorial:

  1. Launch Mouse Recorder.
  2. Press the "Record" button on the "ribbon" toolbar.
  3. Perform some mouse moves, mouse clicks and keyboard input in any application.
  4. Press the Stop button to stop recording.
  5. Fine-tune by editing the actions recorded by Mouse Recorder, if necessary.
  6. Press the "Play" button to repeat the recorded actions.

Mouse Recorder records and playback your actions but also does so much more.

Keep reading to get the most out of the macro recorder.

Main program window

The main program window is visible after program launch or if you click the task tray icon and select "Edit macro":

[Screenshot]

Recording a macro

Record buttonPress the Record button to start recording.

Alternatively, press the hotkey you may have configured for this action.

Mouse Recorder records following actions:

  • Mouse cursor movements
  • Mouse clicks
  • Mouse wheel actions
  • Key press sequences
  • Window focus change events
  • Pauses made between actions

You can pause a recording at any time by stopping the recording. To continue recording, click "Append Recording" (sub menu under the Record button).

A separate mouse move event is added for each mouse click or every time you pause during a move for a moment of a minimum length (as specified in the recording settings).

Mouse Recorder is designed to save as many information as possible at recording time. You can edit the recording, delete unwanted parts and configure the duration of the playback later.

You can also create and record a new recording from the Text Expander PhraseExpress.

Recording tips:

  • Don't worry about mistakes - You can edit and remove unwanted actions later.
  • Take your time - You don't need to hurry up. You can adjust the playback speed later.
  • No perfection required - Mouse Recorder can beautify your mouse movements to create clean mouse paths between clicks.
  • We strongly recommend to configure hotkeys for the recording and playback commands. It will allow you to use Mouse Recorder without its main program window which eliminates the risk that it gets in the way during the recording.
  • If you record macros for playback on another computer, make sure that the playback computer's screen resolution matches the resolution of the computer where you have recorded the macro. Otherwise, mouse coordinates are shifted and mouse clicks may end in Nirvana.
  • Watch out for dynamic changes of objects. An icon on the taskbar may shift away if another program is launched. A tray icon may not be available if the corresponding program is not yet launched.
  • The time to launch programs or to complete tasks varies depending on the CPU power or energy settings for example: A laptop performs faster if connected to a power line vs. running on battery power. Give programs enough headroom to complete tasks under all expected conditions and add/increase sleep commands.
  • Make sure that the automated program user interfaces may look different: A ribbon bar may be collapsed, expanded or scrolled to either side. Prefer keyboard shortcuts over user interface mouse clicks.

Mouse Recorder can only recognize mouse and keyboard events from applications running with the same user credentials. If Mouse Recorder was launched with normal user rights, it won't recognized user input made into applications running with admin rights (e.g. the task manager). In order to catch those events, launch Mouse Recorder with admin rights, too.

Stop recording

Stop buttonPress the Stop button to stop the recording. Alternatively, press the hotkey you may have configured for this action.

After you have finished recording, Mouse Recorder shows all recorded actions in a list of individual actions. Double-click any action to edit its parameters. You can edit or delete individual actions from the list or append another recording.

You can save the recorded macro to a file.

The computer knows the mouse pointer position by its X and Y coordinates.

Mouse Recorder records the mouse movements by saving these coordinates over time along with time of the transition between the coordinates.

Play recording

Play buttonPress the Play button to playback the recording. Alternatively, press the hotkey you may have configured for this action.

To stop playback, move the mouse or press the hotkey you may have configured for this action.

Mouse Recorder warns you if the screen resolution varies from the screen resolution when recorded.

Mouse Recorder restores window positions/sizes to their size during the recording to allow the window receiving all recorded mouse clicks.

Play macro partially

To play a specific part of the entire macro, highlight the action you want to start playback from, click the arrow down area of the Play button and select the desired option.

Loop playback

To loop the macro, enter the desired number of repetitions in the ribbon bar and press Play.

Tips & tricks

Transfer the macro to our other automation software, PhraseExpress. This enterprise solution allows you to organize unlimited macro functions in a customizable folder hierarchy and to trigger your macros by pressing a hotkey or entering a text abbreviation (Autotext). Its client-/server architecture also enables you to share recorded macro functions with your team.

 

Playback options

Recorded actions can be repeated in the same way as has they have been recorded or customized for specific applications.

All playback and filters options are saved with a Mouse Recorder macro file or if transferred to PhraseExpress.

Playback speed

The default playback mode tries to match the speed of the recorded performance.

Slow and fast mouth moves are played back as such. If you paused between steps such pauses will be reproduced in the playback.

Following settings speed up the playback:

  • Playback speed settings higher than 100%
  • Filtered mouse movements.
  • Reduce millisecond values of wait time items.

