This document defines events and related interfaces for handling hardware agnostic pointer input from devices like a mouse, pen, or touchscreen. For compatibility with existing mouse-based content, this specification also describes a mapping to fire [[DOM-LEVEL-3-EVENTS]] Mouse Events for pointer device types other than mouse.
This document is currently an editor's draft. This document is based on a previous Member Submission by Microsoft Corporation with changes made based on the consensus of the Working Group. Current bugs and issues are managed in Bugzilla. Action items to be completed are tracked in Tracker.

Introduction

Today, most [[HTML5]] content is used with and/or designed for mouse input. Those that handle input in a custom manner typically code to [[!DOM-LEVEL-3-EVENTS]] Mouse Events. Newer computing devices today, however, incorporate other forms of input, like touchscreens or pen input. Event types have been proposed for handling each of these forms of input individually. However, that approach requires a step function in opportunity cost to authors when adding support for a new input type. This often creates a compatibility problem when content is written with only one device type in mind. Additionally, for compatibility with existing mouse-based content, most user agents fire Mouse Events for all input types. This makes it ambiguous whether a Mouse Event represents an actual mouse device or is being produced from another input type for compatibility, which makes it hard to code to both device types simultaneously.

To reduce the cost of coding to multiple input types and also to help with the above described ambiguity with Mouse Events, this specifications defines a more abstract form of input, called a pointer. A pointer can be any point of contact on the screen made by a mouse cursor, pen, touch (including multi-touch), or other pointing input device. This model makes it easier to write sites and applications that work well no matter what hardware the user has. For scenarios when device-specific handling is desired, this specification also defines properties for inspecting the device type which produced the event. The primary goal is to provide a single set of events and interfaces that allow for easier authoring for cross-device pointer input while still allowing for device-specific handling when necessary. An additional key goal is to enable multi-threaded user agents to handle default touch actions, such as scrolling, without blocking on script execution.

While this specification defines a unified event model for a variety pointer inputs, this model does not cover other forms of input such as keyboards or keyboard-like interfaces (for instance, a screenreader or similar assistive technology running on a touchscreen-only device, which allows users sequential navigation through focusable controls and elements). While user agents might choose to also generate pointer events in response to these interfaces, this scenario is not covered in this specification.

In the first instance, authors are encouraged to provide equivalent functionality for all forms of input by responding to high-level events such as focus, blur and click. However, when using low-level events (such as Pointer Events), authors are encouraged to ensure that all types of input are supported. In the case of keyboards and keyboard-like interfaces, this might require the addition of explicit keyboard event handling. See WCAG 2.0 Guideline 2.1 for further details.

Pointer input combines input from mouse, pen, touch, etc.
A pointer is a hardware agnostic representation of input devices that can target a specific coordinate (or set of coordinates) on a screen.

The events for handling generic pointer input look a lot like those for mouse: pointerdown, pointermove, pointerup, pointerover, pointerout, etc. This facilitates easy content migration from Mouse Events to Pointer Events. Pointer Events provide all the usual properties present in Mouse Events (client coordinates, target element, button states, etc.) in addition to new properties for other forms of input: pressure, contact geometry, tilt, etc. So authors can easily code to Pointer Events to share logic between different input types where it makes sense, and customize for a particular type of input only where necessary to get the best experience.

While Pointer Events are sourced from a variety of input devices, they are not defined as being generated from some other set of device-specific events. While possible and encouraged for compatibility, this spec does not require other device-specific events be supported (e.g. mouse events, touch events, etc.). A user agent could support pointer events without supporting any other device events. For compatibility with content written to mouse-specific events, this specification does provide an optional section describing how to generate compatibility mouse events based on pointer input from devices other than a mouse.

This specification does not provide any advice on the expected behavior of user agents that support both Pointer Events and Touch Events. For more information on the relationship between these two specifications, see the Touch Events Community Group.

Examples

The following are example author code that demonstrates how the APIs in this specification might be used.

<style>
  /* Disable intrinsic user agent touch behaviors (such as panning or zooming) so 
  that all events are given to the application instead. */
  
  html { 
    touch-action: none; 
  }
</style>

<canvas id="drawSurface" width="500px" height="500px" style="border:1px solid black;"></canvas>

