March 23, 2010, 7:55 AM — by Rick Broida, PC World - As you learned yesterday, AutoHotkey is a free macro-recording utility that allows you to automate all kinds of tasks, remap keyboard keys, and so on.
By now you should have downloaded and installed the program. The first time you run AHK, you'll see a sample script with some instructions. Feel free to read them, keeping in mind that this tool can be a little daunting at first.
That said, I'm all about diving in headfirst. Today, I'm going to teach you about "hotstrings," which are keystrokes inserted whenever you type a designated abbreviation. For example, you type fwiw, and AHK replaces it with for what it's worth. Hotstrings are great for, say, adding different signatures to e-mail messages (sig1, sig2, etc.), or just saving time when typing repetitive bits of text.
To create a script based on the previous example, do this:
1. Run AutoHotkey.
2. On any open area of the desktop, right-click and choose New, AutoHotkey script.
3. Enter a name for the script (in this case something like fwiw.ahk) and press Enter.
4. Right-click the new file and choose Edit Script.
5. Find a blank line and type ::fwiw::for what it's worth
6. Click File, Exit, making sure to save your changes.
7. Right-click the file and choose Run Script. Now, whenever you type fwiw followed by a space or punctuation, AHK will replace it with for what it's worth.
If you want this script to run every time you start Windows, see the FAQ section of the AHK help file.
Come back tomorrow for more AutoHotkey goodness!