The Kaizen Blog

Attempts to continually improve in all walks of life

Automate repetitive tasks using AHK

with 6 comments

I have been a big supporter of automation where possible. I was reading about how “ActiveWords” was the best piece of software, and that is when I became aware of AutoHotKey, or AHK as it is fondly called. I learned more about AHK on LifeHacker

Considering that I came to AHK looking for ActiveWords replacement, it is no wonder that I use Hotstrings feature extensively. It would not be wrong if I said that is probably the only feature of AHK I use. So let me explain How I use AHK to automate lot of repeatative tasks, mostly related to typing same set of words lot of times.

It would not be out of place to here to mention texter, AHK based tool developed by LH team.

So without further delay lets see how I use AHK in my day to day work:

Expand Acronymns :
I have created Hotstrings for regularly used acronyms. When I type them, AHK will automagically expand them. This has a huge benefit that I am free to use the acronyms when I type, but my readers aren’t left wondering about what it means. Some of the commonly used ones are YMMV, AFAIK, BTW etc.

SMS style typing:
SMS is used extensively in India, so I’ve seen new professionals – fresh out of college – are used to new SMS-lingo. But in professional communication, it is a complete no-no. AH to the rescue, add your SMS word to your Hotstrings list and let AH complete it. I personally don’t SMS or IM as much, but I have seen people use ‘ur’ a lot, when they mean your.

Pleasantries:
I also have Hotstrings for likes of Regards, Thanks etc.

Frequently used names :
I have Hotstrings like bg=Bill, lt=Linus, esr=Eric etc. I work a lot with my counterparts in Japan where you address people using -san. So it helps to have HotStrings like gt=Takei-san.

Authentications :
I’m too paranoid to allow the browser to remember my username and password, so this is my next best thing. For company internal websites, I need to enter something like domain\username. I’ve created a hotstring like d\u. This is replaced by domain\username by AHK

Are there any negatives of AHK ?
Well, these aren’t the cons in true sense of the word, but there are some practical problems I face. After extended use of AHK Hotstrings, one may see following side effects :

  • May forget correct spellings
  • Feel like crippled without AHK on guest PC

Do let me know in comments how you use AHK or texter in your daily lives to automate the repetitive tasks.

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Written by Mandar Vaze

October 31, 2007 at 8:45 pm

Posted in Productivity, Technical

Tagged with ,

6 Responses

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  1. Not sure what AHK does that we don’t do better? Can you clarify?

    Also, what about the other thngs we do that AHK doesn’t do, e.g. scripting, agents, launching etc?

    Just curious…

    Regards,

    Buzz

    Buzz Bruggeman

    November 1, 2007 at 10:13 pm

  2. @buzz :
    First of all, let me be honest, I have not tried ActiveWords myself. I hope my article doesn’t give an impression that AHK is better than ActiveWords. It was not the intention.
    What I would like to point out though was that I personally chose AHK because it is free, and the fact that AHK gets discussed a lot on LH.

    See if this link provides more information.
    http://jonaquino.blogspot.com/2006/02/freeware-alternatives-to-activewords.html

    mandarvaze

    November 2, 2007 at 7:21 am

  3. @buzz :
    Sorry, missed second half of your query. AHK has scripting language support. Not sure what is “agent”, trying to find out more. For launching, I use “Launchy”. Again, idea is not to compare AHK and AW. I hope you understand.

    Mandar Vaze

    November 2, 2007 at 7:25 am

  4. You may also want to take a peek at http://www.phraseexpress.com

    It has hotstrings on steroids plus macro language plus its free. Plus it is just 2MB.

    http://www.phraseexpress.com

    Gerry

    Gerry

    December 10, 2007 at 11:46 pm

  5. @Gerry,
    Thank You very much for visiting my blog.

    I’ve downloaded PhraseExpress. I’ll post my opinion about it, after putting it to few days of real use.

    Mandar Vaze

    December 13, 2007 at 2:14 pm

  6. […] : Originally posted on the Kaizen Blog on October 31st, […]


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