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

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

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

Why AutoHotkey for Artists and Graphic Designers?

While Using AutoHotkey with Windows Makes Sense for Most Professions, It’s Not So Obvious for Artists and Graphic Designers

If you work in the graphic arts on computers, then you know that a multitude of programs exists for creating designs and original art pieces. Each one works a little differently with artistcartoonspecific strengths and weaknesses. You may even use a couple of particular software packages for certain projects. Wouldn’t it be nice to own a few tools which work in every one of those programs?

When producing ads and capturing screenshots, even I use a number of disparate apps for designing and finishing the artwork. (I have a preference for the free Paint.Net program.) However, no matter how powerful and feature-filled the software, I always want the tools to do a little more while working in each program. That’s where AutoHotkey comes in. 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