Change Script Features on the Fly with the Windows System Tray Icon Context Menu (AutoHotkey Tip)

Dynamically Switch the Actions of a Running AutoHotkey Script with a Simple Click of a System Tray Right-Click Menu Item

From Rick Corbett:

Hi, Jack,

Talking of “Adding Actions to Windows System Tray Icon Menu“, perhaps you would consider writing about using—for example—ToggleCheck, MenuItemName to amend a running script dynamically, i.e. change something (like toggling logging to a file versus a MsgBox), then reload.

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AutoHotkey Library Deal

AutoHotkey Library Deal

That’s an excellent question, Rick! Often, after loading a script,  we want to either turn features off and on or change how they function. Adding separate Hotkeys or rewriting scripts becomes wearisome. But, what if we could add a feature to the Windows System Tray Icon Context Menu (right-click) which either toggles an action on and off or completely changes how it works? AutoHotkey offers a straightforward way to get it done. 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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For Speed, Replace the Send Command with Control, EditPaste (AutoHotkey Tip)

The Control, EditPaste Command Adds Great Speed to Standard Text Insertion Routines—within Certain Limits

My work in the last blog on “Why AutoHotkey for Students?” fired off a couple of personal AutoHotkey epiphanies. After all these years of using and writing about AutoHotkey, I continue to readthemanualsurprise myself with new discoveries. If I had read every word of the documentation (and possessed the ability to remember it all), then I may have understood these insights long ago. However, the AutoHotkey documentation contains a wealth of information which takes a great deal of time to digest.

I can’t fault the online manual because it covers nearly everything. Yet, it doesn’t always point out which bits are the most useful. When I discover a command or technique which significantly improves the operation of a script, I call it a “Best Practice.” Otherwise, I tend to keep using the same old techniques until something causes me to dig a little deeper. Last week presented just such an opportunity.

The biggest problem introduced by discovering these little gems involves going back and testing their limitations, then replacing all my old code lines with the better technique. Continue reading

Tips for Optimizing the Standard AutoHotkey Message Box (MsgBox) Command (AutoHotkey Quick Reference Part Six)

AutoHotkey MsgBox Tricks for Adding Power and Flexibility to Your Scripts. If You Want a Simple, Quick Way to Display Data and Execute Action, You’ll Love These Techniques!

As I go back to work on the AutoHotkey Quick Reference script (based upon the hidden index in the AutoHotkey Web site), I ponder what enhancements I should add next. I find fourbuttonmsgboxthat I now regularly activate the lookup Hotkey combination which displays AutoHotkey command, function, or variable formats—often just to check syntax. The usefulness of this reference script motivates me to do more with it.

After adding a special section to the script which parses the math function Web page (not yet discussed) and planning a future implementation of some pop-up menus—possibly using the Input command (discussed in the Beginning AutoHotkey Hotstrings book)—I finally settled upon including a feature which inserts the text format for commands, functions, and variables from the message box directly into any editing field. Continue reading

Why AutoHotkey for Engineers and Scientists?

While Writing AutoHotkey Scripts Should Be No Problem for Most Engineers and Scientist, Many Might Be Surprised by How Much the Free Language Offers in Windows Tools

I’m not sure how many people with technical backgrounds are familiar with AutoHotkey. My guess is that quite a few have never heard of the free open source robotpicartoonlanguage. Without a personal referral or ubiquitous marketing, free software such as AutoHotkey often goes overlooked for a long period of time. It’s not until individuals realize how much AutoHotkey can do for them that they start to explore the possibilities.

No software package does everything you want. That’s why adding little extras makes any program better. The beauty of AutoHotkey is that in addition to automating individual Windows programs, it can cross boundaries and add more features to any Windows software. Plus, it has the capability to create special pop-up apps for specific usages. The Windows utility building features in AutoHotkey can be especially helpful for anyone working in a technical field. 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

Ryan’s RegEx Tester for Building INI Data Files (AutoHotkey Quick Reference Script, Part Five)

Sometimes It’s Quicker and Easier to Use Ryan RegEx Tester Rather Than Writing an AutoHotkey Script

I used Ryan’s RegEx Tester in an earlier blog to create Web links without writing an AutoHotkey script. This time I take advantage of this powerful tool by using it to extract data for insertion into the regexrobotcartoon INI file discussed in the last blog on this topic. The fact that you can paste any text into the top of the RegEx Tester, add a Regular Expression (and a substitution expression for RegExPlace()), then extract the altered text from the bottom pane makes it a unique AutoHotkey app. This capability alone can motivate someone to learn how to write Regular Expressions.

Note: This series of blogs discusses the evolution of the AutoHotkeyQuickRef.ahk script which takes advantage of the hidden index in the AutoHotkey.com Web site.

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