According to James Clear (in Atomic Habits) our identity emerges out of our habits. We aren’t born with preset beliefs. Every belief, including those about ourselves, is learned and conditioned through experience.
More precisely, our habits are how we embody our identity.
The more you repeat a behavior, the more you reinforce the identity associated with that behavior.
In fact, the word identity was originally derived from the Latin words essentitas, which means being, and identidem, which means repeatedly.
Your identity is literally your repeated beingness
Whatever your identity is right now, you only believe it because you have proof of it.
If you go to church every Sunday, you have evidence that you are religious.
If you study biology every night, you have evidence that you are studious.
If you go to the gym, even when it’s snowing, you have evidence you’re committed to fitness.
The more evidence you have for a belief, the more strongly you will believe it.
This is why I highly recommend you schedule time each week on your calendar for learning AutoHotkey.
There are many AHK Hero members that are on our calls every week. And it’s super obvious they are becoming automation experts! By regularly attending our calls, contributing to the private Telegram chat, and working through our AutoHotkey courses they are becoming true automation experts! We can tell because we see what they’re working on and are often inspired by their scripts.
Why don’t you join? Here are a list of common objections why most people don’t join and our best response to their concerns. Most members realize the membership is an investment in themselves! Sign up now! I guarantee you will be happy with your choice!
Now on with the show…
How to Use AutoHotkey withoutInstalling it
Most of us are fortunate enough to have admin rights on our computers. Sometimes, especially in Corporate America, we have to jump through hoops to get AutoHotkey installed. (Think about how crazy that is! We have to fight to install a tool that will make us more efficient, productive, and accurate).
Anyway, sometimes it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission and just use AutoHotkey without installing it. In this video Isaias and I show how you can easily use AutoHotkey if you have access to the AutoHotkey executable.
Using AutoHotkey without installing it
Quickly Comparing Lists
Irfan and I were discussing using colors to help convey relationships in a GUI. I asked him if he’d seen the Compare Sets script I wrote some years back. When you have a list of items and you’re trying to understand which ones are unique and which ones overlap it is a HUGE time saver! This script is a “must have” to keep in your AHK toolbox.
The tool breaks out the two lists into three, distinct, groups. It also provides hotkeys that allow you to easily copy the items in each one to the clipboard.
Easily Compare lists / comparing sets Sets with AutoHotkey
Getting the Text Under your Mouse
While the built-in OCR on our Window Snipping tool is pretty amazing, a lot of programs let UIA peek inside it to grab text. This tool uses UIA to, programmatically, get the text under your mouse. It can be a life-saver! You can learn more here in this video.
🖱️ Get the scoop on the text under your mouse with AutoHotkey : Works in most Windows programs❗️
Before you Wipe your system…
A couple of weeks ago I made the plunge and switched to Windows 11. I asked Isaias to join me on this call to discuss what I should keep before wiping my C:\drive / Windows Install. Thankfully the vast majority of my files are stored under DropBox. This includes things like: My Desktop, Documents, Pictures, etc. We did go through some of the places where Windows stores settings that I wasn’t clear on…
Wiping my system before installing Windows
Hiding a program from the Taskbar
Often when I’m recording my screen I’d like to remove the tool I’m using from the TaskBar. In this video I show how this can easily be achieved with AutoHotkey. Obviously there are other reasons you might want to do this (most are ethical)
Remember saying “I don’t have time” really means that it is not a priority. If someone offered you a ton of cash to do whatever you claim you don’t have time for…you’d probably find the time! We all priortize what we do; understanding that is key!
Consider joining the 🦸♀️AHK Hero club! Members receive 25% off courses, consultations, tutoring, done for you project work, etc. They also have access to exclusive & pre-released content and a 3 hours a week where we help people with their AHK issues (the Saturday call is geared towards people new to AutoHotkey.)
🗣️ 💭 Quotable quotes
Whatever Your Mind Can Conceive and Believe, It Can Achieve. — Napoleon Hill
Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree and I’ll spend the first four sharpening the axe — Abraham Lincoln
If the world should blow itself up tomorrow, the last audible voice would be an expert saying: it can’t be done —Peter Ustinov
Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded — Yogi Berra
Do you know someone that would benefit from learning useful automation tips like the gems in today’s issue? Take a second and forward this newsletter and bask in the glow of their undying gratitude. Was this email forwarded to you?
P.S. Your habits define you (over time). This is one of the main reasons why I recommend you block time on your calendar for learning AutoHotkey. As I mentioned above, we’ve been seeing Hero Members really level-up their skills! When you join the AHK hero club you are making the commitment to yourself to become an AHK expert! Do it now!
So, you’ve decided to not take me up on our unbelievable offer of joining the AHK Hero group. I view this as my failure because, all of our members agree, it is an incredible offer.
