AutoHotkey (AHK) is a free, open-source macro-creation and automation software for Windows that allows users to automate repetitive tasks. It is driven by a scripting language that was initially aimed at providing keyboard shortcuts, otherwise known as hotkeys, that over time evolved into a full-fledged scripting language.
January 13th, 2022 – January AutoHotkey Newsletter
Is 2022 going the way you wanted? I saw a video the other day and it reminded me of how my colleagues would react when I’d show them some of my AutoHotkey scripts. I’d then spend ~1 hour showing them how simple it is to start using AutoHotkey. The vast majority people would thank me, profusely, for the demo and then go on their merry way (never bothering to spend any time to Learn AutoHotkey. %Name%, I hope you realize that YOUare not one of these people! It’s one of the best things I realized about other AutoHotkey users. We’re all long-term thinkers that are willing to spend more time up front and start working Smarter, not harder.
BTW I had a good call with HellBent the other day. He’s taking an updated version of AutomateMyTask and adapting it to use his Image class so we can re-enable DPI but not have scaling issues. 😊 Hopefully I’ll have a new release in the coming weeks.
If you haven’t played with AutomateMyTask , it’s a great, simple, AutoHotkey syntax writer. You can search for images and click where it’s found, send text to edit fields and more. Here’s an Intro video.
In this video I demonstrate a Regular Expression I wrote that helps me quickly write this newsletter. When I’m writing the newsletter, I typically put in the thumbnail for the video and hyperlink to it. Unfortunately there are a LOT of formats for a YouTube video. That’s where RegEx can really help you out!
Hotkey for Pasting an Image
If you have specific images that you’d like to be able to, quickly, paste into various documents you might like this video where I show how to create a hotkey for pasting images.
Various Excel File attributes
Do you do much work with Excel? In this video I show how you can easily get, and set, many of the attributes. This can be really helpful but is definitely a “long-term” win.
Simple Flexible Resizable GUI function
While I have ways to easily dump text to SciTE, AHK Studio, and VS code, sometimes I do want to dump a lot of text into a resizable GUI. In this video I show an update to the simple GUI function I wrote (with Maestrith’s help)
One of my favorite, simple, tips is to be decisive and “touch it once” (that’s what she said…lol). The basics are, if you touch something, act on it. Don’t put things off over, and over, and over. Also don’t pickup things that you, clearly, don’t have enough time to work on. Here’s a great video going deeper.
A spot of Humor 🤣
It’s an oldie, but have you ever seen the “exploding whale” video? Back in the 70’s a whale was beached in Oregon. Their ingenious idea? Blow it up!
Quotable quotes 🗣️ 💭
The secret to getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one. — Mark Twain
If you’re a giver learn your limit, because takers don’t have any!
You can observe a lot by just watching — Yogi Berra
Is it just me, or did the first week of 2022 FLY by💨? Did you make any resolutions about being more productive this year? If so, what steps have you taken to ensure you meet them? Yesterday I spent a fair amount of time working through the Intro to Classes tutorial Jean Lalonde led. Of course I’m planning a video to help document my progress and help others. 😊
Speaking of Jean, A great productivity tip is to change the default icon for your Windows folder. In this video Jean and I discuss how you can change the default icon for your folder. It’s a great way to work smarter! Jean also showed me how you can apply your Quick Access Popup icon to the folder for Windows!
I was verifying phone numbers and realized I could make a short API video documenting the process with AutoHotkey. In this short video I walk you through how I did it with API calls in AutoHotkey. API calls are amazing!
Troubleshooting your scripts
When you’re automating programs, the Windows UAC (User Account Control) can be a pain in the neck! In this video I discuss how it can be, temporarily, disabled. It’s one of the first things I do when troubleshooting. That and running your script as an Admin.
Do you have something you don’t want to do? Tie an appropriate-sized reward to doing it! For instance, when I was in college I’d reward myself after studying by watching an episode of Seinfeld. I also would go shopping after a big test. You’ll re-train your brain to actually look forward to the activity!
A spot of Humor 🤣
If you’ve never seen the Crazy Hot matrix, you’re in for a real laugh! I remember the first time I watched this laughing so hard it was embarrassing!
Quick Access Popup news
I know I talk a lot about Quick Access Popup however I really think it’s one of the easiest ways for people of all skill levels to work smarter, not harder. In this video I walk through some of how I use the tool. It’s amazingly powerful for both non-AutoHotkey users and those of us that are developing tools in AutoHotkey (or other languages)!
