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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Developer(s)Chris Mallett, Steve Gray
Initial releaseNovember 10, 2003; 20 years ago (2003-11-10) (Chris Mallet)[1]
July 18, 2008; 15 years ago (2008-07-18) (Steve Gray)[2][3]
Stable release
2.0.18[4] Edit this on Wikidata / 6 July 2024; 7 days ago (6 July 2024)
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows
TypeScripting language Automation GUI utility
Websitewww.autohotkey.com Edit this at Wikidata

AutoHotkey is a free and open-source custom scripting language for Microsoft Windows, primarily designed to provide easy keyboard shortcuts or hotkeys, fast macro-creation and software automation to allow users of most computer skill levels to automate repetitive tasks in any Windows application. It can easily extend or modify user interfaces (for example, overriding the default Windows control key commands with their Emacs equivalents).[6] The installation package includes an extensive help file; web-based documentation is also available.[7]


AutoHotkey scripts can be used to launch programs, open documents, and emulate keystrokes or mouse clicks and movements.[8] They can also assign, retrieve, and manipulate variables, run loops, and manipulate windows, files, and folders. They can be triggered by a hotkey, such as a script that opens an internet browser when the user presses Ctrl+Alt+I on the keyboard. Keyboard keys can also be remapped and disabled—for example, so that pressing Ctrl+M produces an em dash in the active window.[9] AutoHotkey also allows "hotstrings" that automatically replace certain text as it is typed, such as assigning the string "btw" to produce the text "by the way", or the text "%o" to produce "percentage of".[10] Scripts can also be set to run automatically at computer startup, with no keyboard action required—for example, for performing file management at a set interval.[11]

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 standalone executable files that can be run on other computers without AutoHotkey installed. The C++ source code can be compiled with Visual Studio Express.

AutoHotKey allows memory access through pointers, as in C.[12]

Some uses for AutoHotkey:

  • Remapping the keyboard, such as from QWERTY to Dvorak and other alternative keyboard layouts
  • Using shortcuts to type frequently-used filenames and other phrases
  • Typing punctuation not available on the keyboard, such as curved quotes ()
  • Typing other non-keyboard characters, such as the sign × used for dimensional measurement (e.g. 10′×12′)
  • 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 applications before implementing them in other, more time-consuming programming languages


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.[13][14] Mallett built a new program from scratch basing the syntax on AutoIt v2 and using AutoIt v3 for some commands and the compiler.[15] Later, AutoIt v3 switched from GPL to closed source because of "other projects repeatedly taking AutoIt code" and "setting themselves up as competitors".[16]

In 2010, AutoHotkey v1.1 (originally called AutoHotkey_L) became the platform for ongoing development of AutoHotkey.[17] In late 2012, it became the official branch.[18] Another port of the program is AutoHotkey.dll.[19] A well known fork of the program is AutoHotkey_H,[20][21] which has its own subforum on the main site.[22]

Version 2[edit]

In July 2021, the first AutoHotkey v2 beta was released.[23][24] The first release candidate was released on November 20, 2022, with the full release of v2.0.0 planned later in the year.[25] On December 20, 2022, version 2.0.0 was officially released.[26] On January 22, 2023, AutoHotkey v2 became the official primary version. AutoHotkey v1.1 became legacy and no new features were implemented, but this version was still supported by the site.[27] On March 16, 2024, the final update of AutoHotkey v1.1 was released. AutoHotkey v1.1 has now reached its end of life.[28]


The following script searches for a particular word or phrase using Google. After the user copies text from any application to the clipboard, pressing the configurable hotkey ⊞ Win+G opens the user's default web browser and performs the search.