Here are some of the top objections / reasons why you might have decided the AHK hero club is not for you and why we disagree.
Reality: Many of the AHK hero members are very new to AutoHotkey. They enjoy the calls and the Telegram chat because they can ask questions and save themselves a TON of time by getting feedback from experts that understand lack of knowledge is not a sign of lack of intelligence. Also the Saturday call is intendedfor people new to AutoHotkey
Reality: Many of our members are retired and are loving AutoHotkey to keep their mind active. Our eldest member recently celebrated his 82nd birhtday!
Reality: Let me ask you this. Do you have all the time you would possibly want? Or are you like the rest of us that are limited on your time? Learning AutoHotkey is a way of “buying time”. Having access to AHK Experts means you can save even more time because we can point you in the right direction saving you a ton of time!
Also we currently offer and bill-out at $71.99 an hour which equals ~$217 each week or $868 per month. And that’s not taking into account access to the private Telegram group where members can ask questions during the week as well as getting 25% off on all of our courses and consultations. Our Hero members agree the AHK Hero group is a STEAL❗
Reality: The vast majority of people using AutoHotkey have ZERO background / education in programming! I’ve spoken to hundreds of AutoHotkey users, fielded two “AHK Surveys” having over 400 respondents and am connected to thousands of people on LinkedIn (connect with me here) that have “AutoHotkey” in their profile and I can 💯% guarantee the vast majority of people using AutoHotkey are not “programmers”. It’s one of the true selling points of AutoHotkey!
Reality: A lot of people stumble upon AutoHotkey and try a few things but are unsuccessful at being able to automate their Windows program. They might even ask an “expert” on the AHK forum, Reddit or Discord for help. The painful truth is the vast majority of AutoHotkey users know 1 or 2 approaches for automating programs.
We have 19 distinct methods for automating programs with AutoHotkey. And when we don’t know the answer, we have 41 recognized AutoHotkey experts that we can reach out to. As a matter of fact, we have yet to find a program that we can’t automate!
Reality: Here’s the plain truth; NOBODY and I mean NOBODY “knows it all”. And even when you find true AutoHotkey experts, they’re missing the point about the community. There’s a phrase I’ve coined in RPA (Robotics Process Automation). In Desktop Automation, if you don’t study what other people have done with AHK you’re not “doomed to repeat it” you “fail to repeat it”. Meaning we are constantly learning from each other’s uses and innovations. As humans it is often hard to see what we’re “missing”. So, by watching how others are using AHK, we get inspired as to ways we might use it.
Reality: A lot of people think they don’t do repetitive tasks however our days are filled with them. We’re just poor at recognizing that they are the same thing over and over. One way to help spot them is by batching your work. When you start grouping together the tasks you do, it is easier for us to realize we’re repeating the same process over and over. Batching alone helps us be more productive however this is where AHK users really start to shine as they let the humans do the “hard thinking part” and then let the computer repeat the mundane task.
Reality: This is flat-out not true. Tank, the leader of the AHK forum (and also happens to be a tenant and good friend of mine) has the following directly from Chris Mallett. Chris did not want the AHK forum to be a “for profit” environment. Meaning we can’t put ads on the forum / and the AHK Foundation cannot earn money for licensing however Chris in no way what-so-ever wanted to prohibit people from making money off AutoHotkey. I’m thinking Chris realized that, by allowing people to monetize their knowledge / scripts it would draw more interest from people (like us). Thus the AHK Community wins because more people are creating amazing things with AutoHotkey!
Reality: This is a very common misconception. While you might be using a program that, itself, we are not using, the program is more than likely to have been written in a language which AutoHotkey can automate. True, out of the 12,424 AutoHotkey scripts I have on my computer, none may automate your program directly however many will be very close and similar in the approach.
Reality: The good news here is that we don’t share our videos with the general population. Only AHK Heroes are provided with links to the videos / can attend the Zoom meetings. While we still encourage people to anonymize their screens / data, the number of people that actually view a given videos is very low (around 25) thus it is much more private than you probably thought. If you truly have private data, you can schedule a consultation with us and we will not share your video /scripts with anyone. When I lived in Washington, D.C. I had a Top-Secret security clearance as I did work for: FBI, DIA, CIA, etc. Trust me when I say I take privacy VERY seriously! Your Intellectual Property is (somewhat) protected.
Reality: A lot of our members don’t attend the calls. However, you can watch the recordings at your convenience, however many simply use the private Telegram group for asking questions and getting help/quick direction. Most days we have several people asking questions and getting help. It’s a much friendlier place the AHK Subreddit and much simpler than Discord. Besides, in our group you know you’re getting advice from true experts, not just people who happen to hang out.