<script type='text/javascript'>
  var canvas = document.getElementById("drawSurface"),
  context = canvas.getContext("2d");
  
  if (window.PointerEvent) {
    canvas.addEventListener("pointermove", paint, false);
	if(window.navigator.maxTouchPoints>1)
		alert("Your user agent and hardware support multi-touch!");
  } 
  else {
	//Provide fallback for user agents that do not support Pointer Events
    canvas.addEventListener("mousemove", paint, false);
  }
  
  function paint(event) {
	if(event.buttons>0)
		context.fillRect(event.clientX, event.clientY, 5, 5);
  }
</script>
window.addEventListener("pointerdown", detectInputType, false);

function detectInputType(event) {
	switch(event.pointerType) {
		case "mouse":
			alert("You used a mouse!");
			break;
		case "pen":
			alert("You used a pen stylus!");
			break;
		case "touch":
			alert("You used touch!");
			break;	
		default:
			alert("Not sure what device was used!");
	}
}
<div style="position:absolute; top:0px; left:0px; width:100px;height:100px;"></div>
<script>
window.addEventListener("pointerdown", checkPointerSize, false);

function checkPointerSize(event) {
	event.target.style.width = event.width + "px";
	event.target.style.height = event.height + "px";
}
</script>
var event = new PointerEvent("pointerover",
   {bubbles: true, 
    cancelable: true, 
    pointerId: 42,
    pointerType: "pen",
    clientX: 300,
    clientY: 500
    });
eventTarget.dispatchEvent(event); 

Glossary

active buttons state
The condition when a pointer has a non-zero value for the buttons property. For mouse, this is when the device has at least one button depressed. For touch, this is when there is physical contact with the digitizer. For pen, this is when the pen has physical contact with the digitizer.
active pointer
Any touch contact, pen stylus, mouse cursor, or other pointer that can produce events. If it is possible for a given pointer (identified by a unique pointerId) to produce additional events, then that pointer is still considered active. Examples:
  • A mouse connected to the device is always active.
  • A touch contact on the screen is considered active.
  • If a touch contact or pen stylus is lifted beyond the range of the digitizer, then it is no longer considered active.
In some platforms, the set of active pointers includes all pointer input to the device, including any that are not targeted at the user agent (e.g. another application).
cancelled event
An event whose default action was prevented by means of preventDefault(), returning false in an event handler, or other means as defined by [[!DOM-LEVEL-3-EVENTS]] and [[!HTML5]].
contact geometry
The bounding box of an input (most commonly, touch) on a digitizer. This typically refers to devices with coarser pointer input resolution than a single pixel. Some devices do not report this data at all.
digitizer
A type of input sensing device in which a surface can detect input which is in contact and/or in close proximity. Most commonly, this is the surface that sense input from touch contact or a pen stylus.
hit test
The process by which a user agent determines a target element for a pointer event. Typically, this is determined by considering the pointer's location and also the visual layout of elements in a document on screen media.
pointer
A hardware agnostic representation of input devices that can target a specific coordinate (or set of coordinates) on a screen, such as a mouse, pen, or touch contact.
user agent
A program, such as a browser or content authoring tool, normally running on a client machine, which acts on a user's behalf in retrieving, interpreting, executing, presenting, or creating content.
queue a task
Adding the task to events task queue of the relevant event loop, as defined in [[!HTML5]].

Pointer Events and Interfaces

PointerEvent Interface

readonly attribute long pointerId

A unique identifier for the pointer causing the event. This identifier MUST be unique from all other active pointers at the time. A user agent MAY recycle previously retired values for pointerId from previous active pointers, if necessary.

The pointerId selection algorithm is implementation specific. Therefore authors cannot assume values convey any particular meaning other than an identifier for the pointer that is unique from all other active pointers. As an example, values are not guaranteed to be monotonically increasing.
readonly attribute long width
The width (magnitude on the X axis), in CSS pixels (see [[CSS21]]), of the contact geometry of the pointer. This value MAY be updated on each event for a given pointer. For devices which have a contact geometry but the actual geometry is not reported by the hardware, a default value SHOULD be provided by the user agent to approximate the geometry typical of that pointer type. Otherwise, the value MUST be 0.
readonly attribute long height
The height (magnitude on the Y axis), in CSS pixels (see [[CSS21]]), of the contact geometry of the pointer. This value MAY be updated on each event for a given pointer. For devices which have a contact geometry but the actual geometry is not reported by the hardware, a default value SHOULD be provided by the user agent to approximate the geometry typical of that pointer type. Otherwise, the value MUST be 0.
readonly attribute float pressure
The normalized pressure of the pointer input in the range of [0,1], where 0 and 1 represent the minimum and maximum pressure the hardware is capable of detecting, respectively. For hardware that does not support pressure, including but not limited to mouse, the value MUST be 0.5 when in the active buttons state and 0 otherwise.
readonly attribute long tiltX

The plane angle (in degrees, in the range of [-90,90]) between the Y-Z plane and the plane containing both the transducer (e.g. pen stylus) axis and the Y axis. A positive tiltX is to the right. tiltX can be used along with tiltY to represent the tilt away from the normal of a transducer with the digitizer. For devices that do not report tilt, the value MUST be 0.

