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ydotool Build Status Release Status

Generic Linux command-line automation tool (no X!)

ydotool is not limited to Wayland. You can use it on anything as long as it accepts keyboard/mouse/whatever input. For example, X11, text console, "RetroArch OS", fbdev apps (fbterm/mplayer/SDL1/LittleVGL/Qt Embedded), etc.


This project is now refactored. (v1.0.0)


  • Rewritten in pure C99
  • No external dependencies
  • Uses a lot less memory & no dynamic memory allocation

Breaking Changes:

  • recorder removed because it's irrelevant. It will become a separate project
  • Command chaining and sleep are removed because this should be your shell's job
  • ydotool now must work with ydotoold
  • Usage of click and key are changed

Good News:

  • Some people can finally build this project offline
  • key now (only) accepts keycodes, so it's not limited to a specific keyboard layout
  • Now it's possible to implement support for different keyboard layouts in type

Important Notes

Current situation

This project is now being maintained thanks to all the people that are supporting this project!

All backers and sponsors are listed here.

How to support us

  • Donate on Patreon
  • Buy our products on our Tindie Store, if they are meaningful to you (please leave a message: ydotool user, so we can know that this purchase is for supporting ydotool)

More talks


Independent software developers in China, like us, have 10 times more life pressure than Marak, the author of faker.js. Since ydotool has the opportunity to benefit large IT companies who won't pay a penny to us, we've changed the license to AGPLv3. These large IT companies are the main cause of life pressure here, such as the "996" working hours.

Marak's fate will repeat on all open source developers eventually (of course we aren't talking about those who were born in billionare families) if we just keep fighting with each other and do nothing to improve the situation. If you make open source software as well, don't hesitate to ask for donations if you actually want them.

Also make sure you understand all the terms of AGPLv3 before using this software.


Currently implemented command(s):

  • type - Type a string
  • key - Press keys
  • mousemove - Move mouse pointer to absolute position
  • click - Click on mouse buttons


Switch to tty1 (Ctrl+Alt+F1), wait 2 seconds, and type some words:

ydotool key 29:1 56:1 59:1 59:0 56:0 29:0; sleep 2; ydotool type 'echo Hey guys. This is Austin.'

Close a window in graphical environment (Alt+F4):

ydotool key 56:1 62:1 62:0 56:0

Relatively move mouse pointer to -100,100:

ydotool mousemove -- -100 100

Move mouse pointer to 100,100:

ydotool mousemove --absolute -- 100 100

Mouse right click:

ydotool click 0xC1

Mouse repeating left click:

ydotool click --repeat 5 --next-delay 25 0xC0



This program requires access to /dev/uinput. This usually requires root permissions.

Available key names

See /usr/include/linux/input-event-codes.h

Why a background service is needed

ydotool works differently from xdotool. xdotool sends X events directly to X server, while ydotool uses the uinput framework of Linux kernel to emulate an input device.

When ydotool runs and creates a virtual input device, it will take some time for your graphical environment (X11/Wayland) to recognize and enable the virtual input device. (Usually done by udev)

So, if the delay was too short, the virtual input device may not got recognized & enabled by your graphical environment in time.

In order to solve this problem, I made a persistent background service, ydotoold, to hold a persistent virtual device, and accept input from ydotool. When ydotoold is unavailable, ydotool will try to work without it.


CMake 3.4+ is required.


mkdir build
cd build
cmake ..
make -j `nproc`


Custom keyboard layouts

Currently, ydotool does not recognize if the user is using a custom keyboard layout. In order to comfortably use ydotool alongside a custom keyboard layout, the user could use one of the following fixes/workarounds:


In sway, the process is fairly easy. Following the instructions there, you would end up with something like:

input "16700:8197:DELL_DELL_USB_Keyboard" {
	xkb_layout "us,us"
	xkb_variant "dvorak,"
	xkb_options "grp:shifts_toggle, caps:swapescape"

The identifier for your keyboard can be obtained from the output of swaymsg -t get_inputs.

Use a hardware-configurable keyboard

As mentioned here, consider using a hardware-based configuration that supports using a custom layout without configuring it in software.