Is there a way, via some command that can be invoked by the keyboard, of making Emacs think that I clicked at a particular point (so that it does whatever it would have done if I clicked there, e.g. follow link or pop up a menu)? Or that I hovered mouse at point (so that tool tip pops up)?

[Motivation: Some modes decorate the buffer, turning some text into links and so on. I may know how to do something with the mouse (e.g. click on it), but not the equivalent keyboard shortcut/command to invoke. Of course I should read documentation for the mode and learn it, but thought it's an interesting question.]

  • 3
    I am especially interested in whether you can simulate a hover with the keyboard. It is not uncommon for a tool-tip to be the easiest place to find the information I am looking for.
    – nispio
    Commented Oct 9, 2014 at 19:20
  • @nispio you can preview the tooltip at point with display-local-help
    – Malabarba
    Commented Oct 10, 2014 at 1:19
  • @Malabarba: Thanks very much; that seems to work! Commented Oct 10, 2014 at 1:46

1 Answer 1


Often, navigating to a location and pressing some key will have the same effect as clicking at that location. There's no built-in mechanism that ensures this, it's just that modes are typically written that way.

You can generate mouse events (click, double/triple/… click, button down/up, drag, motion). All mouse events have the form (TYPE POSITION . EXTRA-DATA) where TYPE is a symbol that encodes the mouse button, the nature of the action (click, drag, etc.), and the modifiers. TYPE is mouse-movement for a motion event. Call posn-at-point to generate the POSITION for the location of the point in the current buffer.

Here's some proof-of-concept code that simulates a mouse click at the cursor position when you press f11 followed by a digit. Modifiers are taken into account.

(defun make-mouse-event-at-point (base-event)
  (let ((posn (posn-at-point))
        (prefix "")
        (basic-type (event-basic-type base-event))
        (modifiers (event-modifiers base-event)))
     ((and (integerp basic-type) (>= basic-type ?0) (<= basic-type ?9))
      ;; click
      (let* ((mouse-type (intern (format "%smouse-%d" prefix (- basic-type ?0))))
             (click-count 1)
             (type (event-convert-list (append modifiers (list mouse-type)))))
        (list type posn click-count)))
      (error "Unsupported key for mouse event: %s" (event-basic-type base-event))))))
(defun simulate-mouse-event-at-point ()
  (let ((event (make-mouse-event-at-point last-input-event)))
    (setq unread-command-events (cons event unread-command-events))))

(defvar simulate-mouse-event-map (make-sparse-keymap))
(global-set-key [f11] simulate-mouse-event-map)
(define-key simulate-mouse-event-map [t] 'simulate-mouse-event-at-point)

Simulating hover looks more difficult.

  • 2
    This doesn't simulate hover, but if all you want is to see a tooltip, you can preview the tooltip at point with display-local-help
    – Malabarba
    Commented Oct 10, 2014 at 1:20
  • I'm still trying this out, but in response to the first couple of sentences: the reason I asked this question is that I'm working in a mode where the "some key" is not clear (it happens to be C-c C-, RET, but I had to look up the mode's documentation for that). Commented Oct 10, 2014 at 1:45
  • Actually this doesn't quite work. In the mode I'm working in, some piece of code is turned into a link, and clicking with the mouse opens up a menu at the point. Doing the above with f11 1 doesn't do that (it prints something in the minibuffer but it's not the equivalent of a mouse click on the link) though f11 3 does seem to be equivalent to <mouse-3> and so on. Commented Oct 10, 2014 at 1:52
  • @ShreevatsaR Maybe the mouse click action you want is bound to down-mouse-1 and not mouse-1? How can I find out in which keymap a key is bound? may help investigate this. Commented Oct 10, 2014 at 7:46

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