AutoHotkey webinar- Intro to GUIs

In this AutoHotkey Webinar we covered: Introduction to GUIs  (Here is a link to scripts shared during the webinar)

Video Hour 1:  High Level:

  • Why you should create a GUI
  • Pros / Cons about Using a GUI
  • Pros / Cons about Programming a GUI
  • Rules of Thumb / Tips
  • Overview of various GUIs available in AutoHotkey
  • Resources: Tutorials & Tools for building GUIs

Video Hour 2: Coding and Q&A

Script Highlight: TaskDialog from just me and TaskDialog Creator from


When should you consider a GUI

  • Help select from a list of items that changes frequently
  • Use dropdowns , radio buttons, etc. to control what can be selected
  • Target audience using the tool is non-tech savvy
  • The list you want to choose from is available progromatically (files in folder, different accounts, etc)
  • You want to display data and be able to sort by columns keeping the rows intact
  • You want to lock-down use of the tool
  • You want to make sure certain values/fields get updated (tags for an email, subject line, etc)
  • Your code is long and key data points that you change are mixed throughout the script
  • Dealing with Images / Video files- Preview of image helps humans classify what “it” is

Pros / Cons of Using GUIs

Pros of Using GUIs

  • Non-programmers can do a lot while knowing little
  • Color / Animation can ease functionality / Usage
  • Graphics can convey data
  • Build in ways to reduce errors
  • input box for path, etc
  • “wizard” can be a template for end-user

Cons of Using GUIs

  • Non-programmers can do a lot while knowing little (make sure you build-in safeguards*)
  • Not as flexible / can typically only do what has been defined by designer
  • Manually have to repeat process each use
  • Poorly designed UI can be very painful

* Hawaii Missile-Alert Crisis


Pros / Cons of Programming GUIs

Pros of Programming GUIs

  • Can “lock down” interaction (have drop-downs, radio buttons, etc. ) with specific commands (instead of free-form typing by user)
  • Can reduce errors / mistakes by limiting options

Cons of Programming GUIs

  • Users can do actions, in any order, at any time (Not procedural)
  • Different screen resolutions
  • Various input (Mouse, Keyboard, touch,etc.)

Rules of Thumb / Tips

  • KISS- As they say, “less is more”.
  • Use Tabs to help separate tasks
  • Always “destroy” the GUI before you create it (yes, even the first time)
  • Name your GUIs
  • Label your inputs with pre-selected text or text control (e.g. edit fields)
  • Keep your design-focus on the End-User
  • Remember GUIs are EVENT driven (not linear – user can start “anywhere”)
  • Listviews & Treeviews- Disable redraw, Put in new info, Enable redraw
  • Build-in safeguards against users making mistakes

Quick Demonstrations  (See this file for the scripts)

  • Input box (multiple edit fields)
  • Tabs, Checkboxes, Radio Buttons
  • Resizable Edit
  • ListView
  • TreeView
  • DropdownList, ComboBox, Context sensitive help
  • On-Screen Display
  • Installation / Progress Bar
  • Editor with Menu bar
  • Menus

Tutorials

Use HTML & CSS in your GUIs by JoeDF

Tools


Report Generation- Crank out automated reports!

report generation

Report Generation

In market research I would very frequently have to crank out a ton of different versions of reports for a given study.  In the corporate world, like it or not, PowerPoint is still king.  🙁   By building a generic template I was able to drastically speed-up my report generation.

Setting up the template takes a little time at first however, in the long run, it will save you an amazing amount of time!

There is a lot more I automated however having a flexible template is always a great place to start!

Report Generation- Crank out automated reports!

 

Autocorrect replace text- Use abbreviations to automate writing!

autocorrect replace text

Autocorrect replace text

Hotstrings from AutoHotKey are an amazing time saver! If you’re not using them now, stop what you’re doing because they are very easy to use and save you a lot of time on a daily basis!

You’ve probably used Microsoft Word’s autocorrect to replace misspellings or perhaps the Copyright sign ©.   Imagine if, instead of replacing one word, you could replace three pre-defined letters with paragraphs of text!   Simply one of the best ways to crank-up your productivity in a very short time!

Hotstrings (Auto-replace text in any program)

Another video I did demonstrating the usefulness of Hotstrings can be seen here where I demonstrate how I use it with SPSS to crank-out reports.

AutoHotKeyHotstrings and SPSS

 

Ms-office – Word – Use AutoText Or Don’tIt’s Your Choice Tutorials

AutoCorrect’s “Replace text as you type” feature is great for fixing typos, but you can save much more time by creating AutoCorrect entries for text items that you …

Windows autocorrect- Auto-replace text in any Windows program with a Hotstring from AutoHotKey

windows autocorrect Windows Autocorrect– Auto-replace an abbreviation with full text in any windows program

Years ago I realized I was frequently typing the same thing over and over. For a while I used autocorrect in Microsoft Word which was helpful but had limitations (one huge one is that it only worked in Word). AutoHotKey is a free scripting program that allows you to do an amazing amount of things; one of which is how to use Hotstrings to autocorrect text in any windows program via Hotstrings.

I have hundreds of Hotstrings which allow me to type a few letters and have them, automatically, replaced with the full word, sentence, paragraph, etc.   Below is a simple example where I want to type my main website domain.  Instead of typing the entiere thing out I just type tac. which is quickly replaced with  http://the-automator.com

The second example is one where I want to have line-breaks inserted (This is my template when starting a new AutoHotKey script.)  I simply type tst.  and the following “magically” appears in its place via windows autocorrect.

The below video outlines how I use hotstrings to reduce the amount of mundane work that I have to do.  It is amazing how much time you can save once you get used to using them!  Remember your Hotstrings (windows autocorrect) will work in any Windows program!  Did I mention it was free?  What more could you ask for?

Hotstrings (Auto-replace text in any program)

Windows autocorrect is just one of many amazing things you can do with AutoHotKey however hotstrings is a great, easy, way to start down the path of automation and efficiency!