In our first hour of today’s AutoHotkey webinar we talked about various ways you can automate MS Outlook. We covered the below scripts:
- Creating an HTML email (Also see this video)
- Performing mail-merge on the above HTML email
- Integrating a mail-merge from an active Excel file (Also see this video)
- Looping over emails in a folder
- Creating appointments in Outlook
- Creating an address book from looping over emails in Outlook
The second hour dove a bit deeper into using Outlook and Excel. We also talked through a few user’s questions.
Below is the information that was reviewed in the PowerPoint deck we reviewed:
Sift by FanaticGuru uses Regular Expressions and nGrams* to fuzzy match strings
*n-gram is a contiguous sequence of n items
COM– Component Object Model
- What is COM?
- Some of the programs COM integrates with:
Creating an HTML email in Outlook with AutoHotkey
- Connect to Outlook or Create a new one (but may not deploy right then)
- Create a New Mail Item object
- Provide values for properties
- Specify Account Sending from
- Type of email (HTML, RTF, Text) (Search here for Outlook Constants)
- Identify Recipients: To, CC, BBC
- Subject line
- HTML Body
- Delivery time (Fuse)
- Request Delivery Reciept
- Display / Send
- Convert above email to mail-merge with names & email addresses
Outlook examples on the-Automator
AutoHotkey webinar on COM & Excel
As you have probably guessed by now I’m incredibly passionate about AutoHotkey & automation! I’ve got such a love for it I wanted to be able to have some AutoHotkey merchandise that would both make…
In our first hour of today’s webinar we talked through the below points on how to improve adoption rate of AutoHotkey for users as well as making money with AutoHotkey.
The second hour dove a bit deeper into both topics and discussed other subjects related to these.
FindText – Capture Screen Image & Find it
Don’t let the name “FindText” fool you (it isn’t about ‘text’)
Things to keep in mind:
- Make sure you keep the same: Screen resolution, magnification, font, zoom
- Test Grayscale vs Color
- You can adjust the size of the capture area (but smaller is generally better)
- Tutorial 1 demonstrating the function and an Example using it
- Function to help take action on what you find
PowerPoint deck / Resources:
Which best describes your Organization’s current RPA (Robotics Process Automation) adoption level?
Here is the full Slide deck, podcast, and book entitled: Service Automation: Robots and the Future of Work 2016 by
Misconceptions of RPA / Desktop Automation
- …is only used to reduce workload & lay-off employees
- …is mainly driven by cost savings
- …completely replaces the need for a person
Why Don’t More People Automate / Use AutoHotkey?
- People do notlike change. (correlation with age?)
- People don’t realize what canbe automated (“think small” – “magic redo” button?)
- Managers / Decision makers think it is “too expensive”
- No “GUI” to use for creating scripts. Non-techies get “overwhelmed” with coding.
- Everyone is “too busy” to learn how to save time. Even though they’re interested in saving time they don’t find time to learn how to automate. (Story of a woodcutteris a great analogy; remember to take time to ‘sharpen the saw’)
- Some people are too proud to let-on that they really don’t understand what you’re doing. They might try it on their own but get frustrated and give up after 15 minutes. (Perhaps reviewing 1-1 is better than in groups?)
- Managers oftendo not encourage their employees to automate. (I’ve had several bosses that told me NOTto automate.)
- Most people think short-termand not long-term. This can present itself in the following dimensions
- The job is “too small” to be automated (almost never true)
- The job is a “1-time” need (rarely, if ever, the case; the “job” might be but the “approach” is bound to come up again)
- I’m the only one that would use this (rarely the case)
- It will take too long to write code to automate (I think this is one of the best things about AutoHotkey. FAST!)
- It must be “fully automated” (No need to automate the entire process)
- Not considering “side-effects” of automation (tracking log to examine events, employee / customer satisfaction etc.)
Best Approach to Get Adopters
1.Don’t overwhelm them with all that AutoHotkey can do!
- Only get them to learn 1 thing!
- Give them time to learn/adopt that and then come back with additional tips
2.Curtail what you demonstrate to the prospect’s level
- Luddites- Stick to HotKeys and HotStrings
- Somewhat Nerdy- Demonstrate some scripts, Input box, Sending keystrokes / Clicks, File manipulation
- Nerds- Whatever their need! (Dll calls, Image search, API calls, Web Scraping, Objects, RegEx, GUIs, etc.)
3.Get a senior-level advocate (Director or above)
- Senior people see the cost-savings
- Your supervisor will think your coding is counting against “their time”
- Colleagues might be worried you’re “automating” them out of a job
- IT also might try and road-block you. Get the business to “demand” it
4.Create custom script for their needs
- Don’t build in all bells-whistles
Making $ Money with AutoHotkey
- Selling generic programs / scripts to large audience
- Selling custom scripts to individuals / company
- Getting paid to code (they own the intellectual property) & you get paid by hour
Shareware / Freeware / Donations
“Rich” Target markets
- Lots of people doing same job function
- “Thankless” / mundane jobs with clear logic/ “rules-based” descisions and structured data
- Lots of, repetitive, transactions
- Non-programming “business” people
- People with Money!!!
- Sales people!
Incentives / Benefits to Highlight to Potential Clients
- Employee / man-hour savings resulting in high ROI (Return on Investment)
- Better quality results than from humans / Higher compliance
- Faster deployment getting things done (clients / customers are happier)
- Increased scalability
- Happier, more productive, employees
- Have more “Meta-Data” to do analysis on
- The more you do, the easier it gets
- The more you automate, the more time you have to automate
I recently played with this great AutoHotkey function FindText(). The program is similar to AutoHotkey’s built-in ImageSearch functionality however it works more reliably and does not need a local file/copy of the image. The name of the function is a bit misleading in that it really just helps you find and click images.
My first video below demonstrates most of the basic functionality of the tool. The second video shows the usage of the functions that I wrote to help clicking, sending text, etc.
Here is my version of the FindText function which includes the functions I demonstrate in the second video. If you’d like the hotstrings I used they are below also (mine are in my main AutoHotkey.ahk file)
Find and click image with FindText()
Demonstration of custom AutoHotkey functions to find image and click it.
HotStrings used for typing-aide for FindText