Creating your own shortcuts in Windows 10 with AutoHotKey

Windows is full of shortcuts but doesn't provide a way to customize their shortcuts. The usability of Windows could be increased with the ability of creating new shortcut.

AutoHotKey is an open-source project with powerful capabilities. It’s light and can access many features of the Windows subsystem. One of the many features is ability creating custom shortcuts combinations. Users need an ability to understand and edit text files but you don’t have to be a programmer to learn to create these shortcuts. If you need help, there’s a helpful community for AutoHotKey enthusiast.

Screenshot showing the code for the script for a custom windows shortcut

Download AutoHotKey from official source here. Having the AutoHotKey installed, users can create scripts, tiny and large, running in the background. The scripts have to be stored with ‘ahk‘ file extension. One of the simplest way of utilizing it is by creating your own shortcut combinations to perform task. Large AutoHotKey projects include Clipjump, a full-blown windows clipboard manager.

Most common AutoHotKey key in reference the keyboard are:

Windows – AutoHotKey

Ctrl – ^

Alt – !

Shift – +

Win Key – #

Space – Space

Backspace – Backspace

Tab – Tab

You can find more key notations on AutoHotKey documentation website.

Let’s create a simple AutoHotKey to run Windows Task Manager. The default shortcut for Task Manager isCtrlAltDel, which needs two hands to access. Lets create an easily accessible shortcut that can be executed with a single hand without needing to stretch.

We will use CtrlAltX for this. The code snippet is shown below:

run, "C:\Windows\System32\Taskmgr.exe"

Code Explanation:

The return keyword keeps it running for multiple iterations. The semicolon ‘;’ is a single line comment to list description. With this file saved with an extension of ‘ahk’, you can execute the file to run it indefinitely.

And that’s it, save the file with the ‘ahk‘ extension, for eg. ‘tasker.ahk‘. Save it in the desktop or any safe place in your drive. Then run the file when you wan to utilize the shortcut. It runs light on your Windows tray. You can pause and edit the script directly from the icon’s context menu.

Leave a Reply