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

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Counting Words with AutoHotkey (RegEx)

How You Count Words Depends Upon How You Define a Word

AutoHotkey RegExWhile working on my new book, I finished up a chapter where, in response to a reader’s question, I demonstrated how you can count commas in a document with both the StringReplace command and the RegExReplace() function. The StringReplace command responds to the UseErrorLevel parameter to save the count while the RegExReplace() function automatically counts the number of matches for saving in an OutputCountVar variable. That gave me the idea to write a word count script using RegExReplace(). Continue reading

A Simple AutoHotkey RegEx Trick to Print a List

Sometimes I Find It Quicker to Use Ryan’s RegEx Tester to Make a Clean List

While working on my current book, I found that I needed a printed list to keep track of my progress. In many circumstances, computer-based lists work fine but sometimes I want a piece of paper which I can markup with checks, arrows, and extraneous comments. The paper sits on my desk as a working tool—never hiding behind an open window on the computer screen. It seems archaic but, for me, it’s just easier. My problem involved printing a clean list of chapters without a load of extras. Continue reading

A New Hotstring Trick and Converting Dates in Documents into DateTime Stamps (Coming Soon!)

Making a List of Future Blogs While Sequestered

ProgrammingRobotRight now, the massive book of motley AutoHotkey tips consumes the vast majority of my time. Therefore, I have less blogging time. However, I don’t want my lack of blogs to make anyone think I sit idle. In the course of the current task at hand, I’ve accumulated even more topics which I need to blog about: Continue reading

Put Your Emoji Hotstrings in a Pop-up Menu (AutoHotkey Trick)

Unless Endowed with a Photographic 📷 Memory, Who Can Memorize All the Activating Texts ✍ for Over 1000 Emoji 😀 Hotstrings? Use This Menu 🍱 Technique to Find and Insert Emojis 😀 Taken Directly from Your Hotstring Script

Who wouldn’t want all the emojis available at their fingertips? The last blog “Add Emoji Characters to Any Windows Document (AutoHotkey Hotstrings)” does just that. However, with the exception of the icons you use all the time, you won’t find remembering the activating strings easy. We need a quick lookup table to remind us of the activating strings for each image. Even better, why not a pop-up menu which both gives us the Hotstring keys and inserts the emoji? Fortunately, we can do this with a short AutoHotkey routine which searches the original EmojiInsert.ahk Hotstring file for our favorite characters.

Continue reading

The SynonymLookup.ahk Web Data-Driven App Fails (AutoHotkey Adjustments)

If the Source Code for a Web Page Changes, You May Need to Rewrite Your Web Data-Driven Script, Plus More AutoHotkey Tips

Because I do a great deal of writing, I’ve fallen in love with my SynonymLookup.ahk script which pops up a menu of alternative words for instant replacement in my documents. It’s pretty cool—even if I do say so myself. However, the other day, it ceased working.

After highlighting a redundant word, I initiated the Hotkey combination searching for an equivalent term. Nothing happened! No matter how much time passed, the script displayed nothing.

After investigating, I discovered that (exactly as I had contemplated in the first SynonymLookup.ahk blogThesaurus.com had changed the formatting of the target page source code causing my Regular Expression (RegEx) to fail. The manufactured GoTo loop I used to increase the reliability of the Web download created an infinite loop.

I needed to adapt. Continue reading

Build Your Own Dream Thesaurus Word Replacement Tool (AutoHotkey Web Application)

How to Use the Web to Feed Data to Your AutoHotkey Application—A Pop-up Menu to Replace Boring Words in Your Documents

Synonym Page
I highlight any word and hit the CTRL+L Hotkey combination. AutoHotkey downloads the code from the target Web page and parses the synonyms using RegEx—placing each in a pop-up menu. Click on any item and AutoHotkey replaces the selected word in any document or field open for text editing. In the example, the menu lists possible replacements for the word •PAGE—the first item in the menu. Click •PAGE to open Thesaurus.com at the target location.

I immediately added this short AutoHotkey script to my primary toolbox. It immediately provides me access to a list of alternative words in menu form (shown at right). Click on one of the entries and it instantly replaces the previously highlighted word. The apps beauty lies in the fact that I can utilize the Web for the database of synonyms. The script extracts the menu items directly from a Theraurus.com Web page without opening my Web browser or processing any of the code—no ads. For writers and editors (or anyone who wants to expand their vocabulary), this one script provides enough incentive to plunge into regularly employing the free AutoHotkey Windows utility language.

If Theraurus.com ever notices, I suppose this script may not make the owners of the site very happy. Any revenue they derive comes from the advertising. My app ignores all of it. They could change the formatting of the page, but then I would adjust the Regular Expression I use to extract the data. They might make an attempt to block my efforts, but I guess any such blocking technique would also block regular users. They could block my IP, but that would be a lot of work for just one person. (I would simply switch to another site offering synonyms.) In any case, I plan to continue using this AutoHotkey script until it stops working—for whatever reason. Then, I’ll fix it. Continue reading