We’re getting closer to AHKCon which is going to be on August 6th and 7th. Each day we’ll be starting at 10:00 a.m. EDT and going for four hours each day. If you haven’t already signed up to be notified of updates, you can do so here
To be sure we provide content that is helpful for attendees we’re making a few assumptions
You can understand English
You’ve been using AutoHotkey for 6 months (or have 1 year+ programming experience in other languages)
The Conference will be held in a Zoom Webinar and sessions will be the following two formats:
Lectures (people present a “how to” do something with AutoHotkey
Panels (a group of AHK experts discuss a given topic)
While we have a good handle on the topics for the panels, we’d really like to get you to vote on the topics for AHKCon lectures.
Last week, I talked about how important it is to consider your audience when you’re “selling” AutoHotkey/ your services. This really applies to anytime you’re trying to convince someone of anything but let’s keep the focus on AutoHotkey.
Here’s a little slap of reality: Until you learn how to sell, you’re not going to enjoy the kind of success you’re entitled to. You may want to fight this but I’m telling you, learning how to “sell” (sway others to your perspective) you’re always going to be fighting a battle.
First realize-it’s NOT YOUR FAULT. Don’t blame yourself for lacking the skill to know how to sell to your clients. Sadly we never focus on this type of thing in schools / college. And you may even be offended that I’m discussing “sales” with you…a professional. But the sad truth is it really isn’t the “best mouse trap” that wins. It’s the “best mouse trap” in the mind of the prospect.
Thinking of yourself as a “salesperson” might shock you. You’re probably thinking, “But Joe, I’m not a salesperson. I’m a professional. I help people, and I don’t need to sell.”
Let me gently but firmly tell you that you’re mistaken. And it wasn’t until I figured this out that I began “winning” with clients.
There’s nothing like the satisfaction of sitting down with someone and communicating with them on such a deep level that, by the time you’re finished, they’re thanking you profusely and want to hug you for helping them.
If you’re new to this mentality here are a few solid books that I refer back to over and over:
I was annoyed with how my icons resort each other and asked Isaias if he had any ideas how Windows is keeping track of the order. He suggested we use Microsoft’s Process Monitor which is a free tool included in system Internals suite. Check out our video which helps show how to use it.
Getting help from the-Automator (and other sources)
I’m so stoked that my AutoHotkey channel is getting more and more subscribers (it’s a bitter-sweet feeling that I passed Hellbent in the number of subscribers however I’ve bugged him about getting back to making more!) Anyway I’m getting more and more requests to help people but I just don’t have the bandwidth to help everyone (besides, I do need to earn 💲).
We do offer consulting services. Quick questions, where we review your code/issue and point you in the right direction or edit your code are billed by the hour.
We do have free consultations when you have larger projects, where you want us to develop the code for you. In either case, you can go here and let us know what you’re looking for help on. And, of course, we always have discounts to our Udemy courses here.
Quick Icons script by HellBent
Speaking of Hellbent, did you see his Quick Icon script on the forum for quickly creating an icon? We were on a call over the weekend and he demonstrated it to me. Really cool! I plan to borrow from it heavily!
Did you see our news about the Intro to Classes course? We’re still working on it but it already has over 2 hours of content and we’re working on adding more examples because classes are fairly abstract and having solid examples will really help us learn how to use them.
If you sign up to be notified you’ll get a 15% discount once we offer the course for sale. 😲
This is a great conversation between Maestrith and RaptorX / Isaias Baez discussing using classes and V2 (the course is based on V1 but we thought it important to mention some things available in V2)
🅰️HK’s best kept secret!
I’m always amazed at how many AutoHotkey users that don’t use HotStrings! They’re one of the simplest and easiest ways to be more productive! If you’re not using HotStrings, trust me, you should! In about 30 minutes Ryan Wells and I outlined around 80 uses of them. They’re just AMAZING! In this video I demo just how easy they are to create. I’m working on a QAP knock-off that will focus on creating snippets & HotStrings. I’m hoping to make some progress soon…
This was an interesting interview. I was fortunate enough to have met Rick in person as he’s here in the DFW area. Unlike most AutoHotkey users, he’s a computer science major. Rick mostly works in Object oriented languages like C++, Java, C and more. His first use of AutoHotkey was being able to automate a GUI in another program (which AHK is amazing at!)
Productivity tips ⚡️
Step 1️- 🚀Very quickly write pseudo code of what you want done
Step 2️- Write the actual code that will work (but not “pretty”)
Step 3️- Refactor your code!
