Jack’s AutoHotkey Blog

Updated: February 17, 2017

The latest in the “Why AutoHotkey?” series “Why AutoHotkey for Grandparents?

AutoHotkey Library Deal
AutoHotkey Library Deal

Updated: February 10, 2017

Added a new page to make finding random AutoHotkey tips easier. Check out the link to “A Motley Assortment of AutoHotkey Tips and Tricks” page in the menu bar above.

Updated: February 7, 2017

If you work with GUI Edit fields and copy data from other sources, you’re going to love this use of the Control, EditPaste command.

Updated: February 1, 2017

Just finished “Why AutoHotkey for Students?“—a particularly long one. If worthy, send a link to your favorite student(s).

I discovered the Control, EditPaste command which I probably should have been using all along. Plus, I found a place where it’s important to use the BlockInput command. (Update February 17, 2017: The BlockInput command has many more complications than I suspected. Just putting it into a script is unlikely to work—but more on that sometime in the future.) My next blog addresses my lessons learned with Control, EditPaste and its limitations.

Updated: January 23, 2017

Window Message Boxes created with the AutoHotkey MsgBox command get extensive use in most scripts. This week’s blog talks about how to test the limits of the familiar control. Little by little, the script based upon the hidden index found in the AutoHotkey Web site, AutoHotkeyQuickRef.ahk,  grows in usefulness.

Updated: January 17, 2017

Joe Glines and Jackie Sztuk offer their next live AutoHotkey webinar on AutoHotkey today at 4:00 pm (EDT). You’ll find that you can now register for future webinars through July 17, 2018.

Updated: January 16, 2017

My guess is that most poets use pencil and paper. It seems more authentic. However, just in case some use Windows computers, I’ve put together “Why AutoHotkey for Poets?

Updated: January 9, 2017

Most engineers and scientist either already know about AutoHotkey or they should be told!

Update: January 3, 2017

Surprisingly artists and graphic designers may have some of the best reasons for using AutoHotkey. This week I offer a few ideas.

Update: December 17, 2016

The problem with the unforeseen is that it’s unforeseeable. That’s why I try to keep an open mind when I write an AutoHotkey script.

I’m a big believer in goals—not so much individual objectives. An objective isn’t much good if it turns out that it wasn’t where you really wanted to go. Goals you can hold in your brain pan to test your results each step of the way.

In any case, don’t be too hard on yourself if you need to make a major change in direction. This week I make some revisions to the AutoHotkeyQuickRef.ahk script which should ultimately make it a much more useful tool.

Update: December 16, 2016

Joe Glines and Jackie Sztuk offer their next live AutoHotkey webinar on AutoHotkey Webinar December 20, 2016, at 4:00 pm (EDT).

Updated: December 5, 2016

In this week’s blog, we take up Ryan’s RegEx Tester again to extract data from a Web page for insertion into an INI file as key=value pairs.

Updated: November 28, 2016

Getting back to the AutoHotkeyQuickRef.ahk script which uses the hidden index in the AutoHotkey.com site, I highlight a technique which sets up an INI file for dealing with letter case-sensitivity problems—although it has other advantages.

Updated: November 21, 2016

The Fourth Edition of the Free E-Book AutoHotkey Tricks is now available for download at the ComputorEdge Free Book Site. This edition includes the “Table and Contents” and “Index” from the new AutoHotkey Hotkeys book.

Updated: November 16, 2016

hotkeycover200You can now find the new AutoHotkey Hotkeys e-book at ComputorEdge E-Books. Plus, I’ve put together an AutoHotkey Library Mega Bundle which includes all seven e-books in all three formats (EPUB for most reading devices and computers, MOBI for Amazon Kindle, and PDF for printing or almost anything else) at a reduced price.

Updated: November 12, 2016

I now introduce the “blah, blah, blah” RegEx to remove the extraneous garbage from Web page HTML code (or any other text document). Don’t forget about the free webinar coming up next week.

Updated November 4, 2016:

Now that the AutoHotkey.com hidden index is back, I’ve started on a tool to take advantage of it.

Updated November 1, 2016:

Rumors of the demise of the secret indexing features in the AutoHotkey.com site (mostly spread by me) were greatly exaggerated. While working on a blog which changes direction for scripting an AutoHotkey Quick Reference, I checked the old capability only to find that it’s back! Now, I’m not sure what to do—stick with the new direction or go back to the old. Maybe both.