#g::Run "https://www.google.com/search?q=" . A_Clipboard

The following script defines a hotstring that enables the user to type afaik in any program and, when followed by an ending character, automatically replace it with "as far as I know":

::afaik::as far as I know

User-contributed features[edit]

AutoHotKey extensions, interops and inline script libraries are available for use with and from other programming languages, including:

Other major plugins enable support for:


When AutoHotkey is used to make standalone 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.[44] 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.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "AutoHotkey Changelog for Years 2003-2004". Autohotkey.com. Archived from the original on 2011-11-04. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  2. ^ "Changes & New Features | AutoHotkey". www.autohotkey.com.
  3. ^ "Lexikos/AutoHotkey_L". GitHub.
  4. ^ "Release 2.0.18". 6 July 2024. Retrieved 6 July 2024.
  5. ^ "Software License". AutoHotkey. Retrieved 2022-06-08. GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE Version 2, June 1991
  6. ^ Contact Erica Sadun: Comment (2005-08-19). "Ericasadun 2005 Life Hacker". Lifehacker.com. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  7. ^ "Quick Reference | AutoHotkey". www.autohotkey.com.
  8. ^ "AutoHotkey Tutorial: Macro and Hotkey Creation". Autohotkey.com. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  9. ^ "Remapping Keys and Buttons". Autohotkey.com. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  10. ^ "Hotstrings and Auto-replace (similar to AutoText and AutoCorrect)". Autohotkey.com. 2005-01-09. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  11. ^ "Hotkeys, Hotstrings, and Remapping". Autohotkey.com. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  12. ^ "AutoHotkey Changes and New Features, v1.0.47 - June 19, 2007". Autohotkey.com. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  13. ^ "Author Chris Mallett's post on the AutoHotkey Forums". Autohotkey.com. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  14. ^ "An AutoIt / AutoHotkey nonfunctional comparison". Paperlined.org. Archived from the original on 2011-12-08. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  15. ^ "Author Chris Mallett's post on the AutoHotkey Forums". Autohotkey.com. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  16. ^ "Licensing Opinions - AutoIt Forums". Autoitscript.com. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  17. ^ "Forum post by Chris, announcing AutoHotkey_L now main platform". Autohotkey.com. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  18. ^ "Our History". The AutoHotkey Foundation. 2014-05-26. Retrieved 2016-07-23.
  19. ^ "AutoHotekey.dll Module". github.io. Retrieved 2017-05-13.
  20. ^ "Hotkeyit's AutoHotkey_H fork". GitHub.
  21. ^ "Thqby's AutoHotkey_H fork". GitHub.
  22. ^ "AutoHotkey_H subforum". AutoHotkey.com.
  23. ^ "AutoHotkey v2". AutoHotkey.com. Retrieved 2021-07-28.
  24. ^ "AutoHotkey v2.0-beta.1 - AutoHotkey Community". www.autohotkey.com. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  25. ^ "AutoHotkey v2.0-rc.1". AutoHotkey.com. Retrieved 2022-11-20.
  26. ^ "AutoHotkey v2.0.0". AutoHotkey.com. Retrieved 2022-12-20.
  27. ^ "AutoHotkey v2 Official Release Announcement". AutoHotkey.com.
  28. ^ "End of Life: v1.1". AutoHotkey.com.
  29. ^ ".NET Framework Interop - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  30. ^ "AHK + LUA Interop (stdlib), proof of concept - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  31. ^ "ahklisp: lisp on win32 with cffi, sbcl, and autohotkey - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  32. ^ "ahkecl : Embedded common lisp in ahk - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  33. ^ a b "Machine code functions: Bit Wizardry - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  34. ^ "Embedded Windows Scripting (VBScript & JScript) and COM - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  35. ^ "function hooks - Suggestions". AutoHotkey Community.
  36. ^ "COM Standard Library - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  37. ^ "LibCon - AutoHotkey Library For Console Support - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  38. ^ "LowLevel & dynamic code - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  39. ^ "Human Interface Device(HID) Support".
  40. ^ "Automation IE7 Navigation and Scripting with Tabs - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  41. ^ ":: SmartGUI Creator :: - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  42. ^ "Sparrow: AHK WebServer w/ AHK in HTML support (sources incl) - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  43. ^ "[tool] WinEventHook Messages - Scripts and Functions". AutoHotkey Community.
  44. ^ Research, Cybereason Nocturnus. "Fauxpersky: CredStealer malware written in AutoHotKey masquerades as Kaspersky Antivirus, spreading through infecting USB drives". Retrieved 2018-03-29.

External links[edit]