Best Windows Automation Platforms


I should add, with Visual Studio available on the Mac, I’ve begin looking into using it for some Mac automation. There are some differences between .NET Framework (which I’m a tad more familiar with) and .NET Core, but most things should work. It’s easiest to build command line apps with Visual Studio on the Mac, but that may not be a problem for some.

Edit: .NET Framework, not Standard


Does anyone else use Phrase Expander?

It is an uncanny mix of Text Expander, Alfred (or LaunchBar I suppose) and Keyboard Maestro.


Same, Mac at home ( ) and Windows at work ( certainly better than it used to be).

Last week our email system was upgraded and now my regular Outlook doesn’t work so I’ve been using the web browser version…watched some videos to see what it can do. I want the auto “Categories” but can’t find it in my 365 version. ANyway one of the add-ins you can connect to is Flow and so I just learned of its existence today. At this job I need to send out a few emails with a PDF attached, “Hello, please approve this invoice” sort of thing. It sounds like Flow could help with that?

Have never heard of PowerApps but will go check it out now!


I go old school and use cygwin to get a bash environment and write my own bash scripts. If you’re from a Unix/Linux background it’s great to get all the familiar tools.


You should check out the Windows Subsystem for Linux. It’s basically a full GNU/Linux user land environment, on Windows without a VM. You can run Linux binaries without recompiling.


@BonnieB, the same functionality that phrase expander does can be done very very simply with AutoHotkey. I encourage you to check it out!


I am a teacher. I have 4 different classes. I would like to be able to hit a key (or combo thereof), a different the dedicated to each class, that instructs my laptop to open certain files and URLs (i.e. Smartboard file named “3rd hour Spanish I”, Google classroom for 3rd hour, Quizlet for Spanish 1 and attendance grading program, etc…).

Is there any app or program that works across the platform like this and is not program specific?


A simple batch script would do the trick.

Just look at the format in the posts above, type them into notepad, save it with a .bat file extension and run it to have it ‘start’ all the files and apps you want to open.


Awesome! Thanks! I will let you know how that goes.


Okay. I had no clue what I was looking at. Lol

I would love to search out tutorials for… this… thing of typing stuff into… my computer.

What do I call it?


Just batch files or DOS batch files. They’ve been around a long time, though start as a command probably only came in around 1995 maybe.


AutoHotkey is my default answer for things like this. Super powerful and super easy to use. You can bind a key combination to open each one of those as you wish using simple commands. Two very rudimentary examples below

Control+Alt+1 - opens a directory

Run, c:\path\to\your\directory

Control+Alt+2 - opens a directory, a file and a web page

Run, c:\path\to\your\other\directory
Run, c:\path\to\your\other\other\file.extension

Try it out!


Where do I get this? I assume it costs something?


Completely free. Click the Try it out link in my post! Let me know if you have questions. More than happy to help you get rolling!


If you want web bAsed automation flow rocks. With loops and conditional support you can do a lot. For local I used to use auto hot key a lot. Now I just use powershell.

I have a profile that I install on every pc to make things consistent.


FileJuggler looks to be similar to Hazel on macOS, although not as powerful.


Not exactly. You need to write all of the code for AutoHotKey from scratch, whereas Hazel, you just setup rules. AHK does have a very big library though, so you’re not really going down to the windows API.

I’ve used its predecessor (AutoIt3) quite a bit, but have only used AHK briefly.
An amazing amount of work went into both of these, and they are still free.


Even though you have to write your own code, it’s super easy. There is nothing that Hazel can do that AHK can’t (putting aside the obvious platform differences).


it sucks not to be on a mac, but for windows
expensive, but if you work with it, its ok.


Wow. That is a really well put together piece of software. You can tell a lot of work went into that. I’m impressed. But, yes, a hefty price tag on it.