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Supporting Usages in Digitizer Report Descriptors

Last Updated: 1/3/2017

A Usage is the name of a value, button, or collection in a HID report. The host makes use of the following usages when extracting data from a pen or touch device.

MemberDescriptionPageIDDevice
XX coordinate of the contact position.Desktop0x30Pen, Touch
YY coordinate of the contact position.Desktop0x31Pen, Touch
TipSet if the finger or pen is on the surface of the digitizer.Digitizer0x42Pen, Touch
In-rangeSet when the finger or pen is detected while hovering over the digitizer or in contact with the digitizer surface.Digitizer0x32Pen, Touch
ConfidenceSet when contact is a finger (not a palm or any other part of the hand that should not trigger finger input).Digitizer0x47Touch
WidthWidth of contact.Digitizer0x48Touch
HeightHeight of contact.Digitizer0x49Touch
Scan TimeRelative scan time.Digitizer0x56Touch
PressureAmount of pressure the user is applying to the contact point.Digitizer0x30Pen, Touch
BarrelSet if the button on the barrel of a stylus is pressedDigitizer0x44Pen
AzimuthThe counter-clockwise rotation of the cursor about the Z-axis.Digitizer0x3fPen, Touch
InvertSet when the opposite end of the pen is hovering over the digitizer.Digitizer0x3cPen
EraserSet when the opposite end of the pen is on the surface of the digitizer.Digitizer0x45Pen
X TiltThe angle between the Y-Z plane and the plane containing the pointer device axis and the Y axis.Digitizer0x3dPen
Y TiltThe angle between the X-Z plane and the pointer device plane; a positive Y tilt is toward the user.Digitizer0x3ePen
TwistClockwise rotation of the cursor about its own axis.Digitizer0x41Pen

Note Usages listed in the table above are known to Windows and are delivered to applications using the WM_POINTER message.

Note Pointer devices are free to support additional usages (including vendor-specific usages). Additional usages are not delivered to applications in WM_POINTER messages. The value of these usages can be retrieved by using the GetRawPointerDeviceData function. In order to make the usages accessible from the GetRawPointerDeviceData function, the usages must be located in the same report as the X and Y usages.

HID Descriptor for Digitizers

Starting with Windows 8, a touch digitizer must appear as a touch screen (page = 0x0D, usage = 0x04). A stylus digitizer must appear as an integrated pen (page = 0x0D, usage = 0x02) or an external pen (page = 0x0D, usage = 0x01). Integrated touch and pen devices are mapped to the display that they are physically connected to. External pen devices are mapped to the virtual desktop.

Required HID Usages for Digitizers

The following usages are required for all digitizers. Devices that do not support all of the required usages will not work on Windows 8:

X and Y
X and Y report the coordinates of contact. In Windows 8, a device can report two points for each contact. The first point (known as T) is considered the point that the user intended to touch while the second point (known as C) is considered the center of the contact. Devices that are capable of reporting T and C should have a usage array of two X values and two Y values. The values in the first position in the arrays are interpreted as the coordinates for T and the values in the second position are interpreted as the coordinates for C. (the report count for both usages is 2 to indicate the presence of a usage array). Devices that report C must also report the Width and Height usages. The host uses C to build the bounding rectangle around the contact. If the device only reports one X and Y pair, the host uses that pair for T and C. The sample touch descriptor includes usage arrays for both X and Y. The following extracts from the sample descriptor illustrate the difference between a device that supports only T and a device that supports T and C.

A device that reports only T must not have a usage array for the X and Y properties (that is, the report count for each usage is 1 as indicated in the following.)

0x05, 0x01,                         //       USAGE_PAGE (Generic Desk..
    0x26, 0xff, 0x0f,                   //       LOGICAL_MAXIMUM (4095)         
    0x75, 0x10,                         //       REPORT_SIZE (16)             
    0x55, 0x0e,                         //       UNIT_EXPONENT (-2)           
    0x65, 0x13,                         //       UNIT(Inch,EngLinear)                  
    0x09, 0x30,                         //       USAGE (X)                    
    0x35, 0x00,                         //       PHYSICAL_MINIMUM (0)         
    0x46, 0xb5, 0x04,                   //       PHYSICAL_MAXIMUM (1205)
    0x95, 0x01,                         //       REPORT_COUNT (1)         
    0x81, 0x02,                         //       INPUT (Data,Var,Abs)         
    0x46, 0x8a, 0x03,                   //       PHYSICAL_MAXIMUM (906)
    0x09, 0x31,                         //       USAGE (Y)                    
    0x81, 0x02,                         //       INPUT (Data,Var,Abs)

A device that supports T and C uses usage arrays for reporting the X and Y values. The report count for both X and Y is 2.

