How to download and install AutoHotkey

Updated: 12/29/2017 by Computer Hope

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.

  1. Download AutoHotkey at autohotkey.com/download.

AutoHotkey download page

  1. When the download is complete, run the installer. The UAC prompt will ask for permission to install it. Choose Yes.

AutoHotkey installation User Access Control (UAC) prompt

  1. 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.

AutoHotkey installation options

  1. When the installation is complete, you are presented with another menu. Choose Run AutoHotkey.
  2. 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 AutoHotkeyAutoHotkey Help File.
  3. The installer will then ask if you want to edit a new AutoHotkey script. Choose Yes.

AutoHotkey installer edit new script prompt

  1. 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.)
  2. 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
#q::
Send, Hello World!
return
  1. Once the above code is added to your script or other code is added to your script.

Saving your first AutoHotkey.ahk script in Notepad

  1. This script, AutoHotkey.ahk, is located in your Documents folder. Open a new File Explorer window (keyboard: Win+E) and go to Documents.

AutoHotkey.ahk is located in your Documents folder

  1. 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.
AutoHotkey systray menu
Tip

When AutoHotkey is running a green box with a white 'H' (AutoHotkey icon) 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 a basic example 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.