AutoHotkey logo.png
Developer(s)Chris Mallett, Steve Gray
Stable release / August 22, 2018; 3 months ago (2018-08-22)[1]
Preview release
2.0-a098 / August 11, 2018; 4 months ago (2018-08-11)[2]
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows
TypeScripting language Automation GUI utility

AutoHotkey is a free, open-source custom scripting language for Microsoft Windows, initially aimed at providing easy keyboard shortcuts or hotkeys, fast macro-creation and software automation that allows users of most levels of computer skill to automate repetitive tasks in any Windows application. User interfaces can easily be extended or modified by AutoHotkey (for example, overriding the default Windows control key commands with their Emacs equivalents).[3] The AutoHotkey installation includes its own extensive help file, and web-based documentation is also available.[4]


AutoHotkey scripts can be used to launch programs, open documents, emulate keystrokes, Unicode characters, and mouse clicks and movements.[5] 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 ++ on the keyboard. Keyboard keys can also be remapped or disabled, such that pressing +, for example, might result in the active window receiving an en dash (–), or nothing at all.[6] 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 produce the text "by the way" when typed, or the text "%o" to produce "percentage of".[7] Further, some scripts can be initiated automatically at computer startup and need not interact with the keyboard at all, perhaps performing file manipulation at a set interval.[8]

More complex tasks can be achieved with custom data entry forms (GUI windows), working with the system registry, or using the Windows API by calling functions from 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.[9]

Some uses to which AutoHotkey can be put:

  • Remapping the keyboard, such as from QWERTY to Dvorak or other alternative keyboard layouts.
  • Using shortcuts to fill in frequently-used file names or other phrases.
  • Typing punctuation not provided on the keyboard, such as curved quotes (...).
  • 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.
  • Automating repetitive tasks.
  • Filling out contest and freebie forms automatically (i.e., it can type in your name, address, etc. automatically).
  • Prototyping before implementing in another, more time consuming, programming language.


The first public beta of AutoHotkey was released on November 10, 2003[10] after author Chris Mallett's proposal to integrate hotkey support into AutoIt v2 failed to generate response from the AutoIt community.[11][12] 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.[13] Later, AutoIt v3 switched from GPL to closed source because of "other projects repeatedly taking AutoIt code" and "setting themselves up as competitors."[14]

In 2010, AutoHotkey v1.1 (originally called AutoHotkey_L) became the platform for ongoing development of AutoHotkey.[15] Another port of the program is AutoHotkey.dll.[16]


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 + will open the user's default web browser and perform the search.


The following script defines a hotstring that enables the user to type "afaik" in any program and have it automatically replaced with "as far as I know":

::afaik::as far as I know

The example below makes ++ replace selected text in an editor with a quoted version of that text. It illustrates the use of functions, arguments and default argument values.

^+q::QuoteSelection  ; Ctrl+Shift+Q

	selection:= GetSelection  ; Get selected text.
	PasteText(Quote(selection))  ; Quote the text and paste it back.

GetSelection(timeoutSeconds:= 0.5)
	Clipboard:= ""  ; Clear clipboard for ClipWait to function.
	Send ^c  ; Send Ctrl+C to get selection on clipboard.
	ClipWait %timeoutSeconds% ; Wait for the copied text to arrive at the clipboard.
	return Clipboard

	Clipboard:=s  ; Put the text on the clipboard.
	Send ^v  ; Paste the text with Ctrl+V.

	return """" . s . """"


The online community forum for AutoHotkey has around 24,000 registered users and around 194,000 posts as of May 2018.[17]

The online chat room for AutoHotkey is located on Freenode IRC with an average of 40 connected users as of February 2008.[18]

The administration of the official site has had many changes over its history.[19][20][21]

User-contributed features

There are extensions/interops/inline script libraries available for usage with/from other programming languages:

Other major plugins enable support for:


