HID state module

The HID state module is required for generating reports from input data. It is responsible for the following operations:

  • Aggregating data from user input sources.

  • Tracking state of the HID report subscriptions.

  • Forming the HID reports in either report or boot protocol.

  • Transmitting the HID reports to the right subscriber.

  • Sending led_event based on the HID keyboard LED output reports.

Module events

Source Module

Input Event

This Module

Output Event

Sink Module

HID forward module



HID state module

HID Service module

USB state module

HID Service module


USB state module

HID Service module


USB state module

HID Service module


USB state module

Source modules for module_state_event


Motion module


Wheel module


Buttons module


Button simulator module

Function key module


Sink modules for hid_report_event


LED stream module

LEDs module


See the Application overview for more information about the event-based communication in the nRF Desktop application and about how to read this table.


The HID state module is enabled by the CONFIG_DESKTOP_HID_STATE_ENABLE option which is implied by the CONFIG_DESKTOP_ROLE_HID_PERIPHERAL option. An nRF Desktop peripheral uses the HID state module to generate HID reports based on the user input. For details related to HID configuration in the nRF Desktop, see the HID configuration documentation.

To send boot reports, enable the respective Kconfig option:

Number of supported HID data subscribers

If your application configuration supports more than one HID data subscriber, you must align the maximum number of HID data subscribers that can be supported simultaneously (CONFIG_DESKTOP_HID_STATE_SUBSCRIBER_COUNT). For example, to use a configuration that allows to simultaneously subscribe for HID reports from HID over GATT (BLE) and a single USB HID instance, set the value of this Kconfig option to 2. See the Tracking state of transports section for more details about HID subscribers.

HID keymap

You must define mapping between button IDs and usage IDs in generated HID reports. For that purpose you must create a configuration file with hid_keymap array. Every element of the array contains mapping from a single hardware key ID to HID report ID and usage ID.

For example, the file contents should look like the following:

#include <caf/key_id.h>

#include "hid_keymap.h"
#inclue "fn_key_id.h"

static const struct hid_keymap hid_keymap[] = {
        { KEY_ID(0x00, 0x01), 0x0014, REPORT_ID_KEYBOARD_KEYS }, /* Q */
        { KEY_ID(0x00, 0x02), 0x001A, REPORT_ID_KEYBOARD_KEYS }, /* W */
        { KEY_ID(0x00, 0x03), 0x0008, REPORT_ID_KEYBOARD_KEYS }, /* E */
        { KEY_ID(0x00, 0x04), 0x0015, REPORT_ID_KEYBOARD_KEYS }, /* R */
        { KEY_ID(0x00, 0x05), 0x0018, REPORT_ID_KEYBOARD_KEYS }, /* U */


        { FN_KEY_ID(0x06, 0x02), 0x0082, REPORT_ID_SYSTEM_CTRL },   /* sleep */
        { FN_KEY_ID(0x06, 0x03), 0x0196, REPORT_ID_CONSUMER_CTRL }, /* internet */

You must define the mentioned array in this configuration file, and specify its location with the CONFIG_DESKTOP_HID_STATE_HID_KEYMAP_DEF_PATH Kconfig option.


The configuration file should be included only by the configured module. Do not include the configuration file in other source files.

HID keyboard LEDs

You must define which hardware LEDs are used to display state of the HID keyboard LEDs report and LED effects that should be used to display the state. See documentation of CAF: LEDs module for details about LED effects.

You must create a configuration file with the following data:

  • keyboard_led_on - LED effect defined to represent LED turned on by the host.

  • keyboard_led_off - LED effect defined to represent LED turned off by the host.

  • keyboard_led_map - IDs of the hardware LEDs used to represent state of the HID keyboard LED.

For example, the file contents should look like follows:

#include "hid_keyboard_leds.h"

static const struct led_effect keyboard_led_on = LED_EFFECT_LED_ON(LED_COLOR(255, 255, 255));
static const struct led_effect keyboard_led_off = LED_EFFECT_LED_OFF();

static const uint8_t keyboard_led_map[] = {

You must define all of the mentioned data in this configuration file, and specify its location with the CONFIG_DESKTOP_HID_STATE_HID_KEYBOARD_LEDS_DEF_PATH Kconfig option.


The configuration file should be included only by the configured module. Do not include the configuration file in other source files.

Report expiration

With the CONFIG_DESKTOP_HID_REPORT_EXPIRATION configuration option, you can set the amount of time after which a key will be considered expired. The higher the value, the longer the period after which the nRF Desktop application will recall pressed keys when the connection is established.

Queue event size

With the CONFIG_DESKTOP_HID_EVENT_QUEUE_SIZE configuration option, you can set the number of elements on the queue where the keys are stored before the connection is established. When a key state changes (it is pressed or released) before the connection is established, an element containing this key’s usage is pushed onto the queue. If there is no space in the queue, the oldest element is released.

Implementation details

The HID state module provides a routing mechanism between sources of input data and transport modules. This can be associated with:

For the routing mechanism to work, the module performs the following operations:

Apart from the routing mechanism, the module is also responsible for Handling HID keyboard LED state.

