I’m a big fan of keeping my hands on the keyboard as much as possible and having real quick easy ‘one-touch’ access to my favorite apps, web sites, and tasks. It’s just amazing how much more productive one can be when using the keyboard instead of the mouse. Think of any common app you use in which you have a keyboards shortcut memorized, Ctrl-C to copy, Ctrl-V to paste, IE? Alt-D for the address bar, Word? Ctrl-S to save, Vista? Win key for the Start Menu, etc now imagine the power of having most all of your common tasks that quickly available, yup, pure power.
Now here’s the ultimate hotkey tool, AutoHotKey. It is a simple ‘scripting’ like app. It doesn’t have a graphical user interface, but is configured through plain text .ahk files. Not only can you create hotkeys, but also script other parts of Windows, but I’ll focus this post on the hotkeys. It is open source, been around a long time, is small, takes little memory, has a great help doc, a strong community, and is easy to use.
AutoHotKey will also allow you to override Windows default hotkeys, like Win-X for the mobility center in Vista. I have a single .ahk file that loads at startup so the hotkeys are always hooked up. To do this, first install AutoHotKey, then:
Some basic hot keys I use are:
To give an idea for other things you can assign hotkeys for, I’ve got hotkeys to open favorite text files, folders, remote desktop connections, specialty applications, enter login credentials, create a new email to my wife, and a few hotkeys that perform misc repetitive tasks depending on the application. For other shortcuts, I use SlickRun, which is little commands to the same types of resources, just many more of them.
; == Basic keyboard shortcuts
; #=Win ^=Ctrl +=Shift !=Alt
; Open favorite webbrowser
#x:: Run about:home
; Open favorite text editor
#w:: Run %edit%
; Execute the contents of the clipboard
#o:: Run %clipboard%
; Open a command prompt
#c:: Run %ComSpec%
; Google Search for clipboard contents
#g:: Run http://www.google.com/search?q=%clipboard%
#`:: Run http://www.google.com/search?q=%clipboard%
; Use Google "I Feel Lucky" to navigate to the clipboard contents
#^`:: Run http://google.com/search?btnI=I`%27m+Feeling+Lucky&q=%clipboard%
#^g:: Run http://google.com/search?btnI=I`%27m+Feeling+Lucky&q=%clipboard%
; Open the clipboard contents with Internet Explorer
#+o:: Run "%ProgramFiles%\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe" %clipboard%
; Set screen resolutions
#^1:: Run "%tools%\QRes.exe" /x:1024 /y:768 /c:32
#^2:: Run "%tools%\QRes.exe" /x:1280 /y:1024 /c:32
#^6:: Run "%tools%\QRes.exe" /x:1600 /y:1200 /c:32
#^8:: Run "%tools%\QRes.exe" /x:800 /x:600 /c:32
#^9:: Run "%tools%\QRes.exe" /x:1920 /y:1200 /c:32
#^0:: Run "%tools%\SetHighestResolution.exe"
; Open Microsoft Office Applications
#^z:: Run "%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Office\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE"
#^x:: Run "%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Office\Office12\EXCEL.EXE"
#^w:: Run "%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Office\Office12\WINWORD.EXE"
#^o:: Run "%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Office\Office12\ONENOTE.EXE"
; Open Windows Live Writer
#^b:: Run "%ProgramFiles%\Windows Live\Writer\WindowsLiveWriter.exe"
; Open Visual Studio
#^v:: Run "%ProgramFiles%\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\IDE\devenv.exe"
; Edit the master AutoHotKey file
; Open the AutoHotKey help file for reference
#^+t:: Run "%ProgramFiles%\AutoHotkey\AutoHotkey.chm"
; Open the AutoHotKey spy utility
#^+y:: Run "%ProgramFiles%\AutoHotkey\AU3_Spy.exe"
; Reload this AutoHotKey script
MsgBox 4, , Script reloaded unsuccessful, open it for editing?
IfMsgBox Yes, Edit
; Turn off the monitor (to save laptop battery power)
Run "%tools%\nircmd.exe" monitor off
Run "%tools%\nircmd.exe" monitor off
Some of these commands use the tools: NirCmd, QRes, SetHighestResolution
These also depend on some system environment variables being set:
Related Community Topics
Question for You: What are some of the things you use AutoHotKey for?