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Automating prep work for SQL in list query of hundreds-thousands of items

AutoHotkey Bottle 3

SQL in List

Often I have a list of hundreds (sometimes thousands) of items that I need to insert into a  query. Unfortunately I can only add 99 items at a time.

This video demonstrates how my script replaces the first 98 line breaks with commas and wrap items already having a comma with special characters to escape them.    This is perfect for my SQL in list query!  What would have taken me several minutes or longer is now done in the blink of an eye  (while also escaping illegal characters).  The below video demonstrates it’s usage and further down the page is the AutoHotkey code that cranks it out!


Video demonstrating how the SQL in list works

White sticker on computer 4

AutoHotkey code:

;***********save clipboard to retore later******************* 
Store:=ClipboardAll  ;Store full version of Clipboard
  clipboard = ; Empty the clipboard
  SendInput, ^c ;changd from Send  11/23
  ClipWait, 1
    If ErrorLevel ;Added errorLevel checking
        MsgBox, No text was sent to clipboard
;***********remove blank lines*******************       
Loop,parse,Clipboard,`n`r ;loops through lines
  New:=RegExReplace(A_LoopField,"^\s?$","") ;if line only has white space
    If (new!="") 
      NewText.=new "`r`n"  

;***********clean up the text******************* 
Trimmed:=RegExReplace(clipboard, "m)^\s?(.*)\s?$","$1") ;trim spaces from both sides
;***********************wrap special characthers********************************.
StringReplace, Trimmed, Trimmed, &, '||'&'||',All ;wrap commas
StringReplace, Trimmed, Trimmed, ', '',All ; double up ' so it escapes it

;***********************Create groups of 999********************************.
  NewStr := RegExReplace(Trimmed, "`r`n", "','",1,998,1)  ;998 is max
  AddBreak := RegExReplace(NewStr, "`r`n", "`n`r*****************" . (A_Index*1000)+1 . "*****************`r",1,1,1)  
   If (AddBreak=NewStr) ;check to see if done looping through all items
   Trimmed:=AddBreak ; 
Clipboard := RegExReplace(NewStr, "','$", "") ; Delete ending ','

;***********restore clipboard******************* 
SendEvent , ^v
Sleep, 50

;***********wipe out vars of  SQL in list******************* 
New:="" , newstr:="" , newText:="" , Trimmed:="" , Addbreak:=""  ; Empty vars


Save a ton of time by creating a syntax writer that writes your code for you!

AutoHotKey syntax writer

Syntax Writer

While fun, writing code can be very tedious in that it needs to be in a specific format. I use hotstrings to replace words I frequently use but what I also realized is I often have to put parameters into specific format like a quote encapsulated/comma delimited list.

This video shows how I wrote some very simple code that makes it much easier for me to be more productive in my SQL code writing.  I have other syntax writers for other languages but the concept stays the same.


  • Intro to AutoHotkey HotStrings with AutoHotkey Intermediate AutoHotkey GUIs are Easy with AutoHotkey Intro to DOS & AutoHotkey