Linking input data with the right HID report

Out of all available input data types, the following types are collected by the HID state module:

Both types are stored in the report_data structure.

Relative value data

This type of input data is related to the pointer coordinates and the wheel rotation. Both motion_event and wheel_event are sources of this type of data.

To indicate a change to this input data, overwrite the value that is already stored.

When either motion_event or wheel_event is received, the HID state module selects the report_data structure associated with the mouse HID report and stores the values at the right position within this structure’s axes member.


The values of axes are stored every time the input data is received, but these values are cleared when a report is connected to the subscriber. Consequently, values outside of the connection period are never retained.

Absolute value data

This type of input data is related to buttons. The button_event is the source of this type of data.

To indicate a change to this input data, overwrite the value that is already stored.

Since keys on the board can be associated to a usage ID, and thus be part of different HID reports, the first step is to identify which report the key belongs to and what usage it represents. This is done by obtaining the key mapping from the hid_keymap structure. This structure is part of the application configuration files for the specific board and is defined in hid_keymap_def.h.

Once the mapping is obtained, the application checks if the report to which the usage belongs is connected:

  • If the report is connected, the value is stored at the right position in the items member of report_data associated with the report.

  • If the report is not connected, the value is stored in the eventq event queue member of the same structure.

The difference between these operations is that storing value onto the queue (second case) preserves the order of input events. See the following section for more information about storing data before the connection.

Storing input data before the connection

The storing approach before the connection depends on the data type:

  • The relative value data is not stored outside of the connection period.

  • The absolute value data is stored before the connection.

The reason for this operation is to allow to track key presses that happen right after the device is woken up, but before it is able to connect to the host.

When the device is disconnected and the input event with the absolute value data is received, the data is stored onto the event queue (eventq), a member of report_data structure. This queue preserves an order at which input data events are received.

Storing limitations

The number of events that can be inserted into the queue is limited by CONFIG_DESKTOP_HID_EVENT_QUEUE_SIZE option.

Discarding events

When there is no space for a new input event, the HID state module tries to free space by discarding the oldest event in the queue. Events stored in the queue are automatically discarded after the period defined by CONFIG_DESKTOP_HID_REPORT_EXPIRATION option.

When discarding an event from the queue, the module checks if the key associated with the event is pressed. This is to avoid missing key releases for earlier key presses when the keys from the queue are replayed to the host. If a key release is missed, the host could stay with a key that is permanently pressed. The discarding mechanism ensures that the host will always receive the correct key sequence.


The HID state module can only discard an event if the event does not overlap any button that was pressed but not released, or if the button itself is pressed. The event is released only when the following conditions are met:

  • The associated key is not pressed anymore.

  • Every key that was pressed after the associated key had been pressed is also released.

If there is no space to store the input event in the queue and no old event can be discarded, the entire content of the queue is dropped to ensure the sanity.

Once connection is established, the elements of the queue are replayed one after the other to the host, in a sequence of consecutive HID reports.

Tracking state of transports

The HID state module tracks the state of modules that forward the HID data to a HID host (HID transports) by listening to hid_report_subscriber_event. The HID state module refers collectively to all transports as subscribers. When the connection to the host is indicated by this event, the HID state module will create a subscriber associated with the transport. Each subscriber reports its priority as part of the hid_report_subscriber_event. The subscriber priority must be unique, that mean two or more subscriber cannot share the same priority value.

By default, the subscriber that is associated with USB has priority over any Bluetooth LE peer subscriber. As a result, when the host connected through the USB subscribes for a HID report, the HID report will be routed to the USB.

Tracking state of HID report notifications

For each subscriber, the HID state module tracks the state of notifications for each of the available HID reports. These are tracked in the subscriber’s structure subscriber. This structure’s member state is an array of report_state structures. Each element corresponds to one available HID report.

The subscriber connects to the HID reports by submitting hid_report_subscription_event. Depending on the connection method, this event can be submitted:

  • For Bluetooth, when the notification is enabled for a given HID report.

  • For USB, when the device is connected to USB.

The report_state structure serves the following purposes:

  • Tracks the state of the connection.

  • Contains the link connecting the object to the right report_data structure, from which the data is taken when the HID report is formed.

  • Tracks the number of reports of the associated type that were sent to the subscriber.

Forming HID reports

When a HID report is to be sent to the subscriber, the HID state module calls the function responsible for the report generation. The report_data structure is passed as an argument to this function.


The HID report formatting function must work according to the HID report descriptor (hid_report_desc). The source file containing the descriptor is given by CONFIG_DESKTOP_HID_REPORT_DESC option.

Handling HID keyboard LED state

When the HID state module receives a hid_report_event that contains a HID output report, it updates the remembered information about the state of the HID output report of the appropriate subscriber.

By default, nRF Desktop supports only HID keyboard LED output report. The nRF Desktop peripheral displays the state of the keyboard LEDs that was specified by the HID subscriber that subscribed for keyboard key HID input report. When the subscriber is changed or it updates the state of the keyboard LEDs, the HID state module sends leds_event to update the state of the hardware LEDs.