Step 4️- Rinse & Repeat!
A spot of Humor 🤣
Are you one of the people that fit this image? I know a few… BTW- do you find it refreshing to press the F5️ key❓ 🤣
Quick Access Popup news
The other day I was on a client call and she wanted a very complex / advanced way to automate sending emails to employees (based on criteria in a database). While this is something we definitely could do, it would also have taken a decent amount of time to build into our tool (so it was cost prohibitive). I mentioned to her there was a super simple solution for having distribution lists and then recorded this video showing how I do it with Quick Access Popup.
If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done — Bruce Lee
Do the hard jobs first. Easy jobs will take care of themselves. — Dale Camegie
You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there — Yogi Berra
You must stop expecting perfection — either from yourself, or your employees, or your customers and clients. It will never — John Carlton
Do you watch Leila Gharani’s YouTube channel? If you use Excel you should as she, mostly, teaches Excel tips/tricks however today she released a video on AutoHotkey! Since she has over 1.6 million subscribers 😲 I hope it will give some attention to AutoHotkey. I commented a couple of times on the video. Can you please do me a favor and like my comments? The hopes being:
She’ll make more AutoHotkey videos (thus raising awareness of AHK to more people)
I’d really appreciate it!!! Let’s get the world to be more aware of AutoHotkey!
April 7th AutoHotkey Newsletter
I watched an AutoHotkey YouTube video the other day by an “expert”. He was trying to “sell” his script/service to people. Unfortunately, he was getting into the nitty-gritty technical details about his code🤓. As a result, I think most people would find the video painfully dull and/or make them feel stupid ☹. I doubt he gets many people to purchase/adopt his approach.
In ALL forms of communication, you need to pay attention to your audience’s knowledge & interests!
If you’re talking to a client, boss, or colleague, drop the tech talk / “geek speak”. They don’t care about the nitty-gritty details about how something works; they are looking for solutions to their problems.
When you get into details, you’re not showing your audience how smart you are; you’re putting them to sleep and, in some cases, pissing them off 😡because they can’t follow what you’re saying.
Just remember, as Elmer Wheeler (considered to be America’s greatest salesman) “Sell the sizzle, not the steak🥩”.
Have you ever seen a cool script on the forum but realized it’s using a “class” and not sure how to use it? Want to improve the readability and maintenance of your code? Are you familiar with Functions and ready for the next step? Then our Intro to Classes course is for you! We’re finishing up production of it but wanted to let you sign up here. All people that sign up will get a 15% 😮 if/when they purchase. We haven’t decided on the final price yet however it will be more than our typical courses because it is more niche & advanced. I’m thinking the course should be available in a couple of weeks.
Default hotkeys for Editing / Reloading / Pausing / Suspending your scripts
When you’re creating a new script, it’s super helpful to have some default Hotkeys built into it while prototyping. Here I demo a few that I have built-in to my template for new scripts.
What I’ve automated in AutoHotkey
Sometimes it’s inspiring to see what others have done with AutoHotkey (not the actual coding). My playlist helps with this in general. I made this new video a little while back. How do you use AutoHotkey? Anything worth bragging about?
Searching for text within files
Sometimes I can’t remember what I’ve named a file OR I want to find files that use a bit of code. GrepWin is a great, 🆓 free tool that searches within files
Sending 💲 to Developing countries
If you live in a developing country or pay someone in one, you’re probably (painfully) aware how difficult, costly, and slow. Isaias lives in the Dominican Republic and has tried many different ways to get money. Most end up costing a fair amount to get the $ into his bank account. We tried Xoom (a paypal service) and were very impressed with speed and costs.
I’ve you frequent the AutoHotkey forum you’ve probably seen his posts. This interview with Tank was before I got to know him well, but we had a wonderful chat. As many others in AutoHotkey, he doesn’t have a background in programming yet does amazing things with AutoHotkey! BTW- if you didn’t know it Tank runs the AHK Forum.
Productivity tip⚡️ Stop thinking🧠, start doing
Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis! Overthinking things won’t get you anywhere. Ask yourself “what is one small step I can do now to move towards my goal?” Get it done!
