Create Custom Keyboard Shortcuts Using Autohotkey

What is an Autohotkey?

It is a platform to create shortcut keys which cause a system action to be quicker and easier to launch than by the routine command no matter if on Eurocom D900C’s keyboard or on one of the best gaming keyboards. All you need to do is to create a small customized script which runs in the background and allows the shortcut keys to work. Autohotkey is highly useful in tasks involving plenty of typing, with many repeated phrases or keywords. One can create shortcuts as well as reframe old ones using a platform.

Installing Autohotkey

Download the program from the website. If your antivirus tries to block it, you can either unblock it or turn off the antivirus till the installation is completed. Double-clicking on the setup file will install the program in one of the two options, Express Installation or Custom Installation. Though custom installation will allow you to make changes to default features and locations, it is better to go with Express Installation.

Scripting shortcuts

You can create scripts anywhere, like Startup folder in the Start menu, which will make your command run with the Windows automatically throughout. To start with, open any folder of your choice, right click and choose New> Autohotkey script, giving any name. Right click and open it in notepad or any other good text editor.

Let’s start with a simple script using modifiers (for eg, # for Windows, ! for Alt,^ for control, + for shift, etc), if we want to launch a program, say, Excel using the hotkey #e, the scripts writes as

#e:: Run Excel

More than one modifier can also be used in a hotkey by listing them consecutively one after the other. Multiple keys can be scripted to perform the same action, an example: both the keys (shift+ and control^) will undo the previous action in the following example:

+z::

^z::

Undo

return

Remapping a key using Hotkeylabels

If you do not want any particular key to perform its normal action, instead want it to do another function, create a script in the following format: new hotkey:: remapped key, to cite an example, for the Tab key to function as Refresh button, give the command as Tab::Refresh.

Creating custom combinations

This can be done by combining two keys with & in between, like the example:

+&!:: Run Microsoft Word

Replacing phrases and keywords

You are typing a lengthy paragraph, which has a particular three-word phrase repeating several times. To save time and monotony, you can use an Autohotkey to replace this phrase. For example, in a paragraph starting with ‘The company’, there is a phrase ‘our proprietary technology’ which gets repeated multiple times. Use an Autohotkey to type it faster by giving the following script:

:*:ncm::our proprietary technology

This script makes ncm stand for the keyword and whenever ncm is typed in the box, ‘our proprietary technology’ will be automatically entered in the paragraph.

This is just a tip of the iceberg, the scope of this platform extends further to what has been described above, like replacing time and date, mouse wheel hotkeys, context sensitive hotkeys, running a program, etc to name a few. What an Autohotkey can create are beyond the limit of summarizing in a single document, but capable of portraying its power.