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

New Hotkey Book! (AutoHotkey Tips and Tricks)

AutoHotkey Techniques and Best Practices E-Book for Automating Your Windows Computers with Hotkey Combinations—Includes Something for Everyone!

Whether you’re a noobie to AutoHotkey scripts or an advanced programmer, of all my books, AutoHotkey Hotkeys may be the most important for new little-known tricks and useful ideas. It’s not that the other books don’t cover significant features of AutoHotkey, but this book includes some of the most practical tips for adding power to your scripts. I didn’t plan it that way. Continue reading

AutoHotkey Quick Reference Script (Part Two)

The AutoHotkey.com built-in Index Reappears—Now to Build a Reference Tool!

autohotkeybooks160x600As I ventured in a new direction toward creating AutoHotkey reference scripts, I once again tested the previously discovered hidden AutoHotkey.com index (which had vanished). It re-emerged!

This left me in a quandary. Do I continue in my new direction or take up the original quick reference tool I began building with this AutoHotkey.com secret capability? Since the hidden index offers so much power, I decided to continue on my first course. (The possibility that the feature may disappear again looms over my work, but any Web site can change.) Continue reading

Build Your Own AutoHotkey Command Reference Tool (An AutoHotkey Secret)

November 1, 2016: Just as I was marching off in another direction, one more check of the AutoHotkey.com site surprised me. The hidden indexing feature discussed in this blog started working again. Go figure! Will it last? Who knows? But for now, this blog is valid again. I’ll now be able to introduce the AutoHotkey Quick Reference tool I had started working on. 

October 26, 2016: I don’t know if it’s temporary or permanent, nor do I know why, but much of the AutoHotkey Web site index capability (if not all) discussed in this blog has been disabled. I don’t know the rationale for the change or if it may return, but it was a great aid to anyone doing AutoHotkey scripting while it lasted. (One week for me from my point of discovery to its disappearance.) Stranger things have happened. Needless to say, I’m back to browser searches for AutoHotkey URLs.

Learn a Hidden AutoHotkey Trick for Quickly Accessing AutoHotkey Online Command Information

Occasionally (completely by accident), I come across surprising, eye-opening tips. In my last blog, I used an AutoHotkey script to access an online thesaurus by merely highlighting robotsecretcartoona word and hitting the assigned Hotkey. I began checking other Web sites for how easily I could run a similar site search. Naturally, since I include links to the Web reference commands in virtually every blog I write, I checked out AutoHotkey.com. In the process, I uncovered a remarkable secret. Continue reading

Make Instant Web Page Searches Your Online Thesaurus (Intermediate AutoHotkey Tip)

Expand Your Vocabulary with This Quick and Dirty AutoHotkey Tip Or Modify This Script for Any Web Page Search

This week in ComputorEdge Software Showcase I reviewed Visual Thesaurus which offers a clever way to search for and understand English synonyms. Anyone who does a great deal of writing (or merely wants to self-educate) needs a good thesaurus. While the vocabulary enhancement androidprotestcartoonsoftware fascinated me and I certainly found it uniquely useful, it appeared to be insulated from the usual AutoHotkey techniques. (Other than by first saving the result to a PDF, I found no easy technique for copying a word to the clipboard. Plus, when opening, the app does not accept preloading a search term.) Beyond launching the program with a Hotkey, I didn’t see a simple method for automating the program with AutoHotkey. Other Web thesaurus sites make it easier to launch replacement word searches. Continue reading

Peek Inside Windows Clipboard, Part 2 (Intermediate AutoHotkey OnClipboardChange Tip)

An AutoHotkey OnClipboardChange Script for Running the Most Appropriate of Two Different Clipboard Peeking Apps

Last time, I discussed viewing the contents of Windows Clipboard using either the AutoHotkey Clipboard variable or an old Microsoft Clipbook Viewer (clipbrd.exe). While the AutoHotkey MsgBox command script offers superior results whenever copied files sit in the clipboard (e.g. a text list of the paths to each file), the ClipBook Viewer better displays bitmap image files. Rather than setting up different Hotkeys for each approach, wouldn’t a script which picks the best approach for the specific data type found in the clipboard help optimize viewing process? Ideally, the AutoHotkey app would use the Clipboard variable whenever the Windows Clipboard contains text and open the ClipBook Viewer whenever the clipboard holds an image. First, we must identify the type of data found in the clipboard. Continue reading