tiltX explanation diagram
Positive tiltX.
readonly attribute long tiltY
The plane angle (in degrees, in the range of [-90,90]) between the X-Z plane and the plane containing both the transducer (e.g. pen stylus) axis and the X axis. A positive tiltY is towards the user. tiltY can be used along with tiltX to represent the tilt away from the normal of a transducer with the digitizer. For devices that do not report tilt, the value MUST be 0.
tiltY explanation diagram
Negative tiltY.
readonly attribute DOMString pointerType

Indicates the device type that caused the event (mouse, pen, touch, etc.). If a user agent is to fire a pointer event for a mouse, pen stylus, or touch input device, then the value of pointerType MUST be according to the following table:

Pointer Device TypepointerType Value
Mousemouse
Pen Styluspen
Touch Contacttouch

If the device type cannot be detected by the user agent, then the value MUST be an empty string. If a user agent supports pointer device types other than those listed above, the value of pointerType SHOULD be vendor prefixed to avoid conflicting names for different types of devices. Future specifications MAY provide additional normative values for other device types.

See the examples in the appendix for sample code.
readonly attribute boolean isPrimary
Indicates if the pointer represents the primary pointer of this pointer type.
long pointerId = 0
Initializes the pointerId property of the PointerEvent object.
long width = 0
Initializes the width property of the PointerEvent object.
long height = 0
Initializes the height property of the PointerEvent object.
float pressure = 0
Initializes the pressure property of the PointerEvent object.
long tiltX = 0
Initializes the tiltX property of the PointerEvent object.
long tiltY = 0
Initializes the tiltY property of the PointerEvent object.
DOMString pointerType = ""
Initializes the pointerType property of the PointerEvent object.
boolean isPrimary = false
Initializes the isPrimary property of the PointerEvent object.
The PointerEventInit dictionary is used by the PointerEvent interface's constructor to provide a mechanism by which to construct untrusted (synthetic) pointer events. It inherits from the MouseEventInit dictionary defined in [[!DOM-LEVEL-3-EVENTS]]. The steps for constructing an event are defined in [[!DOM4]]. See the examples for sample code demonstrating how to fire an untrusted pointer event.

Button States

Chorded Button Interactions

Some pointer devices, such as mouse or pen, support multiple buttons. In the [[!DOM-LEVEL-3-EVENTS]] Mouse Event model, each button press produces a mousedown and mouseup event. To better abstract this hardware difference and simplify cross-device input authoring, Pointer Events do not fire overlapping pointerdown and pointerup events for chorded button presses (depressing an additional button while another button on the pointer device is already depressed).

Instead, chorded button presses can be detected by inspecting changes to the button and buttons properties. The button and buttons properties are inherited from the [[!DOM-LEVEL-3-EVENTS]] MouseEvent interface. In order to facilitate differentiating button state transitions in any pointer event (and not just pointerdown and pointerup), the button property takes on a new value when no mouse buttons are depressed:

Device Button Statebuttonbuttons
Mouse move with no buttons pressed-10
Left Mouse,
Touch Contact,
Pen contact (with no modifier buttons pressed)
01
Middle Mouse14
Right Mouse,
Pen contact with barrel button pressed
22
X1 (back) Mouse38
X2 (forward) Mouse416
Pen contact with eraser button pressed532
These values only apply when firing pointer events. This specification does not alter the values of button or buttons used when firing mouse events. See [[DOM-LEVEL-3-EVENTS]] for the values when firing mouse events.

The Primary Pointer

In a multi-pointer (e.g. multi-touch) scenario, the isPrimary property is used to identify a master pointer amongst the set of active pointers for each pointer type. Only a primary pointer will produce compatibility mouse events. Authors who desire single-pointer interaction can achieve this by ignoring non-primary pointers (however, see the note below on multiple primary pointers) .

Determining the primary pointer

When firing a pointer event, a pointer is considered primary if:
  • The pointer represents a mouse device.
  • The pointer represents a primary touch input.
  • The pointer represents a primary pen input.
primary touch input
A pointer representing touch input is considered the primary touch input if its pointerdown event was dispatched when no other active pointers representing touch input existed.
primary pen input
A pointer representing pen input is considered the primary pen input if its pointerdown event was dispatched when no other active pointers representing pen input existed.
When two or more pointer device types are being used concurrently, multiple pointers (one for each pointerType) are considered primary. For example, a touch contact and a mouse cursor moved simultaneously will produce pointers that are both considered primary.
In the case where there are multiple primary pointers, these pointers will all produce compatibility mouse events.
In some platforms, the primary pointer is determined using all active pointers on the device, including those not targeted at the user agent (e.g. in another application). This means it is possible for the user agent to fire pointer events in which no pointer is marked as a primary pointer. For example, if the first touch interaction is targeted outside the user agent and a secondary (multi-touch) touch interaction is targeted inside the user agent, then the user agent may fire pointer events for the second contact with a value of false for isPrimary.