The Magic of ActiveX
In case you missed it, this tutorial with Maestrith 🧙♂️ and HellBent is a great one showing how you can simplify your GUI using an ActiveX GUI. Even if you’re not building GUIs,
it’s always fun to sit-back and watch Maestrith get his groove on!
Quotable quotes 🗣️
I will always hire a lazy person to do a hard job, because they will always find an easy way to do it — Bill Gates
Put systems in place that will allow ordinary people to do extraordinary things — Joe Glines
I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it. — Thomas Jefferson
Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours. — Yogi Berra
The other day on the main AutoHotkey Facebook group I saw a question about refreshing a GUI every 30 seconds. I remembered, quite a few years ago, Maestrith showed HellBent and I how to use an ActiveX GUI to drastically increase the performance of a script which was drawing thousands of images on the screen. With some creative searching I was able to find the video. Unfortunately the audio quality is poor. I tried cleaning it up a bit but I believe what Maestrith teaches is well worth the painful sound. Just keep in mind this was all done on the fly. Maestrith and I were on Hangouts and HellBent joined us with the question so excuse the lack of being prepared but I think showing how Maestrith works through things is great for us mortals.
The Magic of ActiveX and AutoHotkey
In this video I show how to use the GDIP library to create a 10X10 pixel. This is where the video starts. I wanted to make sure we had a simple way to generate a 10×10 bmp file.
A while back someone wrote me saying how IE is dead and wondering how we can automate other browsers. While IE is definitely on it’s death-bed, I do still automate IE for sites that will let IE load. Someone mentioned that Windows 11 completely removes Internet Explorer thus, if you’re running Windows 11, automating IE is not an option. I looked into this and had some very interesting discoveries:
The IWB2 Learner tool works within Edge when in “IE Mode”
In Windows 11, you can add IE back and still use it in IE mode. (I’ll document how I did this in a later video)
When I realized the above, I played with Edge (in IE Mode) in Windows 10 & Windows 11 and was able to connect to the DOM! Granted my approach sucked but I asked Tank (Charlie Simmons) to take a look at it and he borrowed on the concept and re-wrote what i did into something that is decentily reliable. You can get the download here
Here’s a video showing how I use AutoHotkey to Automate IE from within Edge!
Well 2021 is on the way out and I’m excited and optimistic for 2022. How about you?
Any plans to learn a new automation topic?
I need to dive deep into Classes. I actually found around 4+ Hours of videos of Maestrith & Hellbent where Maestrith
was teaching us classes. I’m going to see if I can edit them and clean them up decently enough to share.
If you didn’t see the intro to Classes tutorial that Jean Lalonde did for us, you should check it out! 👍 Make 2021 the year you really start investing in yourself. I guarantee you this, you’ll never be disappointed you learned something that saves time & makes your life easier!
BTW- I did just hit a major goal. I created my 1,000 AutoHotkey video‼️ 😃
That’s a LOT of videos! I want to thank you for watching my videos. I’ve learned a lot over the years and have been improving in my video
skills (but still have much to learn).
From what I can tell I have at least 3X the number of AutoHotkey videos as any other channel.u
Soon I hope to surpass HellBent with the total number of subscribers. If you’re not a YouTube subscriber, please consider it. I only mention a fraction of my videos in this newsletter.
Hellbent said, when I pass him, he’ll start making more videos so, ironically, subscribing to me will get him back in the game. 😊
Years ago I was on a call with Maestrith when HellBent joined and had a question about how to speed-up his GUI.
He was using a traditional GUI approach and, when he’d draw ~1,000 items, it was slowing way down. Maestrith, on the fly, showed us how to create an ActiveX GUI and then adapted HellBent’s GUI to make use of it. The
audio quality is poor and the video is grainy however I think it was some AMAZING teachings! Just remember, there was zero prep on this so
Maestrith was troubleshooting as he’s developing. You can get the scripts here.
Also, this video was ~45 min. I decided to make a short version talking
through the first script he developed which you can check out here.
In this quick walk through I show how handy Webservice APIs can be! I used a service to look up phone numbers append demographic information about who (supposedly) owns it. Of course this is just scratching the surface of APIs. I
have a TON of examples and tutorials on our API page
Help Tab Nation / How does AHK work in your games 🎮?