Updated: October 30, 2016

Pretty busy this week. I’m working on the new AutoHotkey Hotkey book. I initially thought I was writing a beginning Hotkey book, but I now realize that it’s much more than that. While the book builds from a beginning level, it includes numerous important AutoHotkey tips, tricks, techniques, and best practices valuable to any AutoHotkey user. Who knew? The book should be available in a week or two.

Last week’s blog turned out to be a bust.  (November 1, 2016—or maybe not.) The world has changed and I must deal with it. I now plan a series of blogs on how to steal Web site data for personal use. I’ll use AutoHotkey.com as the test site while building AutoHotkey reference tools using—you guessed it—AutoHotkey scripts.

This time I wrote a short piece on what just occurred and the problem with using Web pages in AutoHotkey scripts.

Updated: October 26, 2016

piechartcartoonSorry about last week. Apparently, the phenomenon I discovered about the AutoHotkey site has gone fishing (disappeared). Must be an act of nature.

Not sure why this has happened, but it has me thinking about alternative ways to use the reference site in AutoHotkey scripts. Hmm…

I’m a little disappointed. I was expecting pie.

Updated: October 20, 2016

Maybe you already know this one, but I recently discovered an interesting fact about the AutoHotkey.com Web site. It’s important information for any AutoHotkey user. I’ve never seen it documented before, but I may have just missed it. You’re going to like this one!

Update: October 14, 2016

This week’s blog looks at a script which automatically opens a Web thesaurus and searches for a previously highlighted word. The short blog I wrote about Visual Thesaurus for ComputorEdge Software Showcase sparked this idea.

In the process of working on this one, more inspirations sprang forth for making AutoHotkey scripting easier through the online reference site. Plus, I stumbled upon a secret feature of AutoHotkey.com. (It’s only a secret because it isn’t well publicized.) I’ll address those epiphanies in coming weeks.

Update: October 13, 2016

Joe Glines and Jackie Sztuk offer their next live AutoHotkey webinar on October 18 at 4:00pm (EDT).

Updated: October 7, 2016

This week I discuss a common AutoHotkey problem with System Tray icon menus.

Plus, I took a close look at Nutcache Project Management in the ComputorEdge Software Showcase. If you manage collaborative tasks or merely need to bid jobs or bill clients, then Nutcache offers a powerful, yet free, system.

Updated: September 29, 2016

If you work with both Windows and Linux, then you may want to see a version of AutoHotkey available for the Unix-like operating systems. The pickings are pretty slim as I discuss this time in “AutoHotkey and Linux.”

Plus, if you want to pack your high-tech résumé, check out “Build Your Career by Learning Linux” in the ComputorEdge Software Showcase.

Updated: September 22, 2016

I recently started a new blog called ComputorEdge Software Showcase where I write about partner software products. That means I’ve found their program or service in the ShareASale affiliate program useful and signed up to help market the software through ComputorEdge sites—just as other affiliates market my AutoHotkey books.

In my first post, I write about Grammarly proofreading and grammar checking software. That prompted me to take a closer look with this week’s blog at the GooglePhraseFix AutoHotkey script which provides a clever way to analyze potential grammar problems.

Updated: September 17, 2016

Joe Glines and Jackie Sztuk offer a new live AutoHotkey webinar on September 20 at 4:00pm (EDT).

Updated: September 14, 2016

Join the ComputorEdge E-Books affiliate sales program and earn extra income on Jack’s AutoHotkey books.

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Updated: September 13, 2016

Get this introductory e-book free!

I’ve signed up with the ShareASale affiliate marketing program to share earnings on AutoHotkey book sales with other Web site owners. For more information, check out this week’s blog.

Updated: September 5, 2016

On Labor Day, it’s only appropriate that I announce that I’m in the process of launching a new marketing program which is likely to cause me a great deal more labor. Specifically, the program markets AutoHotkey to general Windows users. It has taken years to put the pieces in place and it’s a bit of a financial risk, but the time is right.

Rather than the passive approach I’ve taken in the past, I plan to get more aggressive by signing up as a merchant with a third-party affiliate network. I have no expectation that I will see instant results. It will take work to build my network of affiliates. I may get a little behind in AutoHotkey tips and tricks specific blogs (and I have another book to put together), but if things go as I envision, it will benefit the entire AutoHotkey community.

Updated: August 26, 2016

ComputorEdge AutoHotkey E-BooksI’ve worked with a number of different programming languages—although I don’t consider myself a professional programmer—and I’ve come to realize that for anyone who wants to learn about programming, there is no better language than AutoHotkey.