Pointer Event Types

Firing events using the PointerEvent interface

To fire a pointer event name e means to fire an event named e as defined in [[!DOM4]] with an event using the PointerEvent interface whose attributes are set as defined in PointerEvent Interface.

Initialize the bubbles attribute for the event to true if the event name is

  • pointerdown
  • pointerup
  • pointercancel
  • pointermove
  • pointerover
  • pointerout
  • gotpointercapture
  • lostpointercapture

Initialize the cancelable attribute for the event to true if the event name is

  • pointerdown
  • pointerup
  • pointermove
  • pointerover
  • pointerout

The target object at which the event is fired is determined as follows:

List of Pointer Events

The following table provides a summary of the event types defined in this specification.

Event TypeSync/AsyncBubblesCancellableTrusted proximal event target typesEvent object interfaceDefault Action
pointerover Sync Yes Yes Document, Element PointerEvent Varies: when the pointer is primary, all default actions of mouseover
pointerenter Sync No No Document, Element PointerEvent Varies: when the pointer is primary, all default actions of mouseenter
pointerdown Sync Yes Yes Document, Element PointerEvent Varies: when the pointer is primary, all default actions of the mousedown event.
Cancelling this event also sets the PREVENT MOUSE EVENT flag for this pointerType, which prevents subsequent firing of certain compatibility mouse events.
pointermove Sync Yes Yes Document, Element PointerEvent Varies: when the pointer is primary, all default actions of mousemove
pointerup Sync Yes Yes Document, Element PointerEvent Varies: when the pointer is primary, all default actions of mouseup
pointercancel Sync Yes No Document, Element PointerEvent None
pointerout Sync Yes Yes Document, Element PointerEvent Varies: when the pointer is primary, all default actions of mouseout
pointerleave Sync No No Document, Element PointerEvent Varies: when the pointer is primary, all default actions of mouseleave
gotpointercapture Async Yes No Element PointerEvent None
lostpointercapture Async Yes No Element PointerEvent None

In the case of the primary pointer, these events (with the exception of gotpointercapture, and lostpointercapture may also fire compatibility mouse events.

The pointerover event

A user agent MUST fire a pointer event named pointerover when a pointing device is moved into the hit test boundaries of an element. A user agent MUST also fire this event prior to firing a pointerdown event for devices that do not support hover (see pointerdown).

The pointerenter event

A user agent MUST fire a pointer event named pointerenter when a pointing device is moved into the hit test boundaries of an element or one of its descendants, including as a result of a pointerdown event from a device that does not support hover (see pointerdown). This event type is similar to pointerover, but differs in that it does not bubble.
There are similarities between this event type, the mouseenter event described in [[DOM-LEVEL-3-EVENTS]], and the CSS :hover pseudo-class described in [[CSS21]]. See also the pointerleave event.

The pointerdown event

A user agent MUST fire a pointer event named pointerdown when a pointer enters the active buttons state. For mouse, this is when the device transitions from no buttons depressed to at least one button depressed. For touch, this is when physical contact is made with the digitizer. For pen, this is when the stylus makes physical contact with the digitizer.

For mouse (or other multi-button pointer devices), this means pointerdown and pointerup are not fired for all of the same circumstances as mousedown and mouseup. See chorded buttons for more information.

For input devices that do not support hover, a user agent MUST also fire a pointer event named pointerover followed by a pointer event named pointerenter prior to dispatching the pointerdown event.

Authors can prevent the firing of certain compatibility mouse events by cancelling the pointerdown event (if the isPrimary property is true). This sets the PREVENT MOUSE EVENT FLAG on the pointer. Note, however, that this does not prevent the mouseover, mouseenter, mouseout, or mouseleave events from firing.

The pointermove event

A user agent MUST fire a pointer event named pointermove when a pointer changes coordinates. Additionally, when a pointer changes button state, pressure, tilt, or contact geometry (e.g. width and height) and the circumstances produce no other pointer events defined in this specification then a user agent MUST fire a pointer event named pointermove.

The pointerup event

A user agent MUST fire a pointer event named pointerup when a pointer leaves the active buttons state. For mouse, this is when the device transitions from at least one button depressed to no buttons depressed. For touch, this is when physical contact is removed from the digitizer. For pen, this is when the pen is removed from physical contact with the digitizer.

