AutoHotkey [Download of the Day]

By Abhinav Lal Published Date
11 - Aug - 2010
| Last Updated
05 - May - 2014
AutoHotkey [Download of the Day]

AutoHotkey is an incredibly lightweight open-source utility that allows users to assign hotkeys and macro actions to almost any operation in Windows. Powerful, AutoHotkey can really save time and tedious clicking, especially for repetitive or complex operations in your daily computer experience. Users will find they’ve extremely easy access to various functions and programs, and can simply remap keys on their mouses, joysticks/gamepads, and keyboards.

There are plenty of great features to be found within the 1.95MB download/2.5MB installed AutoHotkey software, and the degree of customizability, while expected for this sort of software, is still remarkable. Based on scripting similar in syntax to BASIC, AutoHotkey gives both expert users a wide range of functions, and makes it really simple for novice users with its macro recorder and syntax-checker.

Here are some of the major command sets and assistance users can use:

  • Environment management
  • File, directory and disk management
  • Flow of Control
  • Functions
  • GUI, MsgBox, InputBox and others
  • Keyboard control
  • Mouse control
  • Math commands
  • Misc commands
  • Process management
  • Registry management
  • Sound commands
  • String managment
  • Window management

Scripts will be executed by the program, and contain a series of user-defined commands, which can also include hotkeys and hotstrings (text that will expand when abbreviated, or also perform an action). A simple example is given below:

To create a new script:

1. Right-click an empty spot on your desktop or in a folder of your choice.
2. In the menu that appears, select New -> AutoHotkey Script.
3. Type a name for the file, ensuring that it ends in .ahk. For example: Test.ahk
4. Right-click the file and choose Edit Script.
5. On a new blank line, type the following:
6. #space::Run
7. Save and close the file
8. Double-click the file to load the script
9. Press hotkey (Windows button and space bar) to execute it


Now # refers to the Windows button, and space to the space bar. This results in being opened by your default browser whenever you press the Windows button in conjunction with the space bar. Just as simply, you could access a program, a document, and email address, simply substituting with the relevant path/address when using the Run command.

There's plenty a user can do, from expanding abbreviations to creating custom data-entry forms, user interfaces, and menu bars, even turning scripts into EXE files, or making them respond to remote control input, and much more. Its capabilities are limitless. As anyone who’s had any hands-on programming experience will now, anything is possible, dependant only on the limits of your ingenuity. If comprehension = 0, then run terminate.bat

If interest in AutoHotkey = 1, then download here. If interest in Download_of_the_Day = 1, then redirect here.

Abhinav LalAbhinav Lal