February 25, 2010, 7:38 AM — by Sharon Machlis, Computerworld - I've been a keyboard shortcut fan for a long time. Sure, icons and eye candy have their place -- I'd rather double-click an icon than, say, type run c:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office 12\Winword.exe. On the other hand, I'd sure rather click a file name and hit delete than drag an icon to my Recycle Bin (assuming I can even find it on my cluttered desktop).
That's why I'm always on the lookout for keyboard shortcuts to make my computing life easier. Two Windows apps that top my list are AutoHotkey and Nostalgy. They count among the applications that I rate as truly useful.
AutoHotkey is one of my favorites and has been for some time. So much so, I made sure it ran on Windows 7 before upgrading my home computer's operating system. Happily, AutoHotkey runs as smoothly on Microsoft's newest OS as it did on XP, allowing me to map shortcut keys just as I did before. (Unless your shortcuts were XP-specific, they'll work fine in Windows 7, too.)
Once it's installed, you can create a script by right-clicking anywhere within a folder, and you can then tweak the resulting text file in an editor of your choice.
What can you do with an AutoHotkey script? You can map a single task to a hot-key combination, such as running a program or opening a Web site. You can also create much more elaborate scripts, like adding an on-screen numeric keypad. And, unlike Windows PowerShell, the syntax is pretty easy to follow from looking at sample script; at least it was for me.
Want to have your Windows calculator pop up when you type ctrl-alt-c? This line of AutoHotkey code does the trick:
Want to do a Google search on whatever you've copied to your Windows clipboard? This script creates that functionality when holding down the Windows key and typing s: