Intro to AutoHotkey / Windows Desktop Automation (RPA)
4.3 (198 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
3,109 students enrolled

Intro to AutoHotkey / Windows Desktop Automation (RPA)

Take your first step in learning how to Automate your Windows PC with AutoHotkey!
4.3 (198 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
3,109 students enrolled
Created by Joe Glines
Last updated 8/2019
English [Auto]
Current price: $23.99 Original price: $34.99 Discount: 31% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 5 hours on-demand video
  • 13 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Basics of Installing and using AutoHotkey to Automate their Windows PC
  • Desktop Automation / Robotics Process Automation
  • How to Automate tasks on their Windows computers
  • Have a Windows PC running XP, Win 7, Win 8 or Win 10
  • Have a mundane task
  • The desire to work smarter, not harder

In this course we learn about Desktop Automation & Robotics Process Automation (RPA).  We take our first steps learning how to program in AutoHotkey.  This course is for non-programmers that want to learn how to use this free (open source) tool!

Robotics Process Automation is a BOOMING field.  Most other tools cost $10,000 plus per licence while AutoHotkey is free!

This course covers the basics and is designed for non-programmers wanting to automate the mundane!

Who this course is for:
  • Windows / PC users
  • People that want to work Smarter, not Harder
  • Desire to learn Desktop Automation / Robotics Process Automation
  • Willing to invest some time up-front to save time and $ later
  • Business owners that don't want to spend tens-of-thousands of dollars on better-known (but less powerful) Robotics Process Automation software
Course content
Expand all 38 lectures 05:01:57
+ Introduction and Overview
6 lectures 22:45

Short overview of who I am, my background with Desktop Automation & AutoHotkey

Preview 01:01

Image showing the Automation Continuum.  Robotics Process Automation (RPA) is an amazing field that is growing like crazy!  In this lecture I discuss how AutoHotkey fits into the enormous Automation industry.

Preview 02:48

In this session I talk to things that you can automate with AutoHotkey.  In truth, there is little that cannot, with enough effort, be automated.  Having said that, I touch on the "big ideas" that can save a ton of time.

Preview 04:00

In this session I walk through installing the Unicode 32-bit version of AutoHotkey

Preview 03:15

This session walks through installing AHK Studio.

In this course I utilize the excellent AHK Studio by Maestrith. It's written in AutoHotkey and is for AutoHotkey.  You can download it here:

I've created over 30 tutorials how to is it which you can see here: 

I also discuss SciTE which is an excellent editor for AutoHotkey.  Get the program here:  and watch tutorials I've done for customizing it here:

AutoHotkey and Notepadd++ which is equally strong which you can get here:

Preview 05:18

Review of Section 1- Intro and Overview

Intro and Overview
5 questions
+ Setting-up AutoHotkey
2 lectures 10:57

Having my taskbar on the right side confuses some people but, trust me, it will make you more efficient and helps see more of your screen.  You'll hate it the first couple of days but, after that, you'll love the change!

My crazy Taskbar on the right

Finally we start working on your first AutoHotkey script!  :)

AutoHotkey Basics- Your first script

Setting up AHK & your first script

Section 2 Quiz
3 questions
+ Critical Concepts
4 lectures 14:55

Before covering too much in programming, there are some important concepts to cover.  To start, should you put all of your code in 1 script, or should you put them in multiple?  Sadly there is no clear answer however I discuss some of the logic as to why you would choose one over the other.

Multiple vs. Single Scripts

There are three types of code that get "executed" in AutoHotkey.  Directives (which are like settings) and Commands and functions.  This session discusses some of the differences between them.

Directives, Commands, and Functions

Having problems with your code only working in a specific area?  Then you better study-up on the Auto-Execute section.  (Basically the top of a script until it runs into a Hotstring, Hotkey, Return, or Label.)

While you may never have issues with this, it can be very confusing when you're first working with AutoHotkey if you have the error but don't understand why.

Auto-Execute Section
Referencing Variables

Critical concepts to understand before diving in too deep

Section 3: Critical Concepts
4 questions
+ Powerful Built-in Tools
6 lectures 01:01:22

HotStrings are an AMAZING tool built into AutoHotkey!  So amazing my colleague and I (Jackie Sztuk) have a Udemy course on them!  In this session I touch on the basics and how powerful they can be.