For input devices that do not support hover, a user agent MUST also fire a pointer event named pointerout followed by a pointer event named pointerleave after dispatching the pointerup event.

For mouse (or other multi-button pointer devices), this means pointerdown and pointerup are not fired for all of the same circumstances as mousedown and mouseup. See chorded buttons for more information.

The pointercancel event

A user agent MUST fire a pointer event named pointercancel in the following circumstances:
  • The user agent has determined that a pointer is unlikely to continue to produce events (for example, because of a hardware event).
  • After having fired the pointerdown event, the pointer is subsequently used to manipulate the page viewport (e.g. panning or zooming).

After firing the pointercancel event, a user agent MUST also fire a pointer event named pointerout followed by firing a pointer event named pointerleave.

This section is non-normative.

Examples of scenarios in which a user agent might determine that a pointer is unlikely to continue to produce events include:

  • A device's screen orientation is changed while a pointer is active.
  • The user inputs a greater number of simultaneous pointers than is supported by the device.
  • The user agent interprets the input as accidental (for example, the hardware supports palm rejection).

Methods for changing the device's screen orientation, recognizing accidental input, or using a pointer to manipulate the viewport (e.g. panning or zooming) are out of scope for this specification.

The pointerout event

A user agent MUST fire a pointer event named pointerout when any of the following occurs:
  • A pointing device is moved out of the hit test boundaries of an element
  • After firing the pointerup event for a device that does not support hover (see pointerup)
  • After firing the pointercancel event (see pointercancel)
  • When a pen stylus leaves the hover range detectable by the digitizer

The pointerleave event

A user agent MUST fire a pointer event named pointerleave when a pointing device is moved off of the hit test boundaries of an element and all of its descendants, including as a result of a pointerup and pointercancel events from a device that does not support hover (see pointerup and pointercancel). User agents MUST also fire a pointer event named pointerleave when a pen stylus leaves hover range detectable by the digitizer. This event type is similar to pointerout, but differs in that it does not bubble and that it MUST not be fired until the pointing device has left the boundaries of the element and the boundaries of all of its descendants.
There are similarities between this event type, the mouseleave event described in [[DOM-LEVEL-3-EVENTS]], and the CSS :hover pseudo-class described in [[CSS21]]. See also the pointerenter event.

The gotpointercapture event

A user agent MUST queue a task to fire a pointer event named gotpointercapture prior to firing the first pointer event after pointer capture is set for a pointer. This event is fired at the element that is receiving pointer capture. Subsequent events for that pointer will be fired at this element. See Setting Pointer Capture.

The lostpointercapture event

A user agent MUST queue a task to fire a pointer event named lostpointercapture after pointer capture is released for a pointer. This event MUST be fired prior to any subsequent events for the pointer after capture was released. This event is fired at the element from which pointer capture was removed. Subsequent events for the pointer follow normal hit testing mechanisms (out of scope for this specification) for determining the event target. See Releasing Pointer Capture and Implicit Release of Pointer Capture.

Extensions to the Element interface

The following section describes extensions to the existing Element interface, defined in [[!HTML5]], to facilitate the setting and releasing of pointer capture.

attribute EventHandler ongotpointercapture
The event handler IDL attribute (see [[!HTML5]]) for the gotpointercapture event type.
attribute EventHandler onlostpointercapture
The event handler IDL attribute (see [[!HTML5]]) for the lostpointercapture event type.
void setPointerCapture(long pointerId)

Sets pointer capture for the pointer identified by the argument pointerId to the element on which this method is invoked. Subsequent events for the pointer MUST always be targeted at this element. The pointer MUST be in its active buttons state for this method to be effective, otherwise it fails silently. Throws a DOMException with the name InvalidPointerId when the provided the method's argument does not match any of the active pointers.

void releasePointerCapture(long pointerId)

Releases pointer capture for the pointer identified by the argument pointerId from the element on which this method is invoked. Subsequent events for the pointer follow normal hit testing mechanisms (out of scope for this specification) for determining the event target. Throws a DOMException with the name InvalidPointerId when the provided the method's argument does not match any of the active pointers.

Extensions to the GlobalEventHandlers interface

The following section describes extensions to the existing GlobalEventHandlers interface, defined in [[!HTML5]], to facilitate the event handler registration.

attribute EventHandler onpointerdown
The event handler IDL attribute (see [[!HTML5]]) for the pointerdown event type.
attribute EventHandler onpointermove
The event handler IDL attribute (see [[!HTML5]]) for the pointermove event type.
attribute EventHandler onpointerup
The event handler IDL attribute (see [[!HTML5]]) for the pointerup event type.
attribute EventHandler onpointercancel
The event handler IDL attribute (see [[!HTML5]]) for the pointercancel event type.
attribute EventHandler onpointerover
The event handler IDL attribute (see [[!HTML5]]) for the pointerover event type.
attribute EventHandler onpointerout
The event handler IDL attribute (see [[!HTML5]]) for the pointerout event type.
attribute EventHandler onpointerenter
The event handler IDL attribute (see [[!HTML5]]) for the pointerenter event type.
attribute EventHandler onpointerleave
The event handler IDL attribute (see [[!HTML5]]) for the pointerleave event type.