0x05, 0x01,                         //       USAGE_PAGE (Generic Desk..
    0x26, 0xff, 0x0f,                   //       LOGICAL_MAXIMUM (4095)         
    0x75, 0x10,                         //       REPORT_SIZE (16)             
    0x55, 0x0e,                         //       UNIT_EXPONENT (-2)           
    0x65, 0x13,                         //       UNIT(Inch,EngLinear)                  
    0x09, 0x30,                         //       USAGE (X)                    
    0x35, 0x00,                         //       PHYSICAL_MINIMUM (0)         
    0x46, 0xb5, 0x04,                   //       PHYSICAL_MAXIMUM (1205)
    0x95, 0x02,                         //       REPORT_COUNT (2)         
    0x81, 0x02,                         //       INPUT (Data,Var,Abs)         
    0x46, 0x8a, 0x03,                   //       PHYSICAL_MAXIMUM (906)
    0x09, 0x31,                         //       USAGE (Y)                    
    0x81, 0x02,                         //       INPUT (Data,Var,Abs)

Note These examples take advantage of the HID rule that global items stay the same for every main item until they are changed. This allows both X and Y usages to share just one entry for the report count.

Pen devices should use the first example for their descriptors since C isn’t relevant for these devices.

The following global items must be specified for the X and Y usages:

  • Logical minimum
  • Logical maximum
  • Physical minimum
  • Physical maximum
  • Unit
  • Unit Exponent

The physical range for the device and the units must be accurately reported. If the information is inaccurate, the device will not work correctly. Devices must also report data within the logical range that is specified in the report descriptor. Any reported value outside this range will be considered as invalid data and the value will be changed to the nearest boundary value (logical minimum or logical maximum).

Tip
Use the Tip switch to indicate finger or pen contact and lift-off from the digitizer surface. There should be a main item with a report size of 1. When delivering reports, the bit position should be set when the finger or pen is in contact with the digitizer surface. Otherwise, the bit should be cleared.

Scan Time
Scan Time reports relative time in units of 100 microseconds. It represents the delta from the first frame that was reported after a device starts reporting data subsequent to a period of inactivity. The first scan time received is treated as a base time for subsequent reported times. The deltas between reported scan times should reflect the scanning frequency of the digitizer. It is important to note that unlike other usages, the host does not allow any flexibility for the unit for the scan time usage. The value is expected to roll over, as only 1 byte is allocated to the counter. The scan time value should be the same for all contacts within a frame. This requirement also applies to devices that report data using the hybrid mode

Note This usage is only required for touch devices.

In-range
If the device supports Z-axis detection, the digitizer must set the In-range usage in the input report when the transducer is within the region where digitizing is possible. If the device does not support Z-axis detection, the driver should not include the In-range usage in its report descriptor.

Earlier versions of Windows have different guidelines for how touch digitizer drivers should handle in-range reporting.

Devices that support pen and touch should support NULL states for the X and Y usages in the top level collection for the pen. When the pen is detected at a height where the X and Y values cannot be accurately detected, the device should report NULL values for X and Y and set the In-range usage. NULL values simply mean values outside the specified logical range for these usages provided that the device has indicated that it supports NULL for the relevant usage. The device can then report accurate X and Y values once the stylus is close enough to the surface to make this possible. This protocol allows the host to implement palm rejection when the pen is in range.

It should be noted that the host will recognize the values outside the logical range as signifying the implementation of this protocol only if the report descriptor specifically includes the bit signifying the fact that X and Y support NULL states. Otherwise, values outside the logical range are simply moved to the nearest boundary value. The following extracts from report descriptors illustrate the difference between a device that supports NULL for X and Y and one that doesn’t. It should be noted that NULL support is only needed in the pen top level collection. Touch top level collections don’t need to support NULL for X and Y for this purpose.

Report extract with NULL support for X and Y:

0x05, 0x01,                         //     USAGE_PAGE (Generic Desktop) 42
    0x09, 0x30,                         //     USAGE (X)                    44
    0x75, 0x10,                         //     REPORT_SIZE (16)             46
    0x95, 0x01,                         //     REPORT_COUNT (1)             48
    0xa4,                               //     PUSH                         50
    0x55, 0x0d,                         //     UNIT_EXPONENT (-3)           51
    0x65, 0x13,                         //     UNIT (Inch,EngLinear)        53
    0x35, 0x00,                         //     PHYSICAL_MINIMUM (0)         55
    0x46, 0x3a, 0x20,                   //     PHYSICAL_MAXIMUM (8250)      57
    0x26, 0xf8, 0x52,                   //     LOGICAL_MAXIMUM (21240)      60
    0x81, 0x42,                         //     INPUT (Data,Var,Abs)         63
    0x09, 0x31,                         //     USAGE (Y)                    65
    0x46, 0x2c, 0x18,                   //     PHYSICAL_MAXIMUM (6188)      67
    0x26, 0x6c, 0x3e,                   //     LOGICAL_MAXIMUM (15980)      70
    0x81, 0x42,                         //     INPUT (Data,Var,Abs)         73

Report extract without NULL support for X and Y:

