Kathy writes in:

We used to program our f keys where i used to work years ago, with type that we use frequently.  i dont remember how we did it.

i thought this would be a great idea for my email address because i am retyping it soooo frequently.

Does anyone know how to program an f key with your email address?

cant find any info on this.


Kathy, you’re in luckAutoHotKey is a free, open-source piece of software that enables users to easily automate repetitive Windows tasks with just a keystroke or two!

I’ll use the specific issue Kathy asked about as an example.

To get started with AutoHotKey, visit its website:  AutoHotKey and click on the Downloads link at the top of the page.   Once there, download the “Installer for AutoHotKey Basic” file.

Install the software as you normally would, and then you’re ready to get started.

After installation, the AutoHotKey Help file will launch, opening the Introduction section.  Click on the Tutorial in the index:  it’s straightforward and very helpful; just make certain you follow all the steps.

Creating a hotkey which fills your email address into an open email or other open document is simple:

  • Go to Start/All Programs, click on AutoHotKey, and then click on AutoHotKey (with the green logo)
  • Read the Notepad file that opens – it includes some great info – and then close it
  • Somewhere on your desktop, right click, click on New, and select AutoHotKey Script:

  • After clicking on AutoHotKey Script, a small icon will appear on your desktop:

  • I’m going to call this script “Insert email.ahk” – note that the file name must use the “ahk” file type
  • Then, having named the script, right click on it and select “Edit Script:”

  • On the first blank line, I enter:  #s::Send kevin@domain.com{Enter}

  • “#” represents the Windows key, and “s” of course means that the “s” key must be held down to invoke the script, but we’re not quite ready yet
  • Save the file and close it
  • Then – importantdouble click on the AutoHotKey Script icon you’ve just created on your desktop; a small AHK icon will appear in your task bar – it’s green with a white H
  • At this point, you’re set.  Open a Word document, or an email, and while holding down the Windows key, press the (in this example) “s” key, and this is what will happen:

  • Don’t want the cursor to automatically move to the next line? Remove “{Enter}” from the script.  Want to use the letter “e” for “email” in the script, rather than “s”?  Change it!

Here are a few other scripts I’ve used that speed processes:

  • #space::Run www.google.com/ig  (Launch my iGoogle homepage by holding the Windows key down + space bar)
  • #c::Run calc.exe  (Launch the Windows calculator by pressing the Windows key and “c” key)

Perhaps you can guess how this script works, just by looking at the desktop icon:

This launches my anti-malware program, MalwareBytes, when I hold down the Windows key and the “m” simultaneously; the Script is:  #m::Run mbam.exe

A couple of other things to remember:

  • When first experimenting with AutoHotKey, it’s helpful to keep the Tutorial open, at the top of your desktop, so you can refer to it if you get stuck (or confused)!
  • If you reboot your pc, you’ll have to double click each of your AHK desktop icons to restart them.
  • The scripts shown here are very, very basic:  see the “Script Showcase” in the AutoHotKey Help file – it includes a number of outstanding scripts that are well documented!
  • Also, you may wish to check out the AHK Wiki (link at end of article) for an extensive list of scripts

I’m sure you can figure out some great ways to save time by using AutoHotKeys – why not download the program and start automating some of your routine Windows tasks today?

Recommended:  AutoHotKey Wiki

EXCELLENT:  The Best Time-Saving AutoHotKey Tricks You Should Be Using – @ LifeHacker

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