In this video, Thom, from Tab Nation, asks for your help in learning how AutoHotkey works with various games. You can use this source to understand how to use AutoHotkey with the games or comment on the video to help others!
I’ve been doing some shorter Quick Access Popup tutorials. In this tutorial Jean Lalonde and I show how easy it is to add icons (which really help you find what you’re looking for). BTW we did a follow up video (not released yet) which shows how you can update your Windows folder icons (both manually and with qap).
Troubleshooting your Hotkeys & HotStrings
Temporarily raising your script to an Admin level is a quick/ easy way to troubleshoot your script. It’s not a great permanent fix, but it’s a great first step to see if it is a problem.
It seems hard to believe but Christmas is here🎄! I hope you’re able to spend time with the people you care about!
Last night I received a generous donation from Hojung out of Dublin. While the 💲 is much appreciated, his note about how, by watching my videos and using the-Automator he’s been learning AutoHotkey and using it to save a ton of time. Check out the amazing note! These notes really make my day!
I also want to give a shout out to Julija K. who bought 47 licenses of both Intro to AutoHotkey & Intermediate AutoHotkey! I hope they help people save time! Julija, if you’re listening, I’m happy to plan a free Zoom call to give an intro to people. If anyone else is considering buying bulk licenses (more than 10),reach out to me directly and we can figure out a good approach that will save you 💵 and get people started saving time with AutoHotkey!
Free Access to FAQ2 Udemy course
I just checked and there’s a few (28 of the 100) coupons left available for free access to the Intro to FAQ2: What to know when you start to code in AutoHotkey. I recommend you grab it while you can! Currently the coupons are exclusive to subscribers like you %Name%. Next week I’ll post the code on my YouTube channel and social media. BTW are you subscribed to my YouTube channel? I recommend you subscribe as there is content there that I don’t share in the Newsletter.
Would you like a way to compare mic levels? While most tools provide a visual indicator of the levels, I wanted a more quantitative (numeric) approach. Check out this tool which will takes an average and provides you with a numeric comparison.
Break big projects into small tasks (and put them on your calendar)
Always work from a (physical) list (I find crossing things off VERY rewarding!)
A spot of Humor 🤣
Quick Access Popup news
I’m making some shorter videos with Jean Lalonde, the author of Quick Access Popup. It’s an amazing tool that can greatly simplify your life! I highly recommend you give it a try! I probably launch it over 100 times a day! If you want to save time and be more organized, it’s a no-brainer!
Here you can get early access to a video where we show how you can <href=”https://youtu.be/oyLvMmOmeVA”>easily access mobile devices (and other special folders
Quotable quotes 🗣️ 💭
The thing about smart people is that they sound crazy to dumb people. — Steve Jobs
Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort. — Paul J. Meyer
It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance. – Thomas Sowell
Hard to believe 2021 is nearly wrapped up! We had an amazing Christmas party 🥳at our new house. The White elephant 🐘 gift exchange was a blast!
As I mentioned in this video, I launched a new AutoHotkey FAQ2 Udemy course and have 100 FREE coupons 😁 for newsletter subscribers.
You can learn more about the course and get the coupon here. The course touches on many things that trip people up when they first start learning AutoHotkey.
We also have the FREE FAQ1 course– what to know before you code which is free and has many great tools for coding in AutoHotkey. Here are 8 scripts in that course (there are more but these are the main ones that will help nearly all people that code in AutoHotkey):
AHKEditSwap– Allows you to easily change your default editor of AutoHotkey scripts
AHKAddToStartup – Easily add AutoHotkey scripts (or any program) to the Windows startup process
AHKScriptScan– Have a way to peek inside AutoHotkey files & highlight possible hacks
AHKHelp– Have access to AutoHotkey help in ANY program. It also searches YouTube for videos on your topic!
AHKScriptHub– Easily access, reload, edit, pause, suspend, or jump to folders of any running AutoHotkey script
AHKToolkit– Speed-up your AutoHotkey code development
AutomateMyTask – Easily find & click images (or controls). AmT writes your AutoHotkey syntax for you!
Free Live AutoHotkey & Quick Access Popup help Fridays
Did you know that from 10-11 on Friday’s Jean Lalonde and I hang out in Zoom (and on my YouTube channel) and offer people 🆓 AutoHotkey and Quick Access Popup help?
You can sign up to get reminders and join the zoom meeting here or just go to the live stream on my YouTube channel.
