AutoHotkey Tip of the Week: Windows Trick for Adding Embedded Folder Icons to QuickLinks Menus

This Technique Accesses Icons Embedded in Windows Folders for Inserting into Pop-up Menus—Plus, the New Combined Switch/Case Statement QuickLinks QL_GetIcon() Function

I completely rewrote the functions from the last blog for adding icons to the menus in the QuickLinks.ahk script combining the two into a shorter prioritized list using Switch/Case statements. In the process—after investigating how to read icons embedded in Windows folder/directory listings—I discovered an interesting Windows secret. It turns out that this procedure requires a totally different Windows maneuver than that used for reading Windows Shortcut file icons.

The Windows Desktop.ini File

UnHideFiles
Ryan’s UnHideFiles.ahk script makes Windows Registry changes to hide and unhide files.

When you embed an icon into a Windows folder (right-click on the folder name in Windows File Explorer, select Properties and the Customize tap, then click Change Icon… and browse for icons), rather than saving the icon path and icon number in the folder itself—as Windows does for shortcut files—it creates a special hidden file named desktop.ini in that same folder. With Windows set to Show Hidden Files, folder and drives in the View tab of the Folder Options window, you can view the hidden desktop.ini file in that folder. (Tip: You can use Ryan’s UnHideFiles.ahk script to hide and unhide files and folders.) Continue reading

AutoHotkey Tip of the Week: Use the GUI Menu Bar for Instant Hotkeys

Rather than Creating New Hotkeys and Isolating Them Using the #IfWinActive Directive, Simply Add Keyboard Accelerators Using a GUI Menu Bar

Note: This week’s keyboard accelerator tip is not the same technique as adding an ampersand before any letter in a menu item—although that trick still works. The beauty of this technique lies in the fact that you can embed and execute a multitude of active window Hotkey-like actions in a menu bar without ever opening the menu itself.

In almost every one of my books, I discuss using the Menu command to build free-floating selection lists for a wide variety of tasks. I use menus for the HotstringMenu.ahk script, the QuickLinks.ahk favorites app, SynomynLookup.ahk, and numerous other purposes. In the GUI ListView control examples found in the AutoHotkey Applications book for the to-do list, the address book, the calorie counting app and listings of icon images, the right-click context menu pops open for individual action items. Menus provide an easy method for adding features to AutoHotkey scripts while saving space. I’ve always known that you can add a menu bar to the top of any AutoHotkey GUI (Graphical User Interface) but had little to say about it—until now.

ToDoListINI
The Ctrl+T in the menu bar item creates an accelerator key combination which, whenever pressed, acts as an active window Hotkey for instantly executing the option—even without opening the GUI menu bar.

While working on my latest to-do list script (ToDoListINI.ahk), I realized that I wanted to add a couple more options to the app, but I didn’t like the idea of inserting more buttons into the GUI. I naturally turned to a menu bar at the top of the GUI which could include many more actions while taking up minimal area. After a quick glance at the Gui, Menu command, I realized that I had routinely overlooked one of the most important aspects of Gui menu bars: accelerator keyboard combinations. Continue reading

Username and Password Protection in AutoHotkey

While You Won’t Find Absolute Password Protection, There Are a Number of Techniques Available to Help Hide Your Secrets

Computer security is one of the major issues of these times. How do we protect our data? Even after all of the latest innovations in cybersecurity, we hear about hacks of major sites and institutions. With all the ways we use today’s computers, we want to feel as safe as possible.

Caution: Human error (e.g. opening the wrong attachment, not changing passwords, etc.) offers the number one opportunity for the bad guys to invade your privacy. If someone gains access to your computer, then you have virtually no protection. Some people either don’t add a password to their Windows computer or allow autologin when the machine boots up. That’s a mistake! Always require password login to access your Windows computer. Otherwise, you make it too easy for people who stumble upon your computer—either in your office or cyberspace. Continue reading

How to Send E-mail Directly from an AutoHotkey Script

Using Windows CDO COM, You Can Send E-mail Without Opening Your E-mail Program

RobotEmailCartoonIn my last blog, I wrote a short script for extracting data from a Web page without using a Web browser (“Quick and Dirty Web Data Extraction Script“). As a demonstration, I showed how to quickly download and cull a daily horoscope from an astrology site for display in a MsgBox window. It occurred to me that rather than using a Hotkey each time I wanted to view my horoscope, I would prefer to receive it each morning in an e-mail. That way I could set up the script to run automatically and push the data to me at the same time every day. Plus, I can view an e-mail on any device (e.g. smartphone, tablet, or non-Windows computer) without any special programming. This requires sending an e-mail via an AutoHotkey script. Continue reading

Use the FileSelectFile Command to Save Instant Hotstrings to an AutoHotkey File

After Taking the Time to Create Hotstrings with the InstantHotstring.ahk Script, It Only Makes Sense to Save the Code to an AutoHotkey File for Future Use

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This blog is part of a series of articles discussing how to create instant Hotstrings using the Hotstring() function.

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Ultimately, after writing and activating a number of Hotstrings with the InstantHotstrings.ahk script, we want to save them in an AutoHotkey file. That frees us from recreating the set of auto-replacements the next time we need them. Plus, rather than always loading the Hotstrings into the app, we can run the .ahk file directly with AutoHotkey. Continue reading

Beginning Hotstring Tricks for Expanding Acronyms (AutoHotkey Tips)

Hotstring Techniques for Expanding Abbreviations Only When You Need Them, Plus How to Sound British…Sort Of

One benefit I’ve discovered when using my InstantHotstring.ahk script includes quickly checking the effects of the various Hotstring options. Without re-editing and reloading an AutoHotkey script, I can test the assorted options and see how they modify the behavior of each Hotstring. This helps me understand how to solve some Hotstring problems. Continue reading

Add Single-Key Shortcuts to QuickLinks App (AutoHotkey Quick Tip)

Reader Uses Menu Shortcut Keys to Speedup QuickLinks.ahk Action

Alan posted the following comment on Pressing GUI Buttons with a Single Keystroke (AutoHotkey Tip):

Hi, Jack,

Thanks for making such useful contributions to AHK.

I found QuickLinks to be useful but then was looking to make it even more helpful by having key shortcuts. I figured out how to do it! You can let others know if you can point out adding an ampersand in front of the letter of the folder or shortcut.

Thanks, 

Alan

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I’m gratified that a number of people are using and modifying the QuickLinks.ahk script. It’s evolved considerably since I first introduce the barebones version in the book Digging Deeper Into AutoHotkey. In AutoHotkey Applications, I added icons using the Menu,…,Icon, command. In my most recent Motley Assortment of AutoHotkey Tips, I modified the script to add a number of other features. More recently, I wrote a blog which highlighted changes increasing the power of the script by another reader, “Open and Print Files with the QuickLinks App (AutoHotkey Tip from a Reader)“. In all that time, I never thought to talk about using the single-key shortcut menu technique available in all Windows menus with the QuickLinks.ahk script. Continue reading