Swapping Dyslexic Letters (A Favorite AutoHotkey Trick)

Sometimes the Little Things Remind Me How Much I Like AutoHotkey

As I worked on one of my blogs, I accidentally transposed two letters (probably “form” for “from” or vice versa). I placed the cursor between the errant letters and hit the R key while holding down ALT. The two characters exchanged position. Pleased with myself, I decided to highlight the letter-swapping Hotkey combination in this blog as one of my favorites.

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The Main Window for Debugging AutoHotkey Scripts

How to View the Inner Workings and Hidden Mechanisms of Running AutoHotkey Scripts

AutoHotkey includes a tool called the Main Window which aids with the debugging process. It gives you a peek into various aspects of a running .ahk script:

  1. Most recently executed lines of code (ListLines command).
  2. Current variables and values (ListVars command).
  3. Active Hotkeys (ListHotkeys command).
  4. Keyboard activity (KeyHistory command).

Main Window Menu

Open the Main Window by right-clicking on Windows System Tray icon of an active .ahk script and selecting Open from the top of the menu. The window pops open at the “Lines most recently executed” view. You can select the other three views plus “Refresh” from the View menu. Continue reading

Beginning Tips for Writing AutoHotkey Scripts

Exploring the Existential Mysteries of AutoHotkey Code and How It’s Often Misunderstood

AutoHotkeyInsightsI’ve just published my latest book, Beginning Tips for Writing AutoHotkey Script, which endeavors to clear up some of the mystery surrounding the way AutoHotkey works. You’ll find grasping how AutoHotkey processes AHK scripts a tremendous help. Quite a bit of the confusion encountered by novice AutoHotkey scriptwriters occurs through misunderstandings about the manner in which everything (life, the universe, and AutoHotkey scripts) fits together. I wrote the book with that muddiness in mind. Continue reading

Matching Instant Hotkeys with a Loop (AutoHotkey Tip)

Sometimes You’ll Find a Loop a Simpler Way to Match Things


“…stuck in an infinite loop. Like I just said, it’s so depressing to get stuck in an infinite loop. Like I just said, it’s…”

If you’re new to AutoHotkey with little or no scripting experience, then this blog may venture too far into the weeds. I don’t like to put off new users because the journey into Windows scripting is well worthwhile. Most find it easy to get started with AutoHotkey with many simple-to-implement tools. However, it takes a little time to understand the nuances of the more advanced techniques. I recommend that AutoHotkey noobies start with the basics such as found in the “Introduction to AutoHotkey: A Review and Guide for Beginners” page. You’ll obtain immediate, rewarding results with basic AutoHotkey. Then, as your comfort with scripting increases, introduce yourself to more of AutoHotkey’s power with some of the slightly elevated topics.

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In the last blog, by writing the IH_VarText(Var) function, I created a clever (even if I do say so myself) yet uneasy technique for linking the Instant Hotkey combination to the insertion text by converting the key combination (full of illegal variable characters) to a legal two-deep variable. While this worked, in most cases, it left a number of holes in the subroutine. Unless I added a trap line for every possible illegal key (e.g. the semicolon ” ; “ key, the slash ” / ” key, the hyphen ” ‘ ” key, etc), errors might occur. I needed to make a change. Continue reading

Two-Deep Variables for Tracking Data (AutoHotkey Trick)

When You Find No Obvious Way to Link Specific Data to an Object or Another Value, You Might Try Saving It to a Variable within a Variable

Sometimes you encounter a scripting situation where saving data to just any random variable doesn’t do the job. While creating variables and storing values is simple enough, you may find it difficult to recall those values at the right time. It’s important to know you’re getting the right data when you want it. Maybe using the value of a variable as a variable name (two-deep) will give you what you need. Continue reading

How AutoHotkey Reads Scripts (AutoHotkey Script Structure)

Understanding the Layout of an AutoHotkey Script Helps When Writing and Debugging Applications

The Problem with AutoHotkey Script Design

If you’re anything like me, then you probably jump straight into writing a script without reading the online documentation. Experienced programmers don’t have much problem with this, although even they occasionally find themselves scratching their heads about a particular piece of code which seemingly gets ignored by AutoHotkey. Continue reading

Eliminate Hotkeys with AutoHotkey Menus (AutoHotkey Tip)

Why Memorize a Bunch of Hotkey Combinations When Using an AutoHotkey Pop-up Menu Does the Trick?

A while back I talked about adding hard-to-remember AutoHotkey Hotkeys to the System Tray icon right-click menu. This saved me from needing to recall too many key combinations. As I worked on my last blog about creating the auto-startup script, I realized that I was again testing too many Hotkey combinations. Numerous combos activated other Windows or program functions. Since we can so easily set up AutoHotkey Hotkeys, we often go keyboard shortcut crazy—later finding that they interfere with others actions. Plus, remembering the various combinations doesn’t get any easier.

It dawned on me that I wanted an easier way to launch various AutoHotkey scripts without depending upon Hotkeys at all. This brought me back to my QuickLinks menu app. Continue reading