We often have some very fun and interesting discussions while helping attendees. Jean’s been showing some of the cool functionality of a new tool that will manipulate text in the clipboard as well as other gems of things he’s been working on.
Ever want to use AutoHotkey to record audio? With the downloading of the 🐟 BASS.DLL file you can easily do it. I tested it out and it was very solid and easy to use.
Creating Bar Charts 📊
Sometimes you might have a little bit of data you want to graph. The GDI library is amazing! In this video I showed how someone wrote a wrapper to simplify creating of charts with AutoHotkey. It’s much easier than you would think!
Intro to using Classes in AutoHotkey
Jean Lalonde re-wrote Quick Access Popup a few years back to leverage classes. I asked him if he’d give me an Intro to Classes in AutoHotkey and he nailed it! When you first learn AutoHotkey I think learning Functions is your best way to level-up. After you’ve mastered functions learning Classes is a natural next step! Why don’t you dive into it today?
Howdy %Name%, are you ready for Winter❄️? I don’t mind the temperature change however I do miss the amount of the day that is light out 🌞.
What are you doing manually today that you could automate?
Developer’s corner – Life support for IE
During one the Friday free AutoHotkey / Quick Access Popup support hours someone asked about automating IE in Windows 10 & Windows 11. I did some research and Windows 11 doesn’t come with IE installed however you can add it back. Later I’ll record a video how I used a Virtual Box to install Windows 11 and IE. Meanwhile, when I was testing IE mode of Edge in Windows 10 I noticed that the IWB2 Learner tool was able to identify elements on the page! I showed this to Tank and he mentioned the way I was connecting to it would break so he re-wrote my attempt with a much more robust approach. We can’t navigate to pages that don’t support IE, however this keeps IE on life-support 👩⚕️for the time being.
Do you have a lot of scripts running at a given time? Do some of them not have System Tray icons? Or do many use the same, green, AutoHotkey icon? AHKScriptHub is a great way to easily: Edit, Pause, Suspend, etc. of running scripts (even if they don’t have a tray icon!) I use this a lot as several of my scripts don’t have system tray icons and it allows me to edit to or just open the folder where it is located.
Did you check out the FAQ part 1 free Udemy course? It’s for people that are VERY new to AutoHotkey! I particularly like that you can jump around and not work through every lesson. I also have a FAQ part 2 that was just released 🔥today🔥. The second part is paid but you can get discount here (please do use the coupon; you get savings and I make more of what you pay) Again, these courses are for people totally new to AutoHotkey.
Do you know anyone that would benefit from using AutoHotkey? Why not purchase any of my courses for them for a great Christmas gift🎅? %Name%, can you think of something that would pay out more? Let me know!
Automatically Search & Replace Clipboard content
I’m really liking this overall concept more and more. Why not have something constantly monitoring your clipboard? When it see specific content, have it tweak it to what you want? Jean Lalonde, author of Quick Access Popup, is creating a tool that will help with this however I demonstrate how easy it is to do programmatically in this video.
Did you have a good Thanksgiving 🦃? I know it’s just a U.S. Holiday however it’s one I wish had a more global presence. It’s probably the least “commercialized” holiday and is still about family, friends and giving back. Speaking of which, did you check out our free AutoHotkey Udemy course? It’s meant for true noobs so it may not be a good fit for you however it’s a great one to pass along to someone that is considering using AutoHotkey. BTW, is it just me, or is the below meme one of the most basic, yet important, concepts to understand?
Have you done much with Excel and AutoHotkey? I’ve automated an amazing amount of stuff with the two. Saved countless hours and created amazing reports at the click of a button! This week I released two videos automating Excel with AutoHotkey (which means I now have 52 tutorials of AutoHotkey & Excel. BTW- I also updated how I’m getting the current range (but haven’t made a video on it yet) however the updates are in my Excel Function library. The new way won’t use colored cells (which the old one did)
The first video was how to get various paths from Excel. This can come in handy when you’re working with multiple files and/or want to have a script that will work on other computers.
Meta Data from Excel
Sometimes you’re wanting to learn more about given Excel files. This video shows many meta data fields that you can grab. If you have Excel files that have meta data, this could be really helpful to find specific files…
Window Snipping tool 📷
Are you using my Window Snipping tool with built-in OCR? It’s my most popular download! Being able to quickly grab screen clippings is amazing! The built-in Translations is also handy if you’re working with others around the globe. Personally I used it dozens of times a day. The OCR is fast and accurate but does require Windows 10+