Extensions to the Navigator interface

The Navigator interface is defined in [[!HTML5]]. This specification extends the Navigator interface to provide device and feature detection support.

readonly attribute long maxTouchPoints

The maximum number of simultaneous touch contacts supported by the device. In the case of devices with multiple digitizers (e.g. multiple touchscreens), the value MUST be the maximum of the set of maximum supported contacts by each individual digitizer.

For example, suppose a device has 3 touchscreens, which support 2, 5, and 10 simultaneous touch contacts, respectively. The value of maxTouchPoints is 10.

maxTouchPoints is often used to ensure that the interaction model of the content can be recognized by the current hardware. UI affordances can be provided to users with less capable hardware. On platforms where the precise number of touch points is not known, the minimum number guaranteed to be recognized is provided. Therefore, it is possible for the number of recognized touch points to exceed the value of maxTouchPoints.

Declaring candidate regions for default touch behaviors

For touch input, the default action of any and all pointer events MUST NOT be a manipulation of the viewport (e.g. panning or zooming).

Touch manipulations are intentionally not a default action of pointer events. Removing this dependency on the cancellation of events facilitates performance optimizations by the user agent.

The touch-action CSS property

Name:touch-action
Value:auto | none | [ pan-x || pan-y ] | manipulation
Initial:auto
Applies to:all elements except: non-replaced inline elements, table rows, row groups, table columns, and column groups
Inherited:no
Percentages:N/A
Media:visual
Computed value:Same as specified value.

The touch-action CSS property determines whether touch input MAY trigger default behavior supplied by user agent. This includes, but is not limited to, behaviors such as panning or zooming.

Values have the following meanings:

auto
The user agent MAY determine any permitted touch behaviors, such as panning and zooming manipulations of the viewport, for touches that begin on the element.
none
Touches that begin on the element MUST NOT trigger default touch behaviors.
pan-x
The user agent MAY consider touches that begin on the element only for the purposes of horizontally scrolling the element's nearest ancestor with horizontally scrollable content.
pan-y
The user agent MAY consider touches that begin on the element only for the purposes of vertically scrolling the element's nearest ancestor with vertically scrollable content.
manipulation
The user agent MAY consider touches that begin on the element only for the purposes of scrolling and continuous zooming. Any additional behaviors supported by auto are out of scope for this specification.
The terms "pan" and "scroll" are considered synonymous. Defining an interaction or gesture for triggering panning or scrolling, or for triggering behavior for the auto or none values are out of scope for this specification.
The touch-action property only applies to elements that support both the CSS width and height properties (see [[CSS21]] ). This restriction is designed to facilitate user agent optimizations for low-latency touch actions. For elements not supported by default, such as <span> which is a non-replaced inline element (see [[HTML5]]), authors can set the display CSS property to a value, such as block, that supports width and height. Future specifications could extend this API to all elements.

When a user touches an element, the effect of that touch is determined by the value of the touch-action property and the default touch behaviors on the element and its ancestors. To determine the effect of a touch, find the nearest ancestor (starting from the element itself) that has a default touch behavior. Then examine the touch-action property of each element between the hit tested element and the element with the default touch behavior (including both the hit tested element and the element with the default touch behavior). If the touch-action property of any of those elements disallows the default touch behavior, do nothing. Otherwise allow the element to start considering the touch for the purposes of executing a default touch behavior.

For the purposes of determining the touched element and its touch-action value, "Applies to: block-level elements" means a user agent only considers the border box of block-level elements in the document when performing the hit test. It is possible that the touched element used in the touch-action processing algorithm is not the same as the target element of the pointerdown event.
Some user agents support touch actions triggered by interactions of multiple concurrent pointers (e.g. multi-touch). Methods for processing or associating the touch-action values of multiple concurrent pointers is out of scope for this specification.