A spot of Humor
Gives a new meaning to “Hopeless Romantic” 🤣
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
When someone tells me “no,” I just ask someone else. — Joe Glines
A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore — Yogi Berra 🐻
Put aside a healthy pile of “Up Yours” money, so you can walk away from any situation you don’t like, and know you’ll survive. — John Carlton
We’re working on an advanced course deep-diving into Objects in AutoHotkey. In the Intermediate AutoHotkey course I covered some of the basics of storing data in Objects however, with the help of RaptorX / Isaias Baez I’m creating a course that dives deep into AutoHotkey Objects and Classes
We’re finalizing the outline and beginning to produce the videos. Below is a current peak into what will be covered. If you’d like to stay informed, please complete this short form and we’ll keep you in the loop!
AutoHotkey Objects and Classes
What AutoHotkey objects and classes are and why you should learn them
What can be done with objects
Diving into: Items, Keys, Properties and Methods
Quick refresher on Functions
Object Types (Arrays, Associative Arrays, Multi-dimensional arrays, Maps (new in V2)
Advantages & Disadvantages of Dot Notation and Object Oriented Principles
A long time ago the AutoHotkey forum used AutoHotkey.net to store files. Unfortunately it was hacked and the community lost a lot of great resources. While much of it was gone, people put together a nice list of scripts that were lost. In case you’ve never seen it, I made a short video and uploaded them here. Please keep in mind, I didn’t test all of the scripts in here so “Buyer beware” 💀
mySQL / ODBC connection
Have you tried to work with a SQL database but needed to get your connection string? The trickiest part to it is that, once you configure the driver / string you don’t have to do it again (it’s a “one and done” setting). So it’s easy to forget how to do it. For that reason Isaias and I made ourselves a video to document where we were getting it from for the mySQL ODBC connection. BTW I have a SQL Playlist in case you’re wanting to learn more about AutoHotkey & SQL
A while back we had a great webinar on V2️. I asked Dimitri Geerts and Isaias Baez to join me in another discussion to better understand what to look out for in V2, some of the new features, and what is most likely to trip you up. There were some really interesting things mentioned at the very end of the video. Not trying to make you stick around for the full two hours but the last 15 minutes had some things that you’ll want to know!
No matter where you live, it’s impossible to not feel the effects of gas prices & inflation! Current estimates have the rate of inflation in the US between 6-10%. That’s crazy high however, given what’s going on in the world with Ukraine / Russia, I think it’s just the beginning of sky-rocketing prices. Why? Because nearly everything is delivered by vehicles! These gas price increases are going to be driving up the prices very soon!
So why am I bitching about it in the 🅰️🇺t🇴🇭🇴tk🇪🇾 🇳ewsletter? Because I 💯% believe the best way you can get a raise 💵is to BE WORTH MORE! One of the best ways to be worth more is to invest in yourself! People that learn AutoHotkey:
Get work done faster
Are more productive
Produce fewer errors
Provide more consistent work / deliverables
Are less likely to quit
Of course employers LOVE all the above! As a direct result they try and reward them. The #1 way of doing such is to 💰 pay them more! So commit to yourself today to find ways to be worth more!
Learning AutoHotkey is just one of many ways to improve yourself! Of course the best part of this is where’s the risk? If your employer doesn’t increase you’re pay you’re STILL WORTH MORE!
In case you missed the video I did ranting about being worth more, you can see it here; it’s one of my personal favorites!
I was amazed how many people that do some coding are not aware of Regular Expressions. When I first became aware of them I thought they were neat but that I rarely had the need. But the more programs I wrote, the more I realized parsing text is a very common task to have! In this Intro to RegEx video I cover the basics. You can see my RegEx playlist here. I also highly recommend Jack Dunning’s book on RegEx. I bought it years ago and it really helped me learn them quickly and easily.
Speaking of parsing text, the other day I released a video showing both the Command StringSplit and the function StrSplit(). It’s one of the things that often confuses people new to AutoHotkey so I talk through both and why I prefer functions over commands.
MS Word Macro recorder and COM
I’ve recently made a few videos demonstrating using AHK & COM to automate MS Word. In this video I didn’t have an example to borrow from so I showed how I used the built-in Word VBA macro recorder to generate the VBA code and then adapt it to AutoHotkey COM code. COM is an amazing way to, programmatically, connect to and automate Word!
Using AutoHotkey to auto-generate numbers & delimiters
I’m not in love with how the script was implemented, but I love the idea and that he’s made a video showing how you can easily generate numbers parsed by a character. I’d make some tweaks to it but very cool to see others pushing out AutoHotkey examples!
In this AutoHotkey Expert interview I talk with a master Marketing guru that uses AutoHotkey among many other tools to automate his work. Ryan’s a super-bright and innovative guy that readily picks up any technology to solve his need.
