AutoHotkey Tip of the Week: IfWinActive Versus #IfWinActive—August 12, 2019

Tip: Isolate Your Hotkeys and Hotstrings to the Appropriate Window

Light Bulb!As beginners, we tend to create universal Hotkeys and Hotstrings which work everywhere. This usually works out in our early scripts, but, eventually, we discover that our key combinations either interfere with particular programs or we begin to run out of easy-to-remember Hotkeys and Hotstrings. To resolve this issue, limit your Hotkeys and Hotstring to working only for those programs where you need them.

hotkeycover200You can create context-sensitive Hotkeys and Hotstring with either the IfWinActive function or command or the #IfWinActive directive. Which you use depends upon what you need to do. The IfWinActive command allows greater flexibility for any set of conditions, while the #IfWinActive directive only works for Hotkeys and Hotstrings.

For more information, see “Chapter Two: Block Windows Shortcuts with AutoHotkey” and “Chapter Three: AutoHotkey #Directives for Context-Sensitive Hotkeys—#IfWinActive” of the book AutoHotkey Hotkey Tips, Tricks, and Techniques, (Chapter Three clears up the confusion between AutoHotkey’s IfWinActive command and the #IfWinActive directive.)

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jack

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Total the Numbers Found in Any Document (AutoHotkey RegEx Tips Part 5)

For a Quick-and-Dirty Calculator, Use Regular Expressions (RegEx) to Pull Numbers from Documents or Web Pages and Total Them Up—Plus, a RegEx for Removing (or Extracting) Numeric IP Addresses

Shifting gears, I end the discussion of the MultiPaste.ahk script which parses copied data into component parts for easier paste operations into other documents. With this blog, I start working on another tool for simplifying a Windows task—addition.

Sometimes I see a list of numbers in either a document or a Web page which I would like to quickly total without loading a separate calculator. For example, the shopping cart program I use for my book sales offers a summary table of all recent sales. While I can use a reports section of the site to get more information (e.g. monthly sales), I want a tool to quickly highlight the desired entries and give me the total of the individual sales. To do that I use a Regular Expression (RegEx) specifically for extracting those sales numbers. Continue reading

Pasting Date Parts into Forms (AutoHotkey RegEx Tips Part 4)

In Most Data Fields, You’ll Find It Simple to Paste Text or Numbers, But Inserting a Parsed Date Often Requires Extra Steps—Plus How to Change Date Paste Action Based on the Active Window Title

In the first three blogs of this RegEx series, I used Regular Expressions (RegEx) to identify and parse data prior to any paste operations. In this blog, I use a RegEx to identify and parse dates during the multi-part date paste operation. I use the previously introduced \d wild card (any numeric digit zero through nine) and the optional match modifier (the question mark ?), plus, I introduced how to create a selection list of possible matches by using a range of options (in this case, a forward slash, a dash, or a dot [/\-.] as date separators).

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Cover 200When working with forms, dates often use three separate data entry fields—one for the month, one for the day, and one for the year. (In the UK, they swap it around to day/month/year.) In some forms, you need to enter a forward slash (/) to jump to the next entry item. Sometimes the form automatically jumps to the next field after entering two digits. In many Web pages, you need to tab between each data entry area. Sometimes, sending the entire copied date as a single string works.

Since I wrote the MultiPaste.ahk script to respond to a particular personal finance program, I set it up to Send the date delimited with slashes. If you want to do something similar for a different software package or Web page, then you may need to tailor the script. This blog shows you how to do that. Continue reading

Removing Excess Tabs and Spaces with RegEx Greed (AutoHotkey RegEx Tips Part 3)

After Parsing Selected Table Data or One-Line Street Addresses for Unique Paste Operations, We Prevent Blank Paste Items from Appearing in the MsgBox Window by Using RegEx Greed to Remove Any Extra Tab Characters

In the first two parts of this series, I introduced a couple of common Regular Expressions (RegEx) wild cards for finding unknown characters (the needle) in a larger string of text (the haystack). In “Finding US Zip Codes (AutoHotkey RegEx Tips Part 1),” I discussed the \d expression (representing any single numeric digit) which you can also identify with the range [0-9] or the expression set (0|1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9).

In “Finding UK Postal Codes (AutoHotkey RegEx Tips Part 2),” I introduced the wild card \w as the RegEx symbol for matching any alphanumeric character (upper or lower case) and the ten digits (plus underline mark)—the equivalent of the range [a-zA-Z0-9_]. In both blogs, I used the /s wild card to locate a space in front of either the US zip code or UK postal code.

This time I use \s in combination with `t to remove extra tab delimiters (e.g.`t`t) which insert blank lines in the MultiPaste.ahk script’s MsgBox command window.

Continue reading

Finding UK Postal Codes (AutoHotkey RegEx Tips Part 2)

By Comparison, UK Postal Codes Offer a Greater Challenge Than US Zip Codes When Writing Regular Expressions (RegEx)

UKPostalCode
Note that a single space appears between “Birmingham” and the “B5 5QD” postal code. Without special recognition of the UK postal codes, the MultiPaste.ahk script won’t create a separate paste item.

In the previous blog (“Finding US Zip Codes (AutoHotkey RegEx Tips Part 1)“), I began this mini-tutorial series on AutoHotkey Regular Expressions (RegEx) with a technique for parsing US zip codes from street addresses. For the MultiPaste.ahk script to work best (“Parsing and Pasting One-Line Street Addresses (AutoHotkey Multi-Paste Trick)“), I needed any zip code to appear as a separate paste item in the MultiPaste MsgBox. The parsing problem occurs because most one-line address formats only use as a delimiter the space character (no comma or newline) between the state and zip code. The same holds true for UK postal codes.

Cover 200Last time, I pointed out how the string functions—InStr() and StrReplace()—require exact search characters while the Regular Expressions functions—RegExMatch() and RegExReplace()—can use a variety of wild cards to represent characters. In fact, the various different ways to express wild cards cause a degree of confusion. In this blog, I introduce the \w alphanumeric wild card and the question mark modifier (?) to create optional matches. Continue reading

Finding US Zip Codes (AutoHotkey RegEx Tips Part 1)

Powerful Regular Expressions (RegEx) Perform Minor Computing Miracles—This Part 1 Uses Extracting US Zip Codes from Street Addresses to Introduce Regular Expressions as Merely a Set of Confusing Wildcards

In my last blog, “Parsing and Pasting One-Line Street Addresses (AutoHotkey Multi-Paste Trick)“, I added one-line street addresses to my MultiPaste.ahk script. That short AutoHotkey app uses a few Regular Expressions (RegEx) to identify and isolate key information:

  1. Cover 200Five-digit US zipcodes.
  2. UK postal codes.
  3. Remove excess tab characters in the results.
  4. Identify date formats.

I used RegEx functions for these problems because the basic string functions just didn’t offer the power needed without convoluted coding. RegEx provides fairly simple solutions (although possibly confounding to the neophyte).

Continue reading

Parsing and Pasting One-Line Street Addresses (AutoHotkey Multi-Paste Trick)

Another Pet Peeve…the Windows Copy-and-Paste Doesn’t Make It Easy to Insert Street Addresses and Postal Codes into Forms

I’ve noticed that many applications and Web pages list street addresses on just one line:

Jack Dunning, 1234 Main Street, Any Town, MI  90571

This makes sense and saves space when compared to a three or four-line address listing:

Jack Dunning
1234 Main Street
Any Town, MI  90571

However, when using the Windows Clipboard for a copy-and-paste operation, a person still needs to jump between the two windows a number of times—unless he or she uses a parse-and-paste tool such as MultiPaste.ahk. Continue reading