New Flexible Hotstring Features Added to AutoHotkey

Last February, AutoHotkey Release 1.1.28.00 Included Important New Hotstring Capabilities

A few months back while working on my latest book, Jack’s Motley Assortment of AutoHotkey Tips, I encountered a new x option for Hotstrings. The x option enables the running of functions and commands rather than replacing text. This new feature surprised me since, in the past, a one-line Hotstring would only do text replacement.

I immediately recognized that this approach to one-line action Hotstrings could immediately shorten a long list of function Hotstrings. However, closer scrutiny of the new AutoHotkey release revealed further (and possibly more important) new Hotstring functionality. In addition to the x option, the February AutoHotkey release includes:

  1. A new Hotstring() function which adds dynamic capabilities to Hotstrings.
  2. A new method for creating function Hotstrings by defining the function immediately after the Hotstring(s).

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Save AutoHotkey Script Settings in Your Windows Registry

While You Can Use an External File to Save Your Script Defaults, You Can Also Call-on the Windows Registry to Store App Settings

In most cases, I’ve used a separate file (text or INI) to save settings. While this works well, it requires the creation and tracking of that independent file. For the script to read the settings, it must know where to locate that file. But, if you want to save script settings without the baggage of that extra file, then consider using your Windows Registry.

You’ll find a few advantages to maintaining your script settings in the Windows Registry:

  1. Unlike a separate settings file, you don’t need to keep track of the Windows Registry’s location—it never moves. Regardless of where you locate your AutoHotkey script on your computer, you will always find its settings in the exact same place.
  2. You won’t accidentally lose your settings by manually deleting what may seem like an extra file in Windows File Explorer.
  3. Your settings remain semi-hidden from public view in a semi-permanent form.

This approach to storing your script defaults deep inside the recesses of Windows adds an air of mystery to your apps—especially if you compile them into EXE files. Continue reading

Pressing GUI Buttons with a Single Keystroke (AutoHotkey Tip)

Sometimes We Find It Easier to Hit a Key Rather Than Click a Button

An AutoHotkey forum user posted a question about using Hotkeys to activate buttons in a GUI window. He wanted to hit the numbers 1, 2, 3, or 4, rather than clicking the individual buttons—but only for the active GUI window.

hotkeycover200While I discuss similar isolation of Hotkeys to specific active windows in my Hotkeys book, this blog provided another opportunity to show how to add more functionality to your GUIs without infringing upon other programs or Hotkeys. I attempted to make the script as simple as possible by using a number of AutoHotkey tricks. Continue reading

Wrapping Up the DateStampConvert.ahk Script (AutoHotkey Tips)

In Previous Blogs, I Used Regular Expressions to ID Dates Formats in Documents and Simulated Case/Switch Statements to Convert Month Names to Numbers. Now, I Build the Standard DateTime Stamp, Check for Valid Dates, and Deal with Two-digit Years, Plus Use the Function ByRef Method to Bypass Local Variables.

While in conversations with a reader who uses AutoHotkey to calculate the time span between two dates for figuring out new leases, I realized that a tool which captures formatted dates from any document and converts them into the DateTime Stamp format (yyyymmdd) would make using the HowLongYearsMonthsDays.ahk script even easier. That prompted me to write the DateStampConvert.ahk script. Continue reading

Use the Ternary Operator to Create Conditional Case Statements or Switches (AutoHotkey Tip)

While AutoHotkey Does Not Include a Conditional Case Statement, You Can Build Your Own Using the Ternary Operator

Many programming languages include Case statements which act in a manner to similar a series of If…Else If…Else statements in an abbreviated form. The simplicity of the structure provides the primary benefit of offering a series of options in semi-list form Continue reading

Using Regular Expressions to Convert Most Formatted Dates into DateTime Stamps (AutoHotkey Tool)

AutoHotkey Offers Many Techniques for Converting the DateTime Stamp (yyyymmdd) into Formatted Dates, But What About Going in the Other Direction? Use RegEx to Identify Date Formats!

DateStampThe HowLongYearsMonthsDays.ahk function calculates the difference in years, months, and days between any two dates. To manually set the two dates, the script employs two DateTime GUI controls—input dates saved in the DateTime Stamp format (i.e. yyyymmdd) and the output in years, months and days. But wouldn’t you find it easier if you could highlight the dates in any document or Web page regardless of format, then use AutoHotkey to convert and copy the DateTime Stamps directly into the DateTime GUI controls? Continue reading

Second Edition of the New Beginner’s Guide Includes More Windows Program Automation

Two New AutoHotkey PC Software Automation Chapters in the Second Edition of Jack’s New Beginner’s Guide to AutoHotkey

AHKNewCover200In the course of editing Jack’s Motley Assortment of AutoHotkey Tips, I discovered two chapters discussing Windows program automation which long ago I had intended to add to the AutoHotkey Beginner’s Guide. My bad. I have now fixed that omission and added them to the Second Edition. The new chapters appear as follows:

Chapter Seventeen: Automate Any Program in Windows, Part I (New in Second Edition)

  • Use AutoHotkey to Automate Your Favorite Windows Programs
  • AutoHotkey Works with Any Program
  • Automating Program Menus
  • Using Menu Shortcut Keys
  • Cascading Menus
  • Navigating Pop-up Windows
  • Click to Success!
  • Finding AutoHotkey Key Names

Chapter Eighteen: Automate Any Program in Windows: Part II (New in Second Edition)

  • Find the Hidden Names of Program Controls to Automate Windows Applications
  • Using Control Names to Automate Programs
  • Finding Control Names
  • Control Commands
  • Less Code with ControlSetText Command
  • Save As… Dialogue

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