HotKeys are a great way to "trigger" your script and/or launch a program.  They're very, very easy to get the hang of and are super flexible and quick to implement.


One of the things I love about AutoHotkey is that I can adjust the computer to work the way I think. In this session I show how you can remap keys to what you desire.

Remapping Keys

AutoHotkey has some wonderful built-in tools! Being able to easily select a file/folder is one of them!

Choosing Files & Folders

Being able to automate clicking a button / GUI / window with the mouse is really, really powerful!  Build your own popup blocker!

Mouse Clicks

We've covered quite a bit of topics at this point.  I wanted to have a working session combining some of what we've learned so, in this session, I work through various tasks.

Working Session Overview of what has already been covered

Quiz covering Section 4 - Powerful built-in tools

Section 4- Powerful built-in tools
5 questions
+ Basic Programming
4 lectures 27:15

Utilizing Variables is really helpful and simple in AutoHotkey.  In this session we show how to assign values to a variable. Do some basic math as well as append more text.

Assigning Values to Variables

As with any programming language, using logic is a core functionality.   I cover the basics of using some of the most common elevators.

Evaluating Conditions

Tooltips and Splashing text is both fun and useful.  Great way to communicate with yourself or with others using your scripts.  Notifying people what your script is doing is very helpful and can avoid misuse.

Tooltips and SplashText
Go Subs / Subroutines

Section 5 Quiz- Basic programming

Quiz for Section 5: Basic Programming
4 questions
+ Functions
4 lectures 22:25

Functions are "the bomb"!   If I could get you to spend more time anywhere, it would be in fully working with Functions.  They're super powerful and can really simplify your programming and help make your code much more manageable.

Function Parameters

Understanding scope in functions is critical to adapting & using them.  Pay close attention here and I guarantee you will save yourself hours of frustration later.


Being able to return a value from a function is super easy and really cool!

Returning a Value

It's super convenient to be able to set default values for some of your parameters in your custom functions!

Defining Default Values for Parameters

Quiz on Section 6: Functions

Section 6: Functions
4 questions
+ Frequently Used
6 lectures 01:00:05

Using Includes and Libraries is a great way to keep your code clean and organized.   It is also critical to understand how/when to use them and where AutoHotkey will automatically look for functions.

Includes and Libraries

AutoHotkey has a ton of built-in variables (many of which I cover later) but I wanted to point out a few here which help working with the next topic of Writing and Reading text files

Script and Windows Paths

Being able to read and write text files is super helpful!  AutoHotkey has several built-in ways for doing this but in this session we cover the basics.

Writing and Reading Text files

Being able to (easily) move / copy files is an amazing functionality.  AutoHotkey has some great built-in tools for copying, moving, deleting files and folders.

Manipulating Files and Folders

It truly is amazing how often editing & manipulating text comes up!  AutoHotkey has some super-useful functions and commands for manipulating text!

Working with Text

As promised, AutoHotkey has an amazing amount of built-in variables.  In this session I walk through some of the most commonly used ones. 

Built-in Variables

Quiz on Section 7: Frequently used

Section 7 Quiz- Frequently
7 questions
+ Working with Programs / GUI Windows
4 lectures 27:21

I often think of AutoHotkey as the "Swiss Army Knife" for windows!   This section covers many of the cool ways you can interact with other programs.  (There are a bunch more but too many to cover in this course). 

Activating Windows

This session shows how to easily determine if a Window exists, and activating it.

Window Existance and Activation

Being able to manipulate other programs is awesome!  Want to always have a specific program / Window in a certain spot, you can do that with AutoHotkey!

Moving, Hiding, and Showing Windows

A ton of programs have a "status bar" which helps you understand the status of that program.  In this session we walk through how to connect to it and get information.

Setting and Getting Info plus Statusbar

Section 8 Quiz: Working with programs  / GUI windows

Section 8 Quiz: Working with programs / GUI windows
6 questions
+ Troubleshooting and Wrap-up
2 lectures 54:52

What do do when things go wrong... Where to start?   I give some advice on where to start, what might go wrong and how to get help

Troubleshooting and Wrap-up

Quiz for Section 9:  Troubleshooting and Wrap-up

Quiz for Section 9: Troubleshooting and Wrap-up
6 questions
Final Wrap up