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


Accessing Web Pages (AutoHotkey Tips)

Find a Consistent Relationship in URLs to Redirect Web Pages

A while back I wrote a script which accessed the AutoHotkey online documentation quickly bringing up information about commands and variables. It took advantage of a hidden index in which loaded key pages. However, as happened at the time, relying upon that index does not guarantee access. As with any Web page, things change.

The online documentation is currently going through some modifications. Possibly, in preparation for future use with the coming AutoHotkey version 2.0, we see a number of new revisions. With those alterations, the secret index has once again disappeared. That means much of my earlier work no longer functions as designed. I’ve decided to completely redo my AutoHotkey reference app with the following goals:

  1. Drop reliance on any hidden index to quickly return AutoHotkey command and variable information.
  2. Add simultaneously support for both AutoHotkey V1.1 commands and the parallel V2.0 functions.
  3. Add support for locating changes in V2.0 not directly correlating with V1.1 commands.

Continue reading

Why AutoHotkey for Students?

Ten Reasons Why Every Student Should Use the Free AutoHotkey Windows Tools! AutoHotkey Helps You So Much Academically That You’ll Think You’re Cheating! Plus, It’s Delicious Brain Food and Helps Get You a Job!

Using AutoHotkey should be mandatory for every student from high school on through college! Not merely because learning AutoHotkey invigorates the brain cells (which it does!), but robotsexismit makes all your Windows tasks so much easier that it seems unsporting. AutoHotkey takes the grunt work out academia making learning fun…almost.

(If you know a student who uses a Windows computer, then do him or her a favor by sending him or her a link to this article. If he or she doesn’t already know about AutoHotkey, he or she will thank you profusely.)

For those unfamiliar with the free open-source scripting language, AutoHotkey offers simple, yet powerful, commands for adding enhancements to any Windows computer. In addition to their simplicity, the little apps work in any Windows program or on any Web page. For a brief overview, see this “Introduction to AutoHotkey: A Review and Guide for Beginners.” 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 Poets?

Erstwhile Multifarious Poets Optated for Quill and Parchment. Forthwith, AutoHotkey Propounds the Furtherance of Lyrical Ruminations on Windows Computers.

Okay…I’m not a poet. My mind doesn’t work that way. But that doesn’t mean I can’t see how AutoHotkey might be useful to people who craft the English (or any other) language. Even so, I robotpoetryoccasionally enjoy writing a short rhyming couplet. (I know…constructing rhyming poems has become cliché—at least for real poets.)

In this blog, I offer a couple of AutoHotkey scripts for assisting and inspiring(?) budding wordsmiths. The first includes a set of over 500 Hotstrings for inserting “the most beautiful words in the English language.” The second script draws upon the Web to create a pop-up menu of rhymes. Even if you never intend to write a poem, you might find these AutoHotkey techniques interesting and/or useful. 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

Why AutoHotkey for Writers, Bloggers, and Editors?

If You Write or Edit For a Living (or Fun) and Use a Windows Computer (Most People Do), Then You Should Use the Free AutoHotkey Software

I’m starting this series I call “Why AutoHotkey?” to illustrate the many reasons for Windows users to install and learn AutoHotkey.

Since I spend most of my time writing, it only makes sense that I start off with why wordsmiths should use AutoHotkey on their Windows computers. There exists a ton of tools for bloggers and editors which include built-in spell checkers and grammar checkers. AutoHotkey does not replace any of these but rather augments them with those extras which add an edge when writing. Best of all AutoHotkey works anywhere and everywhere on a Windows computer. Continue reading