For that matter, if someone does not want to learn how to program, but wants to do more with their Windows computer, AutoHotkey is still the best software for the job.
Updated: August 21, 2016

Peeking Inside the Clipboard, Part 2. A script which picks the right app for the job.

Updated: August 13, 2016
Take a peek at what’s inside your Windows Clipboard.

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New to AutoHotkey? See “Introduction to AutoHotkey: A Review and Guide for Beginners.”

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Updated: August 4, 2016

Make strange window shapes with WinSet, Region.

Updated: July 28, 2016

How to make most of a window invisible to both the eye and mouse-clicks with WinSet, TransColor.

Updated: July 22, 2016

This week we look at making a window mouse-click transparent with Extended Window Styles and the WinSet command.

Updated: July 13, 2016

This week we add X-ray vision (make a window transparent) to our always-on-top windows.

Note: It appears that our Dropbox download page is on the fritz again. Use our “Free AutoHotkey Scripts and Apps for Learning Script Writing and Generating Ideas” page for all the downloads. You’ll find it easier and more informative.
Updated: July 8, 2016

As a beginner tip, I’ve highlighted AutoHotkey always-on-top techniques. It’s simple and uses the WinSet command. After taking a closer look at the WinSet window manipulation tools, I’ve decided to dig deeper in upcoming blogs.

AutoHotkey_Tricks_150Updated: June 29, 2016

Get your free download of the e-book AutoHotkey Tricks You Ought to Do with Windows. The new Third Edition includes a number of useful AutoHotkey techniques, plus the Table of Contents and the Indexes from the other five e-books. Pick it up as an easy download in any of the three formats: EPUB, MOBI, and PDF.

Updated: June 23, 2016

Three useful AutoHotkey techniques in the current blog:

  • Isolating features by using expressions in the #If directive.
  • Adding informational pop-up windows with the Tooltip command
  • Turning quick release Hotkeys on and off with the Hotkey command

Updated: June 16, 2016

The two most recent blogs discuss AutoHotkey techniques I used to update Web links on the “Free AutoHotkey Scripts and Apps for Learning Script Writing and Generating Ideas” page. The first simple technique uses the InstantHotkey.ahk script to create a text insertion Hotkey thereby cutting the Windows Clipboard action in half. The second more complex, yet more powerful method uses a Regular Expression (RegEx) to create multiple HTML links simultaneously.

Updated: June 3, 2016

The Dropbox download site is back up, but I’m changing direction. I decided to turn the ComputorEdge “Free AutoHotkey Scripts and Apps for Learning Script Writing and Generating Ideas” page into the main script download page. It will just be easier for everyone—as discussed in this blog.

(I know…you’re wondering what took me so long?)

May 27, 2016 Download Site Update

Apparently, Dropbox is getting too much traffic on the AutoHotkey download page and we’ve been cutoff—at least temporarily. I’ve moved all of the download files to ComputorEdge.com and am currently in the process of updating links. I guess that as traffic dies down Dropbox will start working again, but I’ll continue using http://www.computoredge.com/AutoHotkey/Downloads/ as the main site for obtaining free example scripts.

So much for using Dropbox to offer downloads.

Descriptions for all but the most recent scripts can be found at our “Free AutoHotkey Scripts and Apps for Learning Script Writing and Generating Ideas” page.

Updated: May 17, 2016
This week’s example of using forced expressions in AutoHotkey commands was a real eye opener for me. It’s like swinging a door open to a new level of AutoHotkey possibilities—even though it was there all along. I just didn’t see it.

Updated: May 13, 2016

Continuing with the MousePrecise.ahk script from last time, we turn the numeric keypad into a compass rose of mouse cursor micro movement Hotkeys. Plus, in this blog, we implement a feature for temporarily adding the Hotkeys to any window.

I’m excited about next time when I discuss forced expressions and the ternary operator. These techniques offer cool tricks which every AutoHotkey script writer will want for expanding the power and flexibility of most AutoHotkey commands. (Does that sound too nerdy?)

Updated: May 5, 2016

I always prefer it when I can include an AutoHotkey script which offers immediate practical application. That’s the case this week with the short series of blogs I started about creating Hotkeys for accurately positioning the mouse cursor. This little script gives me the opportunity to explore script writing while including, tips, tricks, and best practices. But even more importantly, the AutoHotkey script is a graphics editing enhancement which can be added to any Windows program. It’s already made my life a little easier.