Reality: We’ve lead 68AHK webinars, 145AHK Podcasts, 85 live streams helping AHK Users and have over 1,300+ AutoHotkey videos on YouTube. We’ve already had 90+ AHK Hero 1-hour sessions where we’ve helped members. We’re also running the largest AHK Facebook group, both LinkedIn AHK groups (btw- I have ~1,400 LinkedIn connections that use AutoHotkey), and have ~43 AHK Gurus on “speed dial”. It doesn’t hurt that Tank / Charlie Simmons is the admin to the AHK Forum, is a close friend and a tenant of mine. I have over 12,000+ AutoHotkey scripts on my computer and, between Isaias and I we have been working with AutoHotkey for ~26 years.
Reality: I 💯% understand and agree. It’s why we have the following rules that we heavily enforce:
Practice respect for yourself and others.
Critique Ideas not people.
Accept & give constructive criticism.
Make sure everyone gets a chance to contribute or speak.
If others are talking wait your turn.
No politics. Period!
While it is a great benefit to attend the calls live, you can still watch the recorded versions at your convenience. And the private Telegram group is something that can be used at your convenience. Since the Hero club is “global” there are people often answering questions at all-hours!
Reality: While this is likely accurate, the truth is tracking down the correct answer can take a lot of time. Yes, sources like YouTube, Reddit, AHK forum, and Chat GPT can be very helpful however our members agree, there is no comparison to talking to an industry expert that work through a Question & Answer session live.
Reality: The truth is that most of us using AutoHotkey don’t want to be programmers. But we all want to get more done in less time and automating the mundane parts of Windows programs is one of the best ways to get more done. Sadly, there is no “one way” to automate programs thus we need to learn different approaches depending on the task at hand. All of this gets you back to working on more important things.
Reality: One of the things I truly value about Isaias is that he understands that the answers provided need to be at the skill & knowledge level of the person we’re helping. Many of the Hero members are very entry level while we have some that are very advanced. Also, the Saturday session is meant for people that are just learning AutoHotkey.
Reality: You may find this hard to believe but, there was a time, where I hated being on a webcam. It’s actually why I started doing the calls with Jackie Sztuk around 10 years ago. But the truth is most of the Heroes don’t have their webcams on during the call. Many of us are introverts and cherish our privacy so there’s no problem not having a webcam on and not speaking.
Reality: You may have heard this phrase: The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The 2nd best time is today! The truth is we only have time for things when we make time for them. If you don’t put it on your calendar now and start regularly learning how to be more productive you’ll always be “behind the 🎱 8-ball” rushing from project to project. Only by investing in being more productive will you ever get ahead of the game. The more AutoHotkey you learn, the more free time you have!
Reality: While there is definitely nothing wrong with learning AutoHotkey on your own, we’ve found that we learn most when we have an expert available answering questions when we’re stuck. It’s greatly reduces the amount of time it takes to learn something when you have an expert that can explain something directly to you.
Reality: I’ve had calls with several hundred AutoHotkey users and I can tell you this. You’ll have far more in common with the mind-set of another AutoHotkey user than you will with: colleagues, friends and family. I know this is a bold claim but I’ve found it to be very true! We all want to get stuff done and don’t want to spend a lot of time doing the work. Getting something that can help me move forward with what I’m trying to do is our #1 goal!
Reality: To tell you the truth, I’m not either! I just want to be able to focus on what matters, not the mundane. But, if I need to spend time learning AHK to be more efficient, then that is what I’ll do because, frankly, I just have too much to do and can’t be dragged down by the mundane.
Reality: Every language has it’s niche. AutoHotkey is the “Swiss Army Knife” for Windows. It’s, by far, the simplest and easiest language to learn yet is amazingly powerful. AutoHotkey “hooks” into various Windows APIs better than any other language. Because of this, it has an amazing amount of “built-in” functionality (because in reality you’re using the Windows API to achieve the task; AHK just makes it easier for you). AutoHotkey v1 is super simple to learn however was tricky at doing more advanced things. AutoHotkey v2 has a slightly-higher learning curve but is better for doing medium to advanced projects.
Reality: English is not the first language for several people in the Hero group. But, if you’re reading this, your English is probably “good enough”. Our Hero sessions are hosted on YouTube (but they are unlisted so nobody can find them) which means you can enable subtitles and those can help you if you’re struggling.
Reality: This is very true however remember the old axiom “You get what you pay for”. In truth, unless you’re a “saint” the quality of the answer & willingness to help others is related to “what’s in it for me”. Thus, by paying us for helping you, we have a vested interest in ensuring you get your problem solved.
Reality: The truth of the matter is: Automating your life is the best way to “buy time”. Humans have been using intellect to create tools to make them more efficient for as long as time has been recorded. AutoHotkey just happens to be the easiest RPA (Robotics Process Automation) tool to use on a windows computer. If you’ve never heard the “sharpen the saw” story, I highly encourage you to check out this short video.