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Modern AutoHotkey Logo (no text).svg
Developer(s)Chris Mallett, Steve Gray
Initial releaseNovember 10, 2003; 18 years ago (2003-11-10) (Chris Mallet)[1]
July 18, 2008; 14 years ago (2008-07-18) (Steve Gray)[2][3]
Stable release / June 5, 2022; 2 months ago (2022-06-05)[4]
Preview release
2.0-beta-7 / July 13, 2022; 30 days ago (2022-07-13)[5]
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows
TypeScripting language Automation GUI utility
LicenseGPLv2[6] Edit this at Wikidata

AutoHotkey is a free and 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).[7] The AutoHotkey installation includes its own extensive help file, and web-based documentation is also available.[8]


AutoHotkey scripts can be used to launch programs, open documents, and emulate keystrokes or mouse clicks and movements.[9] 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 Ctrl+M, for example, might result in the active window receiving an em dash , or nothing at all.[10] AutoHotkey also allows for "hotstrings" that will automatically replace certain text as it is typed, such as assigning the string "btw" to produce the text "by the way" when typed, or the text "%o" to produce "percentage of".[11] 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.[12]

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.[13]

Some uses for AutoHotkey:

  • 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 forms automatically.
  • Prototyping before implementing in another, more time-consuming, programming language.


The first public beta of AutoHotkey was released on November 10, 2003, [1] after author Chris Mallett's proposal to integrate hotkey support into AutoIt v2 failed to generate response from the AutoIt community.[14][15] Mallett built a new program from scratch basing the syntax on AutoIt v2 and using AutoIt v3 for some commands and the compiler.[16] Later, AutoIt v3 switched from GPL to closed source because of "other projects repeatedly taking AutoIt code" and "setting themselves up as competitors".[17]

In 2010, AutoHotkey v1.1 (originally called AutoHotkey_L) became the platform for ongoing development of AutoHotkey.[18] In late 2012, it became the official branch.[19] Another port of the program is AutoHotkey.dll.[20]

In July 2021, the first AutoHotkey v2 beta was released.[21][22]


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.


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

User-contributed features[edit]

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[edit]


  1. ^ a b "AutoHotkey Changelog for Years 2003-2004". Archived from the original on 2011-11-04. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  2. ^ "Changes & New Features | AutoHotkey".
  3. ^ "Lexikos/AutoHotkey_L". GitHub.
  4. ^ "AutoHotkey Downloads".
  5. ^ "Index of /download/2.0".
  6. ^ "Software License". AutoHotkey. Retrieved 2022-06-08. GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE Version 2, June 1991
  7. ^ Contact Erica Sadun: Comment (2005-08-19). "Ericasadun 2005 Life Hacker". Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  8. ^ "Quick Reference | AutoHotkey".
  9. ^ "AutoHotkey Tutorial: Macro and Hotkey Creation". Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  10. ^ "Remapping Keys and Buttons". Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  11. ^ "Hotstrings and Auto-replace (similar to AutoText and AutoCorrect)". 2005-01-09. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  12. ^ "Hotkeys, Hotstrings, and Remapping". Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  13. ^ "AutoHotkey Changes and New Features, v1.0.47 - June 19, 2007". Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  14. ^ "Author Chris Mallett's post on the AutoHotkey Forums". Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  15. ^ "An AutoIt / AutoHotkey nonfunctional comparison". Archived from the original on 2011-12-08. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  16. ^ "Author Chris Mallett's post on the AutoHotkey Forums". Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  17. ^ "Licensing Opinions - AutoIt Forums". Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  18. ^ "Forum post by Chris, announcing AutoHotkey_L now main platform". Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  19. ^ "Our History". The AutoHotkey Foundation. 2014-05-26. Retrieved 2016-07-23.
  20. ^ "AutoHotekey.dll Module". Retrieved 2017-05-13.
  21. ^ "AutoHotkey v2". Retrieved 2021-07-28.
  22. ^ "AutoHotkey v2.0-beta.1 - AutoHotkey Community". Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  23. ^ ".NET Framework Interop - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  24. ^ "AHK + LUA Interop (stdlib), proof of concept - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  25. ^ "ahklisp: lisp on win32 with cffi, sbcl, and autohotkey - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  26. ^ "ahkecl : Embedded common lisp in ahk - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  27. ^ a b "Machine code functions: Bit Wizardry - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  28. ^ "Embedded Windows Scripting (VBScript & JScript) and COM - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  29. ^ "function hooks - Suggestions". AutoHotkey Community.
  30. ^ "COM Standard Library - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  31. ^ "LibCon - AutoHotkey Library For Console Support - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  32. ^ "LowLevel & dynamic code - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  33. ^ "Human Interface Device(HID) Support".
  34. ^ "Automation IE7 Navigation and Scripting with Tabs - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  35. ^ ":: SmartGUI Creator :: - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  36. ^ "Sparrow: AHK WebServer w/ AHK in HTML support (sources incl) - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  37. ^ "[tool] WinEventHook Messages - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  38. ^ Research, Cybereason Nocturnus. "Fauxpersky: CredStealer malware written in AutoHotKey masquerades as Kaspersky Antivirus, spreading through infecting USB drives". Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  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[edit]