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File:AutoHotkey logo.png
Developer(s) Chris Mallett
Stable release / September 25, 2009; 138645808 ago
Operating system Microsoft Windows
Type Scripting language Automation GUI utility
License GPL

AutoHotkey is a free, open source macro-creation and automation software utility which allows users to automate repetitive tasks. Any application user interface can be modified by AutoHotkey (for example, with EMACS style [1]). It is driven by a custom scripting language that is aimed specifically at providing keyboard shortcuts or hotkeys.



AutoHotkey scripts can be used to launch programs, open documents, send keystrokes and send mouse clicks and movements[2]. AutoHotkey scripts can also assign, retrieve, and manipulate variables, run loops and manipulate windows, files, and folders. These commands can be triggered by a hotkey, such as a script that would open an internet browser whenever the user presses Ctrl+Alt+i on the keyboard. Keyboard keys can also be remapped or disabled, such that pressing the letter q, for example, might result in the computer receiving a letter r, or nothing at all[3]. AutoHotkey also allows for 'hotstrings' that will automatically replace certain text as it is typed; the most typical use for hotstrings is expanding abbreviations, such as assigning the string "btw" to send the text "by the way" when typed[4].

More complex tasks can be achieved with custom data entry forms (GUI windows), working with the system registry, or using a window's own API by manipulating certain DLLs. The scripts can be compiled into an executable file that can be run on other computers that do not have AutoHotkey installed. The source code is in C++ and can be compiled with Visual Studio Express.

Memory access through pointers is allowed just as in C[5].

Common AutoHotkey tasks:

  • Remapping the keyboard, such as from QWERTY to Dvorak or other alternative keyboard layouts.
  • Using shortcuts to fill in frequently-used filenames or other phrases.
  • Controlling the mouse cursor with a keyboard or joystick.
  • Opening programs, documents, and websites with simple keystrokes.
  • Adding a signature to e-mail, message boards, etc.
  • Monitoring a system and automatically closing unwanted programs.
  • Scheduling an automatic reminder, system scan, or backup.


The first public beta of AutoHotkey was released on November 10, 2003[6] after author Chris Mallett's proposal to integrate hotkey support into AutoIt v2 failed to generate response from the AutoIt community.[7][8] So the author began his own program from scratch basing the syntax on AutoIt v2 and using AutoIt v3 for some commands and the compiler.[9] Later, AutoIt v3 switched from GPL to closed source because of "other projects repeatedly taking AutoIt code" and "setting themselves up as competitors."[10]

AutoHotkey has even been used by doctors in the radiology world [11].

The most recent update of the AutoHotkey software was on September 25, 2009.[12].

Programmers within the AutoHotkey community have also begun development on their own versions/ports of the program:


The following script will allow a user to search for a particular word or phrase using Google. After copying text from any application to the Clipboard, pressing the configurable hotkey Win+g will open the user's default web browser and perform the search.

#g:: ; Win+g

The following is an example of the script required to create the hotstring "afaik," which is automatically replaced by "as far as I know":

::afaik::as far as I know

The following is an example of a simple function in AutoHotkey. When a URL is copied to the Clipboard, the hotkey Alt+x will check the URL for any/all parenthesis and replace them with alternate characters before pasting the URL from the Clipboard:

!x:: ; Alt+x
   Send ^v ; Ctrl+v

URLReplace() {
   StringReplace, Clipboard, Clipboard, (, `%28, All
   StringReplace, Clipboard, Clipboard, ), `%29, All

In this example, once the contents of a user name or IP Address link have been copied from anywhere on Wikipedia's site to the Clipboard (using Firefox), the following script allows a user to perform the function CopyUser on the Clipboard's contents and save it to a variable designated by either the hotkey Ctrl+Shift+W or the hotkey Ctrl+Shift+E. The hotkey Ctrl+Shift+R utilizes the resultant variables to produce a revert edits summary.

^+w::last := CopyUser() ; Ctrl+Shift+w
^+e::edit := CopyUser() ; Ctrl+Shift+e

CopyUser() {
   Clipboard =
   StringReplace, Clipboard, Clipboard,
   StringReplace, Clipboard, Clipboard, wiki/
   StringReplace, Clipboard, Clipboard, w/index.php?title=
   StringReplace, Clipboard, Clipboard, Special:Contributions&target=
   StringReplace, Clipboard, Clipboard, User:
   StringReplace, Clipboard, Clipboard, &action=edit
   StringReplace, Clipboard, Clipboard, _, %A_Space%, All
   Return, Clipboard

; Ctrl+Shift+r
^+r::Send revert edits by [[Special:Contributions/%edit%|%edit%]] to last version by %last%

More examples of what can be done with AutoHotkey can be found in the Scripts and Functions section of Autohotkey's online forum. Many of these scripts have also have been placed into an AutoHotkey wiki based on the purpose of the script.


The online community forum for Autohotkey has around 15,000 registered users and around 300,000 posts as of October 2009[13].

User Contributed Features

The following extensions/interops/inline script libraries for usage with/from other programming languages are available or in development:


See also


External links

ko:오토핫키 nl:AutoHotkey pl:AutoHotkey ru:AutoHotkey sv:Autohotkey it:Autohotkey

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