During the execution of a behavior, the user agent MUST NOT fire subsequent pointer events for the pointer. The user agent MUST fire a pointer event named pointercancel (and subsequently a pointerout event) whenever all of the following are true, in order to end the stream of events for the pointer:

  • The user agent has determined (via methods out of scope for this specification) that touch input is to be consumed for a touch behavior,
  • a pointerdown event has been sent for the pointer, and
  • a pointerup or pointercancel event (following the above mentioned pointerdown) has not yet been sent for the pointer.
<div style="touch-action: none;">
    This element receives pointer events for all touches.
</div>
<div style="touch-action: pan-x;">
    This element receives pointer events when not panning in the horizontal direction.
</div>
<div style="overflow: auto;">
    <div style="touch-action: none;">
        This element receives pointer events for all touches.
    </div>
    <div>
        Touches on this element MAY be consumed for manipulating the parent.
    </div>
</div>	
<div style="overflow: auto;">
    <div style="touch-action: pan-y;">
        <div style="touch-action: pan-x;">
            This element receives pointer events for all touches because
            it allows only horizontal panning yet an intermediate ancestor 
            (between it and the pannable element) only allows vertical panning. 
            Therefore, no touch behaviors are allowed.
        </div>
    </div>
</div>	

Pointer Capture

Pointer capture allows the events for a particular pointer to be retargeted to a particular element other than the normal hit test result of the pointer's location. This is useful in scenarios like a custom slider control (e.g. similar to the [[HTML5]] <input type="range"> control). Pointer capture can be set on the slider thumb element, allowing the user to slide the control back and forth even if the pointer slides off of the thumb.

Custom Volume Slider
Example of a custom slider control that chooses a value by sliding the thumb element back and forth. After pointerdown on the thumb, pointer capture can be used to allow the user to slide the thumb even if the pointer drifts off of it.

Setting Pointer Capture

Pointer capture is set on an element by calling the element.setPointerCapture(pointerId) method. When this method is invoked, a user agent MUST run the following steps:
  1. If the pointerId provided as the method's argument does not match any of the active pointers, then throw a DOMException with the name InvalidPointerId.
  2. If the pointer is not in the active buttons state, then terminate these steps.
  3. For the specified pointerId, set the pointer capture target override to the Element on which this method was invoked.
  4. Fire a gotpointercapture event at the Element on which this method was invoked.
When pointer capture is set, pointerover, pointerout, pointerenter, and pointerleave events are only generated when crossing the boundary of the element that has capture as other elements can no longer be targeted by the pointer. This has the effect of suppressing these events on all other elements.

Releasing Pointer Capture

Pointer capture is released on an element explicitly by calling the element.releasePointerCapture(pointerId) method. When this method is called, a user agent MUST run the following steps:
  1. If the pointerId provided as the method's argument does not match any of the active pointers, then throw a DOMException with the name InvalidPointerId.
  2. If pointer capture is not currently set for the specified pointer, then terminate these steps.
  3. If the pointer capture target override for the specified pointerId is not the Element on which this method was invoked, then terminate these steps.
  4. For the specified pointerId, clear the pointer capture target override, if set.
  5. Fire a lostpointercapture event at the Element on which this method was invoked.

Implicit Release of Pointer Capture

Immediately after firing the pointerup or pointercancel events, a user agent MUST run the steps as if the releasePointerCapture() method has been called with an argument equal to the pointerId property of the pointerup orpointercancel event just dispatched.

Compatibility Mapping with Mouse Events

The vast majority of web content existing today codes only to Mouse Events. The following describes the algorithm for how a user agent MAY map generic pointer input to mouse events for compatibility with this content. Unless otherwise noted, the target of any mapped mouse event MAY be the same as the target for the pointer event from which it was mapped.

Authors can prevent the production of certain compatibility mouse events by cancelling the pointerdown event.

Mouse events can only be prevented when the pointer is down. Hovering pointers (e.g. a mouse with no buttons pressed) cannot have their mouse events prevented. And, the mouseover, mouseout, mouseenter, and mouseleave events are never prevented (even if the pointer is down).

The compatibility mapping with mouse events are an OPTIONAL feature of this specification. User agents are encouraged to support the feature for best compatibility with existing legacy content. User agents that do not support compatibility mouse events are still encouraged to support the click and contextmenu events (see the note below).

The click event, defined in [[DOM-LEVEL-3-EVENTS]], and the contextmenu event, defined in [[HTML5]], are not considered compatibility mouse events as they are typically tied to user interface activation and are fired from other input devices, like keyboards.

In user agents that support firing click and/or contextmenu, calling preventDefault during a pointer event typically does not have an effect on whether click and/or contextmenu are fired or not. Because they are not compatibility mouse events, user agents typically fire click and contextmenu for all pointing devices, including pointers that are not primary pointers.

The relative ordering of these high-level events (click, contextmenu, focus, blur, etc.) with pointer events is undefined and varies between user agents. For example, in some user agents contextmenu will often follow a pointerup, in others it'll often precede a pointerup or pointercancel, and in some situations it may be fired without any corresponding pointer event.

