More Hotstring Tricks Using the Input Command and a Data Table (AutoHotkey Legal Lingo Tips)

The AutoHotkey Input Command Makes It Easy to Use the LegalInput.ini Data Table in Multiple Ways

A few weeks back I demonstrated how to build an INI data table for driving AutoHotkey scripts. I used the INI file format (LegalInput.ini) because it includes one index for quickly looking up records. In the file, I created four-character codes for accessing records which include the English legal definition, the Latin term, and a description (if any).

Legal Input Lex Scripta

While essential to the AutoHotkey feature discussed last time, you’ll find the INI file structure incidental to the technique discussed in this blog. You can use an INI file either for its index or as a standard data table with no special capabilities. As demonstrated in this piece, you’ll find a number of different ways to take advantage of a data table—without requiring an INI file. An INI file gives you a convenient means for quickly accessing data, but (especially for short files) you’ll discover numerous other methods for extracting the information you want. Continue reading

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Input Command Creates Temporary Hotstrings from Data Table (AutoHotkey INI File Technique)

By Using an INI Table of Legal Terms, We Construct Instant Hotstrings with the AutoHotkey Input Command

I recently received questions about using AutoHotkey for professional terminology in medical transcription. While features in many word processors such as Microsoft Word allow the building of special auto-correct dictionaries, they only work within Word. Since AutoHotkey works anywhere on a Windows computer, it’s only natural to want your own specialized technical lexicon. However, for the newbie, the question turns into “Where do I start?” Continue reading

Use BoundFunc Object [Func.Bind()] to Pass GUI Control Data (An AutoHotkey GUI Revelation)

Added as a Special Feature to AutoHotkey V1.1, You Can Quickly Bind Unique Data to GUI Controls for Passing to Functions—It’s Even Easier in V2.0. Add This One to Your Bag of AutoHotkey Tricks!

Sometimes in my explorations, I come across an unexpected gem. I dig into many aspects AutoHotkey merely because they exist—having no idea how a technique might affect my scriptwriting. Whenever I uncover a feature that switches on a light, I must admit I get a little excited. Interestingly, if I had not been rummaging through AutoHotkey V2.0, I may not have ever understood the significances of this latest revelation for GUI pop-up windows in V1.1 scripts.

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GraphicSoundsIn a GUI (Graphical User Interface) pop-up window, passing the right data to a gLabel subroutine (or function) from a GUI control can get complicated. A couple of the more common methods includes calling the Gui, Submit command to store control values or using a technique for capturing control information, such as the MouseGetPos command or the special gLabel alternative function:

 CtrlEvent(CtrlHwnd, GuiEvent, EventInfo, ErrLevel:="")

While I can usually find a way to solve the data passing problem, I often find the answer awkward. Continue reading

Write Less Code with Database Driven Apps (AutoHotkey Script Design)

Use Simple Database Files to Both Write AutoHotkey Code and Create Flexible Scripts

GraphicSoundsIn the last blog, I introduced a simple AutoHotkey app I call PictureSounds.ahk. When the user clicks on an image, AutoHotkey seeks the name of the sound file in an INI lookup table, then plays it. The script uses the image file name as the INI file Key. After loading a series of images, the script plays a different sound for each image. (It even plays videos!)

Using the INI file as a lookup table saved me from writing a different subroutine (or at least If condition) for each Picture control in the GUI window. Now, I show how to use that same data file to write the command code lines for adding the images to the pop-up files. Continue reading

Building a Lookup Table with an INI File (AutoHotkey Reference Tip)

In AutoHotkey, You Can Use an INI File as a Database for Relating Lookup Table Items

Admittedly, AutoHotkey lacks sophisticated database tools for storing, sorting, and reporting sets of information. While you can piece together commands to create pretty good database file systems, AutoHotkey does not hold a candle to specialized data handling software packages which use SQL and other high-powered relational tools. However, AutoHotkey does support a simple form of a database called an INI file with built-in commands which make it easy to read and write data. These features give us a method for building a lookup table to relate our AutoHotkey Version 1.1 commands to 2.0 functions references. Continue reading

Why AutoHotkey for Grandparents?

Remember All Your Grand Kid’s Birthdays and Their Ages! There’s No Limit to the Number of Ways You Can Amuse Your Grandchildren with AutoHotkey, Plus It Gives Your Brain a Much Needed Workout!

If you only have one grandchild, then you probably won’t have much trouble recalling his or her birthday or age. In that case, you may not have much interest in the grandbotslittle AutoHotkey GrandKids.ahk script. However, AutoHotkey offers much more which can enrich your offspring’s offspring’s education and entertainment—including a one-line script which verbalizes out loud the letters and numbers on the computer keyboard. But more importantly, learning to write AutoHotkey scripts exercises your mind—something everyone needs.

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Some of the scripts in this blog may not make AutoHotkey look easy, but you’ll find the first steps to AutoHotkey literacy quite simple. For a comfortable startup, check out this Introduction to AutoHotkey.

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Continue reading

Too Much Planning Can Get in the Way of Good Scripting (AutoHotkey Quick Reference Part Five)

While Preplanning Script Writing Can Be Useful, Don’t Take It Too Seriously—Sometimes It Only Makes Sense to Rewrite Everything

The AutoHotkey script writing process rarely runs in a straight line. Often I start with a vague concept of what I want to do then start fiddling with the tools. Unlike when building a toolshed or bookcase, I rarely begin with a complete plan or blueprint for an AutoHotkey script. In fact, the code may undergo numerous changes during the debugging and problem-solving phases.

sarcastictweetsFor anyone who builds things, this approach may be disconcerting. Afterall, you can’t afford to build a house by trial-and-error. The cost of wasted materials would be prohibitive. Traditionally, we spend a great deal of time in the planning phase to make sure we avoid expensive mistakes. Even in computer programming, large projects come together much better after extensive planning. But with smaller projects such as AutoHotkey scripts the opposite may be true. I often start a script with only a vague idea of what I want to do. As I work on it, the possibilities expand and I often change course. Continue reading