Although hotstrings are mainly used to expand abbreviations as you type them (auto-replace), they can also be used to launch any scripted action. In this respect, they are similar to hotkeys except that they are typically composed of more than one character (that is, a string).
Windows Autocorrect– Auto-replace an abbreviation with full text in any windows program
Years ago I realized I was frequently typing the same thing over and over. For a while I used autocorrect in Microsoft Word which was helpful but had limitations (one huge one is that it only worked in Word). AutoHotKey is a free scripting program that allows you to do an amazing amount of things; one of which is how to use Hotstrings to autocorrect text in any windows program via Hotstrings.
If you want to learn more about HotStrings, check out our Udemy course on HotStrings here
I have hundreds of Hotstrings which allow me to type a few letters and have them, automatically, replaced with the full word, sentence, paragraph, etc. Below is a simple example where I want to type my main website domain. Instead of typing the entire thing out I just type tac. which is quickly replaced with http://the-automator.com
The second example is one where I want to have line-breaks inserted (This is my template when starting a new AutoHotKey script.) I simply type tst. and the following “magically” appears in its place via windows autocorrect.
The below video outlines how I use hotstrings to reduce the amount of mundane work that I have to do. It is amazing how much time you can save once you get used to using them! Remember your Hotstrings (windows autocorrect) will work in any Windows program! Did I mention it was free? What more could you ask for?
Windows autocorrect is just one of many amazing things you can do with AutoHotKey however hotstrings is a great, easy, way to start down the path of automation and efficiency!
Windows autocorrect- Adding HotStrings in AutoHotKey
For about 20 years I loved using autocorrect feature in Word and Excel to help me write commonly used phrases. Unfortunately, at that time, MS office didn’t sync across programs so I had to maintain my list of corrections in each program. Worse yet; I also had to repeat it on every computer that I used.
About a decade ago I read an article which mentioned AutoHotKey had built in “Hotstrings” which provided a similar functionality but would work in any windows program. (AutoHotKey has a ton of other great features but this is the one that has the largest appeal to the most users.)
I think of hotstrings and a windows autocorrect. Used intelligently you can tell the computer when I type a few letters, replace the abbreviation I just typed with a full sentence, paragraph, etc. It is fairly easy to add Hotstrings in AutoHotKey however there is a script which speeds-up the process. The below video walks through the process.
Improve Accuracy/Reliability you use correct content
While HotStrings are very easy to add and use, I take a little different approach when the text I’m inserting is long (over a couple of lines). Using the Join command for long text can greatly help readability of your code as well as do some fun manipulation. Here is the code I work through in the below video
And this Text Expander with AutoHotkey for HotStrings with Long Replacement Text
Using Hotstrings from AutoHotKey help write your code is a great, easy, way to greatly improve your speed! This example demonstrates me using hotstrings for writing most of which are actually custom SPSS scripts) which typically affect the look of output. The newer versions of AutoHotKey now utilized Python for their scripting. Most of mine were written in SAX Basic. I’d post the code but it is unlikely they will work for you.
Scripts are easy to use and adaptable to make output much more meaningful and in a format ready to be used. AutoHotKey helps write syntax to utilize the scripts.