Important: Make sure to limit playback speed to grant the 3rd party programs you are automating enough time to process your input. For example, a web browser requires some time to load a web page (check pixel color detection for that).

Mouse path

Mouse Recorder is so much more than just "playback" and includes advanced algorithms to streamline your mouse movements:

When you record a procedure on your computer, you may find yourself moving around with the mouse to find a specific item or fiddle with tiny elements on the desktop.

You certainly don't want those "uhm..." and "errmh" of the mouse in your mouse recording - The unique "beautifier algorithm" in Mouse Recorder streamlines edged moves or eliminate mouse movements that are not required to perform the desired automation task, e.g. mouse movements while searching for a particular items on the monitor or dead-end movements that happen when you realize that objects on the desktop are at a different location than you thought.

Mouse Recorder can filter any of them, resulting in a clean and unobtrusive recording which makes it a great companion for screen recording software, such as Camtasia.

Mouse path as recorded:

Mouse Recorder repeats the mouse path and timing in the same way as recorded. The accuracy of the mouse movements is determined by the recording settings.

 

Linear mouse paths:

Mouse Recorder replaces the recorded mouse paths with linear movements between mouse events (move or click actions). You can edit the duration of each mouse movement.

Curved (spline) mouse paths:

Mouse Recorder replaces the recorded mouse paths with smoothes curved movements between mouse events (move or click actions).

This option is ideal to streamline mouse movements for video tutorial screencasts.

Tips

  • To playback the clicks only without the movements, filter the movements from the list of actions.
  • Recordings may require playback of mouse movements "as recorded" to simulate hover effects, e.g. if an option that you want to click as the next action becomes available only after you hovered over a certain user interface element.
  • You can edit the duration of each mouse movement.

Playback filters

While Mouse Recorder records any details of your automation, you can easily filter out unwanted parts of a recording script.

To filter a specific action type, uncheck it in the Edit section of the ribbon menu bar.

The filter configuration is always stored with a Mouse Recorder file or if transferred to PhraseExpress.

Filtered events are not lost but just temporarily suppressed during playback. All filtered items re-appear if you uncheck the filter in the menu.

Editing macros

If Mouse Recorder records your performance, it creates list of individual action steps that are shown in the main program window in chronological order.

You can create such a sequence by recording your performance like a tape recorder, or you can build up an automation task by manually adding actions step-by-step.

In most cases, you probably start with a recording that you edit/tweak in a second step.

Insert a new action

Highlight any existing action (if any) under which you want to add a new action.

Select the desired action from the "Insert" section of the ribbon bar menu.

Adjust the parameters or actually "point & click" on your desktop to define the coordinate and action.

Click "OK" when finished.

Editing actions

Edit macroDouble-click any action in the list, highlight an item and press ENTER or click the "pencil" icon in the ribbon bar to edit the action parameters.

If you click any mouse action, Mouse Recorder will display the actual mouse path or mouse click position until you move to the next item or if you hover away from the selected action.

If you click a pixel color detection item, Mouse Recorder will show the position of the pixel that is monitored for a color change.

Multiple actions can be edited by selecting them with mouse or by using a combination of CTRL and/or SHIFT.

Right-click macro actions for additional options.

Auto-Optimizer

Mouse Recorder automatically strips down the recording to required macro steps by default.

However, after a post-edit session, you might have created multiple sequential wait time or character items which add clutter to the macro sequence.

Mouse Recorder can optimize the macro and combine all such redundant macro steps into single items, click on the magic wand icon in the Edit section of the ribbon menu bar.

You may want to use the Optimizer after you cleaned your macro sequence from undesired wait time events for example.

Delete an action

deleteTo delete one or more actions from the list, highlight the items with mouse and press DEL on your keyboard or the delete button the toolbar menu. The delete confirmation dialog can be configured in the program settings.

 

Macro items

Mouse click

Clicks or double-clicks at the specified position with the left/middle/right/X1/X2 mouse button as defined.

"X1" / "X2" are extra mouse buttons which may be available with advanced 5 button mouse devices.

Mouse movement

Represents the non-editable mouse path between two positions.

In playback settings, you can define at any time later, if the mouse path as originally recorded or alternatively a linear or curved "spline" path shall be used.

Mouse scroll-wheel turn

Simulates turning the mouse scroll-wheel in "virtual" pixels. The playback may be affected/translated/changed by the mouse drivers.

Key press

Simulates a key press. Mouse Recorder sends the virtual key code, scan code and extended key flag to the operating system. You can specify a key press by separate key-down and key-up events to allow adding automation in between.

Text input

This action item combines multiple key press events to increase readability in the macro list and to simplify macro editing. Technically, Mouse Recorder sends the character input as a sequence of key presses as described above.