Mapping for devices that support hover

Whenever a user agent is to dispatch a pointer event for a device that supports hover, it MAY run the following steps:
  1. If the isPrimary property for the pointer event to be dispatched is false then dispatch the pointer event and terminate these steps.
  2. Dispatch the pointer event.
  3. If the pointer event dispatched was pointerdown and the event was cancelled, then set the PREVENT MOUSE EVENT flag for this pointerType.
  4. If the pointer event dispatched was:
    • pointerover, then fire a mouseover event.
    • pointerout, then fire a mouseout event.
    • pointerenter, then fire a mouseenter event.
    • pointerleave, then fire a mouseleave event.
  5. If the PREVENT MOUSE EVENT flag is not set for this pointerType and the pointer event dispatched was:
    • pointerdown, then fire a mousedown event.
    • pointermove, then fire a mousemove event.
    • pointerup, then fire a mouseup event.
    • pointercancel, then fire a mouseup event at the window.
  6. If the pointer event dispatched was pointerup or pointercancel, clear the PREVENT MOUSE EVENT flag for this pointerType.

Mapping for devices that do not support hover

Some devices, such as most touchscreens, do not support hovering a coordinate (or set of coordinates) while not in the active state. Much existing content coded to mouse events assumes that a mouse is producing the events and thus certain qualities are generally true:
  • The input can hover independently of activation (e.g. moving a mouse cursor without any buttons pressed)
  • The input will likely produce the mousemove event on an element before clicking it
Hover is sometimes used to toggle the visibility of UI elements in content designed for mouse (e.g. "hover menus"). This content is often incompatible with devices that do not support hover. This specification does not define a mapping or behavior for compatibility with this scenario. It will be considered in a future version of the specification.
This requires that user agents provide a different mapping for these types of input devices. Whenever a user agent is to dispatch a pointer event for a device that does not support hover, it MAY run the following steps:
  1. If the isPrimary property for the pointer event to be dispatched is false then dispatch the pointer event and terminate these steps.
  2. If the pointer event to be dispatched is pointerover and the pointerdown event has not yet been dispatched for this pointer, then fire a mousemove event (for compatibility with legacy mouse-specific code).
  3. Dispatch the pointer event.
  4. If the pointer event dispatched was pointerdown and the event was cancelled, then set the PREVENT MOUSE EVENT flag for this pointerType.
  5. If the pointer event dispatched was:
    • pointerover, then fire a mouseover event.
    • pointerout, then fire a mouseout event.
    • pointerenter, then fire a mouseenter event.
    • pointerleave, then fire a mouseleave event.
  6. If the PREVENT MOUSE EVENT flag is not set for this pointerType and the pointer event dispatched was:
    • pointerdown, then fire a mousedown event.
    • pointermove, then fire a mousemove event.
    • pointerup, then fire a mouseup event.
    • pointercancel, then fire a mouseup event at the window.
  7. If the pointer event dispatched was pointerup or pointercancel, clear the PREVENT MOUSE EVENT flag for this pointerType.

The activation of an element (click) with a primary pointer (e.g. single finger, stylus, or mouse) would typically produce the following event sequence:

  1. mousemove
  2. pointerover
  3. mouseover
  4. pointerenter
  5. mouseenter
  6. pointerdown
  7. mousedown
  8. Zero or more pointermove and mousemove events, depending on movement of the pointer
  9. pointerup
  10. mouseup
  11. click
  12. pointerout
  13. mouseout
  14. mouseleave

If, however, the pointerdown event is cancelled during this interaction then the sequence of events would be:

  1. mousemove
  2. pointerover
  3. mouseover
  4. pointerenter
  5. mouseenter
  6. pointerdown
  7. Zero or more pointermove events, depending on movement of the pointer
  8. pointerup
  9. click
  10. pointerout
  11. mouseout
  12. mouseleave

Acknowledgements

Many thanks to lots of people for their proposals and recommendations, some of which are incorporated into this document.

Special thanks to those that helped pioneer the first edition of this model, including especially: Charu Chandiram, Peter Freiling, Nathan Furtwangler, Thomas Olsen, Matt Rakow, Ramu Ramanathan, Justin Rogers, Jacob Rossi, Reed Townsend, Steve Wright.

Revision History

The following is an informative summary of substantial and major editorial changes between publications of this specification. A complete revision history of the Editor's Drafts of this specification can be found here.

Changes Since the 09 May 2013 Candidate Recommendation

Changes Since the 19 February 2013 Last Call Draft

Last Call Draft dated 19 February 2013

Second Working Draft dated 15 January 2013