Updated: April 29, 2016
This time I offer guidelines for when to use Virtual Keys and Scan Codes in your AutoHotkey scripts.

Updated: April 20, 2016

In this blog I took a look at using AutoHotkey for children’s educational software. There’s plenty of room for creativity.

Updated: April 14, 2016

Using Scan Codes and Virtual Key Codes in Hotkeys is more an intermediate level topic, rather than beginning, but I felt it was worth the time to clear up any confusion between the two and how they can be used. These codes are certainly useful for building specific types of Hotkeys, although, you should probably attempt to solve any problems first with the regular Hotkey approaches.

Updated: April 7, 2016

In this week’s blog, a left mouse click is added to a Hotkey combination.

Win a $100 Amazon Gift Card

Joe Glines and an associate have hired a research company to do an AutoHotkey survey. As an incentive, they are offering a drawing for a $100 Amazon gift certificate for anyone submitting the survey by April 30. Personally, I’m all for anything that helps more people become addicted to AutoHotkey.

You can take the survey at: http://sgiz.mobi/s3/535955cb44c3

I did. Now I’m just waiting for the Amazon gift card drawing.

Updated: March 31, 2016

In this week’s blog, it’s worth noting that an ErrorLevel variable trick allows different Hotkey action for different circumstances. ErrorLevel is not just for trapping errors.

Updated: March 23, 2016
If you’re using the Windows Clipboard in some of your AutoHotkey routines, then you may want to review this week’s beginning Clipboard tricks for making your code more robust.

Updated: March 11, 2016

Another Reason Why You Should Use AutoHotkey!

In a recent blog, I addressed one of the more important motives for learning and using AutoHotkey. You can add consistency and standardization to all of your Windows program shortcuts. Rather than learning a multitude of different key combinations for each Windows application, combine those you need most into one set of consistent Hotkey shortcuts. They will work in your word processing software, your e-mail program, text editors, editing fields in any of the Web browsers, and many more apps.

Or, you can just keep a list of all your important keystrokes for each different application on a piece of paper next to the computer.

Update: March 8, 2016

I was especially impressed with the example script from the AutoHotkey site which turns the mouse wheel into instant volume control when hovering over the Windows Taskbar. (It’s incredibly short.) I used it in this week’s blog as an example for comparing the #If expression directive and the Hotkey, If (expression) command and their interdependence. I suggest a couple of different ways that this approach can be used, but it’s not limited to those few ideas.

I’m constantly amazed at how many new possibilities are sparked by merely looking at one simple AutoHotkey example.

Updated: February 28, 2016

This week I acquainted myself with the GroupAdd AutoHotkey command. It never ceases to amaze me how many important nuances can be found in this scripting language. Not only is the GroupAdd command excellent for simplifying context-sensitive Hotkeys, but it’s also a great tool for on-the-fly window manipulation. I can also see how a set of useful Hotstrings—using a script similar to the one I offer at the end of the blog— can be temporarily activated at any time for only one or two program windows. While it isn’t a tool for every script, GroupAdd is certainly a command worth adding to every AutoHotkey user’s toolbox.

Updated: February 14, 2016

I’ve started an in-depth look at Hotkeys. I learned so much during my trip with AutoHotkey Hotstrings that I decided to take a similar journey with Hotkeys. I’m not sure what I’ll uncover, but the chronicals should be useful to beginning AutoHotkey script writers. There may even be some useful insights for others with slightly more experience.

The blogs can be found by clicking “Beginning AutoHotkey Hotkey Techniques” in the “AutoHotkey Topics and Series” menu above.

Updated: January 29, 2016

Beginning AutoHotkey Hotstrings 200pxAs a convenience for people who don’t want to dig through the Web looking for the various pieces, I have now published the e-book Beginning AutoHotkey Hotstrings which is available on the ComputorEdge E-Books site and  through Amazon. Regardless of whether you’re interested in the book or not, it’s worth your time to peruse some of the blogs linked at “Beginning AutoHotkey Hotstring Techniques” found under the “AutoHotkey Topics and Series” tab in the top menu bar. They just might inspire your next AutoHotkey script.

Updated: January 9, 2016

It takes me a little while, but there is now a link at the top right (under the Search field) that allows you to Follow this AutoHotkey blog. Whenever I publish a new blog, followers will receive an e-mail. If you add yourself to the list, it will save you from later having to come back to see if there’s anything new. Instead you will receive an annoying e-mail. (Or so I’ve been told.)

