Microsoft Windows only.
TL;DR: Run AutoHotkey.exe without installing, by using the AutoHotkeyU64.exe file available in the .zip file from AutoHotkey.com. And become an AutoHotkey ninja with my 5-star ebook, Practical AutoHotkey.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: you don’t have to install AutoHotkey to reap the benefits. Further, it’s often easier to use AutoHotkey without installing it. This is a huge boon if you’re anywhere without administrator access to install software on your own computer, such as a corporate, university, government, or tight-fisted small business employer.
To take advantage of this feature of AutoHotkey:
- Navigate to the Downloads page on the AutoHotkey website: https://autohotkey.com/download/.
- Look for the text “Download AutoHotkey.zip” and click it to download the file.
- Open the .zip file you just downloaded (it should be in your Downloads folder, and have a filename like ‘AutoHotkey112301.zip’)
- Extract the zip file to your Documents folder (or whenever you want, but this is easiest).
Setup a basic script:
- Right-click this link and click ‘Save file as’ and save it to your Documents folder.
- Alternatively, open Notepad and paste the following code into it, and save it as AutoHotkey.ahk in your Documents folder:
+F5::Edit ; Shift-F5 launches the current AutoHotkey script in preferred editor, else Notepad ^F5::Reload ; Ctrl-F5 reloads the current AutoHotKey script after any edits.
Regardless of if you created your own AutoHotkey.ahk file or downloaded my starter file, open your Documents folder and double-click on AutoHotkey.exe or AutoHotkeyU64.exe, whichever one is there.
With luck, you didn’t get any error messages.
To make AutoHotkey even more useful, have it start automatically on boot:
- Open your Documents folder (or wherever your put the AutoHotkey executable) and right-click on the AutoHotkey executable and select ‘Create shortcut’.
- Press Windows key and R together.
- Type in ‘shell:startup’ in the ‘Run’ window that pops up and press Enter. This should open your startup folder.
- Drag the AutoHotkey shortcut you created in step 8.1 to the Startup folder.
- Restart your computer and make sure AutoHotkey is running after restart.
You’re now fully up and running – get started launching programs, showing and hiding windows, and more with my 5-star ebook Practical AutoHotkey or see some examples from the book.
Not in love with AutoHotkey yet? Then check out these articles:
- Quickly Insert the Current Date and/or Time with AutoHotkey
- Start expanding text to save time and save keystrokes
- See more of the benefits AutoHotkey can provide
- Already know AutoHotkey basics? Then check out my AutoHotkey reference section.
When you’re ready to edit your script file, press Shift-F5 to launch Notepad and edit your the script file you just downloaded or created and start adding your own text expansion, hotkeys and scripting!
After you’ve made some changes press Ctrl-F5 to tell AutoHotkey to re-read the script file and load your changes into memory.
And that’s just how simple it is to use the portable version of AutoHotkey; you can use it on any computer without installing!