In this video, I discuss how to use AutoHotkey to speed up your productivity when working with repetitive tasks in Crestron SIMPL Windows.
This lesson is part of my course "The TLDR Method" - For more information this and my other Crestron programming courses, go to proavschool.com
Hi this is Dustin with Pro AV School in today's video, I'm going to show Crestron programmers how you can power up your productivity using a third-party tool and it's free called autohotkey.
Before we get started a quick note, autohotkey recently, updated to version 2.0, the video that I'm going to show you is from a course I created about a year ago and that's using version 1 or version 1.1.
So you'll want to download version 1.1 from the website to use the example that I'm showing here's a quick demo that was done using autohotkey I was able to copy a list of names into a folder of logic and simple and use the names with the replace function I'll go into more detail on how I accomplished this in a moment.
The easiest way to describe autohotkey is as a scripting language for user input anything that you can do with a series of keystrokes or even most movements is something that you could automate with auto hotkey to use Auto hotkey.
You download the application itself from autohotkey.com and install it on your computer.
Once it is installed.
You can run different ahk scripts while the application is running, it is constantly listening for triggers that you have defined in your script.
The triggers will cause the actions in your script to execute one of the simplest scripts would be something like a character replacement to make typing certain sequences easier such as typing wrote Sim stat.
When autohotkey sees this keystroke combination, it types in the text wrote Sim stat for me.
So I, don't mess.
Another handy thing I like to do with auto hotkey is keep windows always on top with control and spacebar I start this script when my computer starts up by putting a shortcut to the ahk script in my windows user profile, startup folder, if you don't know which folder this is, you can find it with Windows key R to run a program type in Shell colon startup.
And it will open up Windows Explorer on the current user's startup directory.
There are tons of Windows productivity things.
You can do with autohotkey.
If you are interested in finding out more there's quite a bit of information on autohotkey's website, Auto hotkey can be quite powerful when working with simple, the demonstration I showed you at the start of this lesson involved reading a list of names from a text file and using those to replace names of logic blocks in simple, a task like this isn't, just about typing in a list.
You have to click press, F9 click to the right spot type hit enter and then wait you do it again and again.
And again, if you get Auto hotkey involved, you can walk away and grab a coffee while does your work for you.
In my case it is usually more accurate than I could do myself because I tend to get distracted lose track of where I am in the list and frustrated.
You can download my ahk script below this video, but I wanted to explain the methodology behind it.
So that you can modify or create your own now let's take a quick look at how this script works.
First of all script will start working on the currently selected line in your simple program.
We assume that only one instance of simple is running and just reference that window by name to start the script.
You need a trigger I use Ctrl, alt and G before you press that though you need to switch over to the text editor, or the list of your replacement data is located.
Windows references each different application window with a unique handle.
We are able to get the handle for the active window.
So I designed my script to have you first start having your text editor window as the active window.
Then when you start the script via the control, alt G, trigger, it stores that Windows handle as a variable for future use.
Then we start a loop for the number of items.
The script goes to the text editor and copies, the current line to the clipboard.
Then it moves the cursor down for the next line.
Then the script switches over to simple Windows.
Next the script presses F9 to bring up a replace dialog box.
It waits a little bit.
Then it inputs our data for the search term.
Then it pastes in the replacement.
And then it sets the parameters of how the operation should work, and then it submits it.
Then we wait again.
Lastly, we move the cursor down for the next line and repeat the loop until it's done the weight delays are required because the replace operation and simple takes a bit of time.
If we don't, wait we'll, start skipping lines as our Loop continues.
There is a bit of playing around required to get your script.
Working one thing I want to stress is that you should always save a copy of your program before writing a script on it as you can easily mess things up if the script doesn't run as expected and simple, Windows doesn't, give you that undo that most programs do here's.
What the script itself looks like like I mentioned.
There is a download for the script below the video keep in mind.
You might have to tweak some of the timing in some cases, I've also seen simple updates change the behavior of simple slightly in terms of how to navigate between Windows with hotkeys.
So this is also something to be aware of like I said, make sure you save your program before trying to run this ahk script on it I don't want to get in trouble for messing up your program.
I've also used auto hotkey outside of simple in instances where an application wouldn't, let me select everything in a list to copy out in this scenario, I built an ahk script to copy and paste each line one by one into a text editor.
It was about 1500 items and took maybe 10 minutes to run.
But this is something that most people just wouldn't have the patience and accuracy to be able to do manually.
I know, for sure that I wouldn't be able to do it I would just get frustrated.
It can take a bit of time to set up automating certain tasks can save a lot of time if you're doing the same thing over and over.
You do lose time on the first one, but you make up for it every time you use it.
You might find other uses for autohotkey as well.
So it is good to play around with in a bit and see for yourself, how handy of a tool it can be.
Thanks for watching this video I'm, hoping to give you some ideas and some thoughts that you can incorporate into your own programming workflow, either the things that I've shown you or it inspires some other ideas because Auto hotkey is actually pretty cool.
Once you start playing around with it.
Now this video is actually from a course called the tldr method.
I'll put a link there.
If you're interested in checking out more about it it's kind of an advanced simple, programming course and other than that.
If you like this video, please hit like And subscribe to the channel.
If you want to see more stuff like this, and let me know in the comments, what you think about Auto hotkey and other topics that you'd like me to share on Pro AV school.
Thanks and have a great day.
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