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AutoHotkey webinar- Copying / Editing / Saving files & Folders

In this AutoHotkey Webinar we covered: Working with Files & Folders webnar 300x200

Video Hour 1: High-level:

  1. Moving / Copying / Deleting Files / Folders
    1. File Copy / Move
    2. File Delete
    3. Loop Files & Folders
  2. Creating / Editing Files
    1. File Encoding
    2. FileRead & FileAppend
    3. Loop FileRead & FileReadLine
    4. File Object

Video Hour 2: Q&A

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Copy, Move, Delete : Files & Folders

FileCopy – SourcePattern, DestPattern [, Flag]

  • FileCopy copies files only. To copy a single folder (including its subfolders), use FileCopyDir. To instead copy the contents of a folder (all its files and subfolders), see the examples section of FileCopy

FileCopyDir – FileCopyDir, Source, Dest [, Flag]

  • Copies a folder along with all its sub-folders and files (similar to xcopy)
  • FileCopyDir copies a single folder. If the destination directory structure doesn’t exist it will be created if possible

FileMove – FileMove, SourcePattern, DestPattern [, Flag]

  • FileMove moves files only. To move or rename a single folder, use FileMoveDir

FileDelete – FileDelete, FilePattern

  • To remove an entire folder, along with all its sub-folders and files, use FileRemoveDir
  • To delete a read-only file, first remove the read-only attribute. For example: FileSetAttrib, -R, C:\My File.txt

Looping Files & Folders

Loop (files & folders) – Loop, Files, FilePattern [, Mode]      Mode:  D=Directories, F=Files, R=Recursive

FilePattern: The name of a single file or folder, or a wildcard pattern

  • Retrieves the specified files or folders, one at a time
  • A file-loop is useful when you want to operate on a collection of files and/or folders, one at a time
  • The following Special Variables exist in any file-loop
    • A_LoopFileName
    • A_LoopFileExt
    • A_LoopFileFullPath
    • A_LoopFileLongPath
    • A_LoopFileShortPath
    • A_LoopFileShortName
    • A_LoopFileDir
    • A_LoopFileTimeModified
    • A_LoopFileTimeCreated
    • A_LoopFileTimeAccessed
    • A_LoopFileAttrib
    • A_LoopFileSize
    • A_LoopFileSizeKB
    • A_LoopFileSizeMB

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File Encoding

  • Sets the default encoding for FileReadFileReadLineLoop ReadFileAppend, and FileOpen
  • Encoding can be one of the following values:
  • UTF-8: Unicode UTF-8, equivalent to CP65001
  • UTF-16: Unicode UTF-16 with little endian byte order, equivalent to CP1200
  • UTF-8-RAW or UTF-16-RAW: As above, but no Byte Order Mark (BOM*) is written when a new file is created
  • CPnnn: a code page with numeric identifier nnn. See Code Page Identifiers. (UTF-8 is CP65001, UTF-16 is CP1200)
  • Empty or omitted: the system default ANSI code page, which is also the default setting* The byte order mark (BOM) is a Unicode character, U+FEFF byte order mark (BOM), whose appearance as a magic number at the start of a text stream can signal several things to a program consuming the text

FileRead & FileAppend

File Read FileRead, OutputVar, Filename

  • Reads file’s content into a variable
  • FileRead, Var, *P65001 %file_path% ;-Read in the file using UTF-8 Encoding
  • When the goal is to load all or a large part of a file into memory, FileRead performs much better than using a file-reading loop.
  • FileOpen() provides more advanced functionality than FileRead, such as reading or writing data at a specific location in the file without reading the entire file into memory
  • When Reading / Writing to a file many times, FileObject is much faster as it does not open/close the file each time

FileAppend FileAppend [, Text, Filename, Encoding]

  • Writes text to the end of a file (first creating the file, if necessary)
  • FileAppend,%data%,%File_Name%.txt,UTF-8
  • To overwrite an existing file, delete it with FileDelete prior to using FileAppend
  • * don’t forget to add a line break at the end of each row!

LoopFileRead, FileReadLine

Loop (read file contents)   Loop, Read, InputFile [,OutputFile]

  • A file-reading loop is useful when you want to operate on each line contained in a text file, one at a time. It performs better than using FileReadLine because:
    • the file can be kept open for the entire operation
    • the file does not have to be re-scanned each time to find the requested line number.
  • Lines up to 65,534 characters long can be read. If the length of a line exceeds this, its remaining characters will be read during the next loop iteration
  • To load an entire file into a variable, use FileRead because it performs much better than a loop (especially for large files).

FileReadLine  FileReadLine, OutputVar, Filename, LineNum

  • Reads the specified line from a file and stores the text in a variable
  • It is strongly recommended to use this command only for small files, or in cases where only a single line of text is needed. To scan and process a large number of lines (one by one), use a file-reading loopfor best performance. To read an entire file into a variable, use FileRead


FileOpen – file := FileOpen(Filename, Flags [, Encoding])

  • Flags (r=Read, w=Write, a=Append, rw=Read/Write , h=Handle, -rwd=Lock file/deny access)

ReadLine–  TextLine := File.ReadLine()

  • Reads a line of text from the file and advances the file pointer

Seek–  TextLine := File.Seek()

  • Distance to move, in bytes. Lower values are closer to the beginning of the file

AtEOF (End of File)- IsAtEOF := File.AtEOF

  • Retrieves a non-zero value if the file pointer has reached the end of the file, otherwise zero.

WriteLine–  File.WriteLine([String])

  • Writes a string of characters followed by `n or `r`n depending on the flags used to open the file. Advances the file pointer

Encoding– File.Encoding

  • RetrievedEncoding and NewEncoding is a numeric code page identifier (e.g. CP65001)

Close–  File.Close()

  • Although the file is closed automatically when the object is freed, it is recommended to close the file as soon as possible

COM Objects & DLL call

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Streamline your code by Utilizing the #Include directive in your AutoHotkey Library

Include directive in AutoHotkeyAs I previously reviewed, functions in AHK rock!  The below video demonstrates how easy it is to use the utilize the include command in AutoHotkey to leverage functions & libraries that are not in your main file.

Without using the include command AHK will first look in your local library, then look under the myDocuments\AutoHotkey\Lib\ folder and finally under path-to-running-AutoHotkey.exe\lib\.


Three lib folder paths






By using the #Include Directive you specifically tell AHK to “include” the file in your script.

Using the Include Directive in AutoHotkey