Important note: The characters specified are not regular text, e.g. with upper/lower case or symbols. To enter a an @-symbol for example, you would need to simulate pressing ALTGR key-down, then the key where the @-symbol is shown and the then a ALTGR key-up event. You may want to use the recording function to capture such input.

To automate entering long phrases with letter case or RTF/HTML/Word formatting, please use the Text Expander PhraseExpress.

As this is a quite tedious task, we recommend to record the sequence of manual text input. Mouse Recorder will translate the text input for you.

Wait time

Pauses the macro playback for the specified time in milliseconds to make Mouse Recorder wait for the computer to finish performing operations, loading programs or websites. Important: This time may vary depending on the general CPU power of the particular computer or current CPU load. Give enough head room to make sure that the slowest computer is able to keep up with the wait times. Whenever possible, you should replace any wait time item in your macro list with the pixel color detection (described below).

For those, who took deep naps during physics lessons: 1 second = 1,000 milliseconds. 1 minute = 60,000 milliseconds.

Wait for pixel color

Pauses the macro playback until the color of a pixel of a specified coordinate changes to the specified value.

Most actions cause windows, buttons, labels or images to appear or to change. All such visuals consists of pixels of different colors. Colors change depending on the actual image or state of a button, etc.

For example, the "favicon" (Wikipedia) will show up in your browser window after the page successfully loaded. You could monitor a pixel of such favicon for a specific color that will allow Mouse Recorder to continue to perform the automation.

This function allows you to maximize the speed of your automation tasks while assuring that even the slowest of your computers are able to keep up with the macro.

Make use of it whenever possible: Record a performance, browse the macro list for wait time items and replace them with the pixel color detection function whenever possible.

You may add extra wait time items if Mouse Recorder continues with the macro too fast for the 3rd party application.

Window change

Waits for the appearance of a window, defined by its window title and class. You can leave either entry empty or use * as a placeholder in the window title/class text string.

This macro function restores the windows dimensions and position if they differ from the size at the time of recording the macro to make sure that all recorded mouse actions fit into the window. Macro playback will cancel if the window cannot be restored to the required size.

Macro actions following a window change are visually grouped by a customizable background color for better readability.

Saving and loading macros

Macros can be saved on your hard drive for later use:

Load a macro

File openUse "File/Open" to load a recorded macro into Mouse Recorder. Mouse Recorder macro files have the file extension ".mrf" (abbreviation for "Mouse Recorder File")

Alternatively, double-click a saved Mouse Recorder file to open it in Mouse Recorder.

Save a recorded macro

Save AsTo save a recorded macros to your computer, use "File/Save As".

Mouse Recorder files automatically get the file extension ".mrf" (abbreviation for "Mouse Recorder File").

Macro files contain the entire recorded sequence regardless of any current filter setting. This means, that the macro file may contain more automation information than currently being displayed.

 

Export to PhraseExpress

The real power of Mouse Recorder comes with its integration with the popular Text Expander for Windows, PhraseExpress:

  • Organize macros in a customizable tree hierarchy.
  • Trigger macros by hotkeys or autotext.
  • Link, nest, combine macros.
  • Add PhraseExpress specific macro functions (such as conditional statements, string operations, math calculations, etc) to your macros.
  • Share macros with a professional client-/server architecture.

Send to PhraseExpressTo export a recorded macros, select "File" » "Transfer to PhraseExpress" or press the PhraseExpress icon in the ribbon..

Mouse Recorder will prompt you to enter a name for the macro and trigger PhraseExpress to create a new phrase.

This new phrase consists of a single macro function {#MOUSERECORDER name} that represents the recording. The recording data is embedded in the phrase file/database. This new phrase can be used and extended in PhraseExpress just like any other phrase. You can add any other PhraseExpress macro functions before or after the {#MOUSERECORDER …} macro function or use multiple Mouse Recorder macro functions within the same phrase.

Mouse Recorder will export the actions including the filter and playback settings. You can edit the original macro sequence by double-clicking the macro function in PhraseExpress which will open Mouse Recorder with the macro sequence.

If the phrase containing a Mouse Recorder macro is executed by PhraseExpress, it will run Mouse Recorder in the background which will actually execute the macro.

Alternatively, you can save the macro as a macro file and include this macro file in a PhraseExpress phrase by the PhraseExpress macro function {#OPEN file}. In this case, PhraseExpress will open the macro file in Mouse Recorder without automatically executing it.

Program settings

SettingsClick "File" » "Settings" to open the program settings and select on of the desired sections:

Recording settings

Save mouse paths

By default, Mouse Recorder does record the path between two clicks. If you don't need those movements for your automation tasks, you can disable tracking the actual path to minimize the macro file size.