I’ve also added new links to the top menu bar which will make it easier to find blogs which are part of a series. Check out the “AutoHotkey Topics and Series” dropdown menu. I’ll be adding more to this menu as I get this blog better organized. I hope to make it easier for people to find things.

Updated: January 1, 2016

There are a number of mostly beginner AutoHotkey pages available through ComputorEdge.com. I will continue to add to those pages and update them as things changes. One of the most important is “Free AutoHotkey Scripts and Apps for Learning Script Writing and Generating Ideas.” This is a collection of free AutoHotkey scripts which I’ve made available to any AutoHotkey users. The scripts can be downloaded at the ComputorEdge download site. I wrote most of these short script and have included descriptions and how-to’s in my AutoHotkey e-books which are available at both ComputorEdge E-Books and Amazon. (Get the Spanish language version of A Beginner’s Guide to AutoHotkey—Guía básica de AutoHotkey—from Amazon.)

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See how to get the 201 page* e-book AutoHotkey Tricks FREE(*According Amazon calculations)

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Work in Progress

I’m writing articles on a series of beginner AutoHotKey topics which when grouped together treat one AutoHotkey subject. Since they are not necessarily written (nor appear) in order in this blog, I’ve placed links below in the order that they should be read (if at all). Since this blog is pinned to the top it will always appear first, I will change the Published date seen above whenever I’ve added new AutoHotKey content. Of course, the latest blog should always appear below this one or is second in the Recent Posts list at the right (just after this one).

Using AutoHotkey HotStrings for AutoCorrect and Other Cool Tricks

HotString replacement and text expansion is one of the most common ways that AutoHotkey is used. This series explores ways to add power to your AutoCorrect script and add other useful features.

Visit the “Beginning AutoHotkey Hotstring Techniques” page for a list of the blogs included in this series.

Beginner’s Guide to How AutoHotkey Scripts Work

This topic may be a bit esoteric , but it is a tremendous help if you understand how AutoHotkey processes AHK script files. Quite a bit of the confusion encountered by novice AutoHotkey script writers is due to misunderstandings about how everything fits together. The following blogs were written with that potential confusion in mind. If none of this helps, then please let me know and I will try to clear things up.

Part 1: Beginning Tips for Writing AutoHotkey Scripts (Modular Independence of HotStrings)

Part 2: Beginning Tips for Writing AutoHotkey Scripts (Modular Independence of HotKeys)

Part 3: Beginning Tips for Writing AutoHotkey Scripts (Building Blocks Using Labels Containing Subroutines)

Part 4: Beginning Tips for Writing AutoHotkey Scripts (Methods for Running Label Subroutines)

Part 5: Beginning Tips for Writing AutoHotkey Scripts (Functions as Building Blocks)

This subject is not yet complete.


7 thoughts on “Jack’s AutoHotkey Blog

  1. Hi Jack, I very much appreciate your simple and easy to understand explanations and would really appreciate it if you would do a blog on how to use Functions in AutoHotkey. I’ve put together a tool for work that writes a series of different text strings based on menu choices and need to be able to log their use. My efforts to do so by using Functions have come to naught and I have fallen back to a series of several repetitive statements that I know could be done much more neatly. I’d be happy to send you an example if you’d like to work from that. Thanks!


  2. Hi Jack, I would like to ask you to teach us some advanced autohotkey topic, like api calls.
    It would be very apreciated by us all.


    • There are a number of short apps I’ve written which use API calls, such as the screen dimmer script discussed in the AutoHotkey Applications e-book. This is certainly not a beginning level topic, but I will investigate possibilities.


  3. Hello, i’m trying to use AutoHotkey to create Terms in an AT&T Routing Application called RouteIT. My Hotkeys will not work with the “Self-Provisioning” window active. The same Hotkey works with other windows active, like Notepad or Outlook. Any suggestions? Thanks, in advance!


    • Donnie, since the Hotkeys are working with other Windows programs, it must be an issue with Route IT. It could be anything from Hotkey blocks in the program to misunderstandings about the controls available in Route IT. I would try changing Hotkey combinations and/or open Window Spy to investigate the layout of the Route IT window.

      Since I’m not familiar with Route IT or the specifics of what you’re trying to do, it’s difficult for me to say much more. Possibly, someone else who uses the program will have some ideas.

      Liked by 1 person

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