At any time when you will have the prospect to arrange one thing that may repeatedly prevent time time and again with no further effort, it’s normally price exploring.

Let me provide you with an instance:

Do you will have a workflow that you simply run via frequently that requires you to open the identical a number of web sites every time you do it? If you happen to bookmark these websites and nest them right into a folder, you may open all of the bookmarks in a single step by right-clicking the folder > Open All in Tabs.

Set this up as soon as, and it’ll repay you with saved time time and again. That is the sort of factor I’m speaking about.

On this article, I’m going to point out you ways I created a script utilizing a free program referred to as AutoHotKey that automates my whole workflow for establishing my pc for recording a software program tutorial. What used to take me 5-10 minutes, now takes seconds, is extra dependable and approach much less irritating.

What can AutoHotKey do?

AutoHotKey can do just about something a human can do in your pc, from opening applications, customized auto-correct, transferring home windows, clicking on issues, sending keyboard enter, and far more. You may even add logic so your script is aware of how you can make choices on the fly. It simply takes a bit of little bit of programming know-how.

You may create easy scripts that set off whenever you press a sure key mixture. For instance, this one line of code will auto-replace wtf with What the Fr*ench toast, wherever you kind it:

::wtf::What the Fr*nch Toast!

Or you may create extra superior scripts that open applications and resize their home windows.

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I’m not knowledgeable coder, however I’ve performed round with PHP, Javascript, and Ruby, and I discovered AutoHotKey’s language to be fairly easy to choose up. You may take a look at the official AutoHotKey newbie tutorial right here, and in the event you’re new to programming, I’d suggest taking a course, like this free one on Ruby from Code Academy.

My course of for recording a software program tutorial seems to be like this:

  1. Open the software program I wish to create a tutorial for.
  2. Resize and place the window to the suitable measurement and ratio. ( I take advantage of Sizer to exactly set the dimensions of home windows.)
  3. Open OBS. (Free display screen recording software program.)
  4. File tutorial.
  5. Create a brand new mission folder.
  6. Copy & paste template video file and template YouTube thumbnail file into the mission folder.
  7. Minimize & paste ensuing screencast movies from the default location to the mission folder.

These are all steps I’d must tackle each single tutorial I created. With AutoHotKey, I can automate most of those steps. Now, I simply double-click an icon on my desktop, and that is what occurs:

  1. A window pops up asking me which program I wish to create the tutorial in. (On my different YouTube channel, I create tutorials for SketchUp and LayOut.)
  2. A second immediate lets me create a brand new mission folder for this tutorial (saved in a default folder I predetermined.).
  3. A 3rd window lets me select a mission title to make use of for the template information.
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Subsequent, the next all occurs robotically.

  • The applications I chosen open up, resize, and reposition robotically.
  • A brand new mission folder is created robotically, and a sub-folder referred to as Screencast is created inside to carry all of the screencast footage.
  • OBS opens robotically and docks on the best aspect of my second monitor.
  • The default output folder for OBS is robotically modified to the newly created mission’s Screencast folder.
  • My video template file and YouTube thumbnail file are robotically copied into the mission folder and are renamed in line with the mission title I selected beforehand.
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SketchUp opens and scales to the precise measurement and place I want, then OBS opens, configures its output folder then docks to the best aspect of my 2nd monitor.

All of this occurs inside seconds. And as soon as I’m executed recording, the file is robotically saved within the mission folder.

Not solely was I capable of save time over doing all this manually, however I used to be in a position so as to add much more worth by robotically altering the default output folder from OBS so the movies are robotically positioned within the acceptable folder.

Hey Matt! Why don’t you file tutorials full display screen? Many individuals watch YouTube on their cellphone, so if I recorded in full display screen, the icons and cursor could be too small. As an alternative, I discovered that if I file a window at 2560×1440, it’s compromise in measurement. The screencast in the end will get scaled all the way down to 1920×1080 within the last video.

create a script in AutoHotKey

After downloading and putting in AutoHotKey, it’s a bit of bizarre as a result of it’s not like a program that you simply open and create scripts in. As an alternative, you’re truly putting in the scripting language onto your pc, and also you simply use a notepad app like Notepad++ to create new scripts. So long as you save the file with the .ahk extension, you’ll then be capable of open the file to run the script.

Many instances, .ahk scripts run silently within the background, awaiting sure situations earlier than executing an motion. Possibly you need one thing to set off whenever you press a sure key mixture, or when a sure program opens.

For instance, contemplate the next AutoHotKey script:

^d::
Ship This will likely be typed
return

^d:: The primary line is a hotkey. ^ means the CTRL key, and d is the letter d. If you press this hotkey, the script will proceed. In any other case, the script simply patiently sits within the background till the hotkey is pressed.

