How to download and install AutoHotkey
AutoHotkey is a fantastic free and open source Microsoft Windows tool that allows you to create macros, scripts, and automate frequently performed tasks on your computer. Below are the steps on how to install AutoHotkey on your computer.
- Download AutoHotkey at autohotkey.com/download.
- When the download is complete, run the installer. The UAC prompt will ask for permission to install it. Choose Yes.
- The installer gives you the option of Custom Installation or Express Installation. If you want to view all your installation options, you can choose Custom Installation. Otherwise, it's okay to choose Express Installation.
- When the installation is complete, you are presented with another menu. Choose Run AutoHotkey.
- The AutoHotkey help file will open. You can read or close it now. To open it later, you can find it in your Start Menu under AutoHotkey → AutoHotkey Help File.
- The installer will then ask if you want to edit a new AutoHotkey script. Choose Yes.
- The installer will now exit, and a new text file will open in Notepad, which will be our script. (A script is a plain text file that contains a series of commands to be run by another program, in this case, AutoHotkey.)
- As an example, you can enter the following code into Notepad. In the example, the code will write "Hello World!" any time the Windows key + Q is pressed on the keyboard.
; Example shortcut key
Send, Hello World!
- Once the above code has been added to your script or other code has been added to your script.
- This script, AutoHotkey.ahk, is located in your Documents folder. Open a new File Explorer window (keyboard: Win+E) and go to Documents.
- Run the script by double-clicking on the file. You won't see anything happen, but AutoHotkey is now running the script, and if you press Win+Q anywhere that accepts text it will write "Hello World!" automatically.
Tip: When AutoHotkey is running a green box with a white 'H' () is shown in the Windows Notification Area. You can also right-click on this icon to load the Windows Spy, Reload This Script, Edit This Script, Suspend Hotkeys, or Pause Script. If you want to make changes to a script that is not already open, you can use the Edit This Script option to edit the running script. Also, make sure to choose the Reload This Script option after any changes have been made to a script.
The above example script is just the very basics of creating an AutoHotkey script. Almost anything that can be done on a computer with the keyboard or mouse can be automated using AutoHotkey. Further information and examples are found in the following links.
- How to automate your work with AutoHotkey.
- Using AutoHotkey to switch Virtual Desktops in Windows 10.
- How do I create a Windows shortcut key?
- See our AutoHotkey page for further information and related links.
- Software help and support.