Productivity tips ⚡️
Everybody has a time of the day that we’re “on fire”. A time when our brains are just kickin-butts and takin names. Interestingly we’re all different as to when that time is but, I’m willing to bet, you know when your time is!
The tip for this week is to make sure, during that window of time, you do the most tasking/ difficult work you have. Don’t do things you can “do in your sleep”. For me, the time is about 1 hour after I wake up. In the early afternoon I typically cool-off and then I handle things like replying to emails, etc.
When is your “take no prisoner” time?
A spot of Humor 🤣
Priceless! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used that key phrase…
Quick Access Popup news
I learned a bit last week regarding how to add a “close this menu” option to Quick Access Popup. Very easy way to make sure you don’t end up with a hung window. Note, you’ll only need this if you’ve created a hotkey to open a submenu (which I highly recommend)
Quotable quotes 🗣️ 💭
Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is specifically your own. — Bruce Lee
It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit — Joe Glines
Do the hard jobs first. Easy jobs will take care of themselves. — Dale Camegie
You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six — Yogi Berra
Say “sorry” and “I love you” often and without self-consciousness — John Carlton
March is here and I’m looking forward to getting outside to take advantage of our new horseshoe pit and volleyball net. 😊
For the 🐎horseshoe pit I found a nice place that will get afternoon shade. Unfortunately, the backstop for the first one got set up a bit off-angle which would put the other side a bit out in the Sun. I could have left it but I knew, every time I’d be out there sweating, I’d be cursing myself for not doing it “right” the first time. It reminds me why I learn to use API approaches (COM, Controls, Windows Messages) over Human approaches (Sending keystrokes or mouse clicks). If you take a bit more time at the beginning you’ll be much happier with the results! While API techniques are a bit more complex, they’re also much more reliable and faster than imitating a human. If the overall concepts are confusing to you, RaptorX and I discuss it in this video. Speaking of which, Isaias Baez (RaptorX) should be back starting next Monday! 😊
The other day I was updating my AutoHotkey resources file that is in my Udemy Bonus Lectures and decided to document some of the process. In the video I cover various things I do on a regular basis. How I add tracking to the documents so I can tell what works (and what doesn’t). I even show my MS Word script for search & replacing hyperlinks.
Searching for Text across files 🔎
Are you sometimes looking for files with specific text in them? Or want to search/replace text within multiple files? GrepWin is a great FREE tool for doing just that! I recorded a short video showing how easy it is to use . I’ve used it for longer than I can remember and it’s saved my butt many times!
API Calls, Fiddler, SMS Texting and more
I was talking with Denilson Padilla about using APIs, monitoring network traffic with Fiddler and other things. Denilson is in Brazil and has a YouTube channel in Portuguese. I think we’re going to have regular calls on Monday evening so look for more videos with us discussing various AutoHotkey things. I’m considering letting others join the call (for a nominal fee). If you’re interested in being a part of this, shoot me an email.
Automating Outlook emails
In our AHK Facebook group I’ve been seeing several questions about using AutoHotkey with Outlook. I recently demonstrated how easy it is to get: Name, email, subject line, etc. but we also covered Outlook in this webinar which had several great examples. Automating Outlook with COM is an amazing!
Back in 2018 I chatted with Charlie Simmons / Tank (AutoHotkey forum admin). Tank’s got a long background in automation and used to travel around implementing Automation Anywhere. We discuss using the DOM (Document Object Model) can greatly improve your web scraping ability (and make your code more reliable). He also gives some insights to the pricing and negatives with Automation Anywhere.
A spot of Humor 🤣 – Look I’m Superman!
I was looking for an old video and stumbled upon this gem which I made ~25 years ago when I was going to college to work in TV production. The class requirement was to create a PSA (Public Service Announcement) that was exactly 30 seconds long. In the video you’ll see me jumping off a roof. I’d put a couch down below but it was really hard to force myself to jump (and not land on my legs). Sorry about the quality, I honestly didn’t think I had any copies of it so I’m glad I found this one!
I had a “hung window” in Quick Access Popup the other day and asked Jean how to avoid this. He gave me a tip and I quickly added a “close this window” to my submenu. Very quick tip to avoid it! Check out the video here.
Quotable quotes 🗣️ 💭
People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything. — Thomas Sowell
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
A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore — Yogi Berra 🤣(with inflation these days it’s very true!)
Lead by example, not big talk. In fact, shut up until you’ve earned the right to talk by honing your chops. — John Carlton