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Ship This will likely be typed The second line begins with the Ship command, which can ship keystrokes. No matter comes after is what will likely be typed.

return Stops the code from going any additional.

So if this script was working, and also you had notepad open and also you pressed CTRL + d, you’d see this:

Discovering Instructions

So how did I do know in regards to the Ship command, and the way did I do know that the phrases typed after the comma could be despatched?

Within the documentation web site for AutoHotKey, it exhibits you all of the out there instructions and how you can use them. Listed below are some examples:

Ship

Sends simulated keystrokes and mouse clicks to the energetic window.

InputBox

Exhibits an enter field for the consumer to enter some textual content. The textual content will get saved in a variable that you need to use later in your code. You can even present optionally available parameters like a title, immediate, width, peak, place, and extra.

WinMove

Modifications the dimensions and/or place of a window.

FileCreateDir

Create a brand new folder in your arduous drive.

For the precise script I created for my tutorial workflow, I used GUI (which stands for Graphic Person Interface) to create a popup window so I can choose the applications I wish to open. FileSelectFolder was used to pick a folder. FileCopy copied my template information and pasted them within the new mission folder. I then used WinActivate to pick the varied program home windows and WinMove to resize and place them the place I want them.

It undoubtedly takes a while to develop into conversant in all of the completely different instructions at your disposal, however in the event you get caught, you may normally discover what you want with a fast Google search.

For instance, I used to be attempting to determine how you can ship the present 12 months.

So I Googled “AutoHotKey current date” and located a discussion board submit that talked about A_YYYY, A_MM, A_DD, and A_Now variables.

Again on the AutoHotKey web site, I then used the search operate to seek for A_YYYY and found that there are a ton of built-in variables you can name on in your code to insert dynamic values. A_YYYY is the present 4-digit 12 months. So if I used that variable, its worth could be 2020.

So combining a Google search with the search operate on AutoHotKey’s web site is an effective way to be taught as you go.

If you happen to’re actually going to dive into AutoHotKey, there are some code editors specifically made for AutoHotKey that may make your life rather a lot simpler. I like to recommend downloading SciTE4AutoHotkey, as a result of it gives syntax highlighting, autocomplete, AutoHotkey assist integration, and an easy-to-use GUI builder.

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Simpler Options

If you happen to discover AutoHotKey to be overwhelming or too sophisticated, there are another choices I’ve used previously that work nicely too. These aren’t as highly effective as AutoHotKey, however are a lot simpler to make use of in the event you’re not good with programming.

Phrase Categorical is like your individual private AutoCorrect engine. You may create customized keyboard shortcuts that robotically autocorrect to no matter you need. You are able to do this with AutoHotKey, however Phrase Categorical is a bit of simpler to arrange.

Listed below are a number of the shortcuts I’ve been utilizing with Phrase Categorical:

In the present day’s Date

#da is the shortcode I take advantage of for right this moment’s date. I simply have to kind these three letters, and the textual content will magically appropriate to right this moment’s date, on this case 4/24/20.

Emblem Colour

mso is the shortcode I take advantage of to stick my brand colour RGB code. There are such a lot of completely different instruments I take advantage of in my enterprise and I’m consistently having to pick my brand colour, so it doesn’t matter what instrument I’m in, I can simply kind these three letters, and it’ll autocorrect to my RGB code.

Customized signature

I even have a customized e-mail signature set as much as a shortcode, after I’m sending out extra private emails. I’ve additionally used Phrase Categorical to arrange canned responses for generally requested questions from my viewers. You don’t must all the time use keyboard shortcuts too, you may merely choose the canned responses from the taskbar.

Macro Recorder $49.95 is one other program made by the identical firm, however this one can file your mouse and keyboard, and replay these actions as many instances as you need. It’s not as highly effective as AutoHotKey, but it surely’s extra accessible to individuals who don’t know how you can code.

Assets

AutoHotKey

Free, open-source scripting language for automating pc duties. From easy autocorrect or customized keyboard shortcuts, to complicated logical operations, AutoHotKey can do it.

AutoHotKey Homepage

AutoHotKey Documentation

Newbie Tutorial

r/AutoHotKey Subreddit stuffed with useful people and a ton of data and assets for studying AutoHotKey.

SciTE4AutoHotkey – Customized AutoHotKey script Editor

Phrase Categorical

Phrase Categorical is sort of a customized autocorrect utility and is de facto useful for creating customized keyboard shortcuts for generally used phrases or phrases.

Macro Recorder

Macro Recorder is a really user-friendly automation instrument. File mouse clicks and keyboard enter, then replay these macros to automate repetitive duties.

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