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.NET Issues, Problems, Code Samples, and Fixes

AutoHotKey: The Greatest Program of All Time

Ok, so I know that this is a .NET blog, but people reading this are most likely programmers anyways, so I figured this would be at least somewhat relevent. If you missed the title of the post, AutoHotKey is the greatest program of all time.

If you are unfamiliar with what it does, basically you can create little shortcuts for yourself using their very simple and well-documented series of symbols and functions that will perform repetitive tasks for you.  For instance, I send a lot of emails every day to customers. Rather than type out “[Columbus Supply] Order: X[whatever] Thank you for buying from Columbus Supply!” into the subject line every time, I have created what’s called a “HotString” that types all that for me automatically! All I do is type “psubj” (a HotString I came up with) and it will type all of that out and then move the mouse to the left right in front of the X. This saves me maybe 10-15 mins a day, which may not seem like a lot, but it does a few things: it ensures there are no misspellings/typos, it reminds you to put the correct order number in, and it ensures consistency in subject lines. I have almost 20 of these scripts ranging from simple to complex (one script I have loads my entire purchase response letter into an email!). With all of these scripts used in a day, I’ve shaved a good 2-3 hours a day off of how long it takes me to process orders (and my typing is pretty good for the most part). Think about what you could do with an extra 2-3 hours a day.

My favorite new script that I came up with is a huge time-saver. I use Excel a lot to keep track of orders and I have several tabs in a templated order form. If you are an Excel user, you may well know that moving between tabs is not as easy as ctl+Tab, as that will simply move you between open Excel files. You actually need to hit ctl+PgUp/Dn to move between tabs. This is a bit awkward on the keyboard (especially on a laptop w/no easy NumPad), so I built a script that will move between tabs when I type ctl+right/left arrow key. I say “built” but it was really really simple. Here’s the whole script:

#IfWinActive ahk_class XLMAIN

Yep, three lines of code to create immensely easier tab paging that only works in Excel when Excel is the active window. The possibilities are literally endless.  There is some minor setup involved, but if you are somewhat computer-inclined (ie, you understand what’s going on in the contents of this blog), it should be fairly simple and straightforward.

What scripts have you come up with that have made your life incredibly easier?


August 26, 2008 - Posted by | Tips & Tricks |


  1. Stumbled upon this through google. Great tip!

    Comment by Aaron | July 12, 2009 | Reply

  2. A good tip unless you use CTRL+L/R to jump to the end of a row 🙂

    Either way nice touch

    Comment by Scott | October 20, 2009 | Reply

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