Automations may depend on mouse hover events in your 3rd party application. If the automation does only playback clicks without the mouse movements, no such mouse hover events will be triggered, such as menus that appear if you hover with the mouse over icons, etc.

If not sure, keep this setting enabled and filter mouse paths for playback later.

Minimum mouse delta

Windows defines the mouse position by X-/Y-coordinates. To record mouse actions, Mouse Recorder takes X/Y samples of the mouse position in time intervals if the mouse is moved for a minimum required distance as defined with the parameter "Minimum mouse delta".

Decrease this value to record precise drawing actions. As even tiny mouse movements are recognized, many macro actions will be recorded which significantly increases macro recording file size.

Low mouse delta parameter values reduce the number of coordinates recorded to recreate the mouse movement.  
   

High mouse delta value increases accuracy of the mouse recording.

This setting is only relevant if you playback the recordings using the playback option "playback as recorded".

Mouse sensitivity

"Mouse sensitivity" determines the sample time rate Mouse Recorder is using to check the current mouse position. The higher the sample-rate, the higher the accuracy of the mouse recording.

You only need to lower this value if you experience that Mouse Recorder slows down the computer.

Keyboard recording settings

A computer recognizes if you press down a key and if you release it as abstract and distinctive actions. The operating system interpret such key strokes and map the keys to a specific character, depending on the currently selected keyboard layout (see Wikipedia for details).

Depending on how you wish to use the recording, you can configure Mouse Recorder how to interpret and record key strokes. Mouse Recorder can combine key strokes and save just output char or even a chunk of text.

Option "Save keys as characters if possible" saves the characters as they are interpreted by the operating system with the current keyboard layout at the time of recording. This makes the recording independent of the currently selected keyboard layout setting.

Option "Save characters as text" combine multiple characters into a chunk of text which is output as fast as possible on playback.

Option "Ignore multiple modifier key down events" eliminates continues key down events while pressing hotkeys during macro recording. Disable this option for example when recording games (which may interpret such repetitive key down events).

Miscellaneous

Parameter "Minimum wait time" defines the minimum time required to add a new action item in the recording. Example: If you move the mouse, make a pause and then continue to move the mouse, the parameter determines that the pause causes the action to break into two separate mouse movements.

Playback settings

Block keys

The option "Block keys" blocks any keyboard input during playback.

Pause on mouse move / key press

"Pause on mouse move" stops macro playback in the moment you move the mouse.

"Pause on key press" stops playback if you press any key.

Restore mouse position after playback

This option restores the mouse cursor position where it was right before you started the playback.

Fix target window size

Mouse Recorder stores the window size and position for each 3rd party program window you are controlling while you record a macro. The option "Fix target window size if possible" tries to resize and reposition those windows if they have been moved into another position in the meantime or if the macro is executed on another computer. Macro playback is aborted if the window could not be found or if the monitor size is too small for the required windows size.

Use relative mouse positions

Mouse Recorder controls the mouse cursor by sending absolute coordinates to Windows, e.g. (x=100px, y=200px). A few CAD programs or games only work with relative coordinates which define mouse positions relative to the previous mouse positions.

Hotkey settings

Hotkeys allow you to start/stop macro recording and playback without the need to open the main program window.

Mouse Recorder can stay minimized to eliminate any interference with your actual automation task and to save desktop real estate.

We strongly recommend to use a key together with a combination of the SHIFT, ALT and/or CTRL key, e.g. CTRL-ALT-F9.

 

List of Mouse Recorder related files

Following list of Mouse Recorder related program files is for users interested in technical details only:

File name Explanation

MouseRecorder.exe

Main program file with the user interface and the macro record/playback engine.

mrkey.dll

Keyboard/mouse system hook that reads your keyboard input and mouse movements.

"Security" programs may mis-identify this file as a malicious keylogger. You can safely ignore this false alarm.

mrlang.dll

Language resource file that includes all text of the user interface.

unins000.exe, unins000.dat

Files created by the installation program that carries information what to remove from your system if you decide to uninstall Mouse Recorder.

C:\ProgramData]\
MouseRecorder\
config.xml

Configuration file that stores all program settings.

Uninstall Mouse Recorder

Important note

Exit the Mouse Recorder program if it is still running and remove the software with the operating system feature to remove programs (please refer to the OS documentation for more information).

If the Uninstaller informs the user that Mouse Recorder is still running while there is no Mouse Recorder tray icon, then press CTRL-SHIFT-ESC to open the task manager, switch to the tab "Processes", click "Show processes from all users", highlight the process 'MouseRecorder.exe' and force the program to quit by clicking on the 'End Process' button.

If running Mouse Recorder from a USB stick, simply delete the program folder that holds all Mouse Recorder program files.