When AutoHotkey is used to make self-contained software for distribution, that software must include the part of AutoHotkey itself that understands and executes AutoHotkey scripts, as it is an interpreted language. Inevitably, some malware has been written using AutoHotkey.[38] When anti-malware products attempt to earmark items of malware that have been programmed using AutoHotkey, they sometimes falsely identify AutoHotkey as the culprit rather than the actual malware.[39][40][41][42][43][44][45]

See also


  1. ^ "AutoHotkey Downloads".
  2. ^ "AutoHotkey v2 Downloads (sorted by date)".
  3. ^ Contact Erica Sadun: Comment (2005-08-19). "Ericasadun 2005 Life Hacker". Retrieved .
  4. ^
  5. ^ "AutoHotkey Tutorial: Macro and Hotkey Creation". Retrieved .
  6. ^ "Remapping Keys and Buttons". Retrieved .
  7. ^ "Hotstrings and Auto-replace (similar to AutoText and AutoCorrect)". 2005-01-09. Retrieved .
  8. ^ "Hotkeys, Hotstrings, and Remapping". Retrieved .
  9. ^ "AutoHotkey Changes and New Features, v1.0.47 - June 19, 2007". Retrieved .
  10. ^ "AutoHotkey Changelog for Years 2003-2004". Archived from the original on 2011-11-04. Retrieved .
  11. ^ "Author Chris Mallett's post on the AutoHotkey Forums". Retrieved .
  12. ^ "An AutoIt / AutoHotkey nonfunctional comparison". Retrieved .
  13. ^ "Author Chris Mallett's post on the AutoHotkey Forums". Retrieved .
  14. ^ "Licensing Opinions - AutoIt Forums". Retrieved .
  15. ^ "Forum post by Chris, announcing AutoHotkey_L now main platform". Retrieved .
  16. ^ "AutoHotekey.dll Module". Retrieved 2017.
  17. ^ "AutoHotkey Community - Index page". Statistics section, near the bottom of the page. Retrieved .
  18. ^ "[Live Chat] Instant AutoHotkey help! Just add water..." 5 February 2008. Retrieved .
  19. ^ "AutoHotkey Changelog for Years 2003-2004". Retrieved .
  20. ^ "The AutoHotkey Foundation : Our History". The AutoHotkey Foundation. 2014-05-26. Retrieved .
  21. ^ "The future of". Chris. 2012-01-26. Retrieved .
  22. ^ .NET Framework
  23. ^ LibLua
  24. ^ Lisp on win32
  25. ^ Embeddable Common Lisp
  26. ^ Windows Scripting Host
  27. ^ Embedded machine code
  28. ^ Function Hooks
  29. ^ COM Wrappers
  30. ^ Console Interaction (LibCon)
  31. ^ Dynamic Code Generation
  32. ^ Human Interface Device(HID) Support
  33. ^ Internet Explorer Automation
  34. ^ SmartGUI Creator
  35. ^ Sparrow AHK Web Server
  36. ^ Bit Wizardry
  37. ^ Windows Event Hooks
  38. ^ Research, Cybereason Nocturnus. "Fauxpersky: CredStealer malware written in AutoHotKey masquerades as Kaspersky Antivirus, spreading through infecting USB drives". Retrieved .
  39. ^ "trojan in autohotkey installer?". AutoHotkey Forums. gallaxhar.
  40. ^ "False positive virus alert?". AutoHotkey Forums. narny.
  41. ^ "False positive on antivirus programs". AutoHotkey Forums. Ferry.
  42. ^ "Trojan.Antavmu detected in AutoHotKey". AutoHotkey Forums. apao.
  43. ^ "Avast, false positive exe files". AutoHotkey Forums. Doron.
  44. ^ "False Positive: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware PRO and Windows 8". AutoHotkey Forums. PuzzledGreatly.
  45. ^ "Antivirus scan for AutoHotkey112400_Install.exe". VirusTotal.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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