0x05, 0x01,                         //       USAGE_PAGE (Generic Desk..
    0x26, 0xff, 0x0f,                   //       LOGICAL_MAXIMUM (4095)         
    0x75, 0x10,                         //       REPORT_SIZE (16)             
    0x55, 0x0e,                         //       UNIT_EXPONENT (-2)           
    0x65, 0x13,                         //       UNIT(Inch,EngLinear)                  
    0x09, 0x30,                         //       USAGE (X)                    
    0x35, 0x00,                         //       PHYSICAL_MINIMUM (0)         
    0x46, 0xb5, 0x04,                   //       PHYSICAL_MAXIMUM (1205)
    0x95, 0x01,                         //       REPORT_COUNT (1)         
    0x81, 0x02,                         //       INPUT (Data,Var,Abs)         
    0x46, 0x8a, 0x03,                   //       PHYSICAL_MAXIMUM (906)
    0x09, 0x31,                         //       USAGE (Y)                    
    0x81, 0x02,                         //       INPUT (Data,Var,Abs)

See the Touch and Pen Support section for a full descriptor of a pen device that supports NULL values for X and Y.

Note This usage is required for all pen devices but is optional for touch devices.

Optional HID Usages

The following usages are optional, but you should implement them if the digitizer hardware supports them. Digitizers that do not support these usages should not include them in the report descriptor.

Width and Height
The Width and Height usages represent the width and height of the bounding box around the touch contact. The reported values should never be 0 except when an “UP” event is being reported, in which case they should be 0.

Width and Height are also exposed to application developers through the WM_POINTER message.

Confidence
Confidence is a suggestion from the device about whether the touch contact was an intended or accidental touch. If you are confident that the touch is intended, then set the confidence usage to 1 (true). Your device should reject accidental touches as thoroughly as it can while the latency stays within the required range. If you are not certain that the touch is intended, and your device did not reject the touch as accidental, then set the confidence usage to 0 (false). If your device always rejects accidental touches, you do not need to include the confidence usage.

Pressure
Pressure is a measurement of the force that the finger or pen exerts against the digitizer surface. There are no restrictions on the range allowed for pressure. However, the range specified by a device will be normalized to a range of 0 – 1024 when delivering data to client applications.

Barrel
Barrel should be set when the pen barrel button is pressed. Otherwise, it should be reset. Barrel is used by Windows to modify the function of the tip for a primary action (tap, drag) or a secondary action (right tap, right drag).

Although Pressure and Barrel are optional usages, implementing them for pen digitizers is recommended. Additional value is added for these usages: pressure defines pen stroke width, making it more realistic, and the barrel switch allows right mouse button functionality when using the pen.

X Tilt
X Tilt represents the plane angle between the Y-Z plane and the plane containing the transducer axis and the Y axis.

The physical range and logical range must be specified. The physical range must be -90 to 90. The logical range must be large enough to deliver data that is accurate to at least two decimal places. Radians can also be used for the physical range. The following list shows a typical logical and physical combination.

  • Logical minimum: -9000
  • Logical maximum: 9000
  • Unit: Degrees
  • Unit Exponent: -2
  • Physical minimum: -9000
  • Physical maximum: 9000

Y Tilt
Y Tilt represents the plane angle between the X-Z plane and the plane containing the transducer X planes.

The physical range and logical range must be specified. The physical range must be between –90 to 90. The logical range must be large enough to deliver data that is accurate to at least two decimal places. Radians can also be used for the physical range. The following list shows a typical logical and physical combination.

  • Logical minimum: 0
  • Logical maximum: 18000
  • Unit: Degrees
  • Unit Exponent: -2
  • Physical minimum: -9000
  • Physical maximum: 9000

Twist
Twist specifies the clockwise rotation of the cursor around its own major axis.

The physical range and logical range must be specified. The physical range must be 0 to 360. The logical range must be large enough to deliver data that is accurate to at least two decimal places. Radians can also be used for the physical range. In this case, the logical range must be large enough to report values that are accurate to at least four decimal places. The following list shows a typical logical and physical combination.

  • Logical minimum: 0
  • Logical maximum: 62831
  • Unit: Radians
  • Unit exponent: -4
  • Physical minimum: 0
  • Physical maximum: 62831

Azimuth
Azimuth specifies the counter-clockwise rotation of the cursor around the Z-axis through a full circular range. The physical range and logical range must be specified. The physical range must be 0 to 360 while the logical range must be large enough large enough to deliver data that is accurate to at least two decimal places. Radians can also be used for the physical range. In this case, the logical range must be large enough to report values that are accurate to at least 4 decimal places. The following list shows a typical logical and physical combination.

  • Logical minimum: 0
  • Logical maximum: 36000
  • Unit: Degrees
  • Unit Exponent: -2
  • Physical minimum: 0
  • Physical maximum: 36000

Note The Unit Exponent must be -2 when Unit is Degrees and -4 when Unit is Radians.

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