AutoHotkey Tip of the Week: Guidelines for AutoHotkey Function Libraries

When Using Function Libraries, You Don’t Need to Embed Your Functions into Each of Your AutoHotkey Scripts—But Sometimes Keeping Them Close Works Out Better

In the past two blogs, “Dynamic Regular Expressions (RegEx) for Math Calculating Hotstrings” and “The Eval() Function for Hotkey Math Calculations and Text Manipulation“, I highlighted two different powerful, auxiliary (not built-in) AutoHotkey functions: RegExHotstrings() and Eval(). Normally, you might embed a user-defined function inside your script but these two functions take up quite a few lines of code. Plus, you might want to use those same functions in a number of different scripts. Adding them to each script can get a little cumbersome—even when using the #Include directive.

Fortunately, when loading a script, if AutoHotkey doesn’t find a directly called function inside the script, it automatically searches the special Function Libraries. But, before you race to put all of your functions in one of those Libraries, you should consider a number of factors. Continue reading

AutoHotkey Tip of the Week: Add Temporary Hotkeys to MsgBox Windows—September 23, 2019

Isolate Hotkeys to Only Operate for an Open or Active Window

In the Weekly Tip, “IfWinActive Versus #IfWinActive“, I recommended isolating Hotkeys to specific windows. This time I offer a practical example.

hotkeycover200For more information, see “Chapter Two: Block Windows Shortcuts with AutoHotkey” and “Chapter Three: AutoHotkey #Directives for Context-Sensitive Hotkeys—#IfWinActive” of the book AutoHotkey Hotkey Tips, Tricks, and Techniques.

The #IfWinExist directive offers a number of advantages when creating temporary Hotkeys:

  1. The Hotkeys activate only when AutoHotkey opens the controlling window.
  2. If other conflicting Hotkeys exist, the temporary Hotkeys take precedence as long as the window exists.
  3. After closing the controlling window, the Hotkeys deactivate minimizing interference with other possible Hotkeys or shortcuts.

Continue reading

AutoHotkey Tip of the Week: How to Combine Multiple Scripts into One—August 19, 2019

Design Your Scripts to Either Run as Stand-alone Apps or Use the #Include Directive to Integrate into a Master Script without Modification

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The cool thing about this tip is that, after you implement these techniques—without any additional changes—you can run your AutoHotkey script as an independent app or quickly add it to a master script. 

In “Chapter Eleven: How to Write Easy-Merge AutoHotkey Scripts” from the book Beginning Tips for Writing AutoHotkey Scripts, I outline steps for writing scripts which easily combine with other scripts without conflict. This allows the AutoHotkey user to run multiple apps without needing to launch each script individually. (It also prevents the accumulation of numerous AutoHotkey icons in the Windows System Notification Tray.) If you employ these basic design tips when writing your apps you’ll find that you don’t need to do any rewrites when combining useful scripts. Continue reading

Pressing GUI Buttons with a Single Keystroke (AutoHotkey Tip)

Sometimes We Find It Easier to Hit a Key Rather Than Click a Button

An AutoHotkey forum user posted a question about using Hotkeys to activate buttons in a GUI window. He wanted to hit the numbers 1, 2, 3, or 4, rather than clicking the individual buttons—but only for the active GUI window.

hotkeycover200While I discuss similar isolation of Hotkeys to specific active windows in my Hotkeys book, this blog provided another opportunity to show how to add more functionality to your GUIs without infringing upon other programs or Hotkeys. I attempted to make the script as simple as possible by using a number of AutoHotkey tricks. Continue reading

Calculating Timespans in Years, Months, Days in AutoHotkey, Part 2 (Understanding the HowLong() Function)

Taking a Close Look at the HowLong() Function for Calculating Years, Months, and Days

In this blog, I discuss in its entirety the most recent AutoHotkey code for the HowLongYearsMonthsDays.ahk script (introduced in my last blog). I’ve broken it up into snippets in order to explain the purpose of each piece. To get a complete copy of the script check out HowLongYearsMonthsDays.ahk at the “ComputorEdge Free AutoHotkey Scripts” page or for a barebones version (without comments and inactive code) see “Function Calculating Timespan in Years, Months, and Days” at the AutoHotkey Forum. This blog reviews the nuts and bolts of calculating the timespan between two dates.

Continue reading

Calculating Timespans Between Dates in Years, Months, Days (AutoHotkey Function)

Calculating the Years, Months, and Days Between Two Points in Time Takes More Than Simple Mathematics

Years ago, I wrote an AutoHotkey timespan calculation function for keeping track of my grandkids ages. (I wrote about it in my Digging Deeper Into AutoHotkey e-book and you can find the original function in the GrandKids.ahk scripts.) Developing the function was a bit of a mindbender. As I remember, I just plowed through the project finding my way by trial-and-error. When I recently reviewed the script, I had a heck of a time figuring out what I had done. I know that I explained the steps in the book, but the script (even with the few comments) remained a mystery to me.

As I thought about it, I soon realized that I might write a better function if I changed how I viewed the problem. Continue reading

How AutoHotkey Reads Scripts (AutoHotkey Script Structure)

Understanding the Layout of an AutoHotkey Script Helps When Writing and Debugging Applications

The Problem with AutoHotkey Script Design

If you’re anything like me, then you probably jump straight into writing a script without reading the online documentation. Experienced programmers don’t have much problem with this, although even they occasionally find themselves scratching their heads about a particular piece of code which seemingly gets ignored by AutoHotkey. Continue reading