Automation workflows for Windows 10/11

I just listened to the episode 118 (ask the automators) and would like to share some of my own Windows Automation workflows.

There is a script based automation tool called AutoHotKey (AHK). This is a very powerful tool to write automations of all sorts. You write a script with the proper syntax and save the file as an .ahk file. When you run it, it runs in the background and waits for the trigger to happen. When a trigger is detected it starts executing the script in the background. I use it for the following purposes:

  • text expansion
    Since this is a trigger based automation, you can have multiple automations in one script file. I have made a dedicated one for text expansion.
    The syntax for text expansion is in this format -
    :*:trigger:*:expanded text

  • hotkeys to run apps
    The following scripts run todoist on when I pres windows +t

   ;launch todoist with "Win+t"
	IfWinExist, ahk_exe Todoist.exe
		WinActivate, ahk_exe Todoist.exe	
		Run C:\Users\geetm\AppData\Local\Programs\todoist\Todoist.exe
		sleep 2000
		WinActivate, ahk_exe Todoist.exe

There is a lot more AHK can do but i think this should be a good starting point for someone to get into it. It is available for free, i think it is open source and there is a huge community around it.

You could check out atext (alpha text) on windows store if you want a GUI based text expansion or hotkey tool. Most of its features are free with a few limitations that can be removed with a one time purchase.

Next tool i think that should be pointed out is Microsofts power tools. They make this collection of utilities that come in handy a lot.

  • color picker tool - allows you to identify the hex code or rgb values of any color on the screen and give complementary and adjacent colors as well.
  • power rename - you can rename multiple files with regex or just simple text replacement from the right click menu.
  • Always on top- force any app to stay on top with a simple hotkey
  • File Lock Smith - if a file is locked by a program but you can’t find what program is using it, you can use file locksmith from the right click menu to find what program has that file open.

SnipDo is a PopClip alternative for windows. It is available for free to start with. It has a huge list of extensions for text manipulation and sending the highlighted text to other third party services. It is definitely worth trying. It is available in the windows store.

I like to use FastScripts and FileJuggler on Windows. FastScripts has a GUI and lets you build AHK automations but you don’t see the scripts or have to know the code. It is a similar tool to Keyboard Maestro.

oh that sounds nice. I have to check it out. I have been typing my scripts manually and for UI macros I have used Pulover’s Macro Creator, which is also pretty heavy on scripting for error corrections.

I used to use file juggler to auto extract from downloaded archives, but I am trying to use power automate to build those kind of workflows.