IT Poetry


Loose the task bar
November 18, 2007, 4:24 pm
Filed under: Productivity

Lets build on our work so far with shortcuts in the path, by adding shortcuts to the keyboard. (Like the ones that come with “multimedia keyboards” but more powerful)

The idea is to make all your commonly used programs available as keyboard shortcuts, so that you can switch between them without using alt-tab. The programs will even be started for you if they aren’t runing. This will save time and add predictability. You will also get the benefit of being able to start dragging an object, pressing the application shortcut then drop the object into the application that magically appeared as you dragged the object! (It’s no longer really a drag, but a pin, hover, focus new application, drop)

The method I use and recommends builds on the excellent tool, AutoHotkey (windows scripting freeware).

  1. Download and install AutoHotkey,
  2. AutoHotkey will be installed with a default script that you can edit. (If you’re ambitious, you can modify the autorun link to run a script in your documents folder)
  3. Start your script with the following line:
    SetTitleMatchMode 2
  4. For each application that you commonly use, decide on a shortcut and enter code following this template.
  5. The titles will have to be customized according to the language of your windows installation.

#n::
IfWinExist Untitled - Notepad
     WinActivate
else
     Run Notepad
return

This script will make sure you have an unsaved notepad document whenever you press [Windows]+N.
This says, when pressing the [Windows]+N keys, activate a window called ‘Untitled – Notepad’ if it exists. Otherwise run the Notepad application which is available on the path.

Since I have a link to Microsoft Outlook in my c:\path directory I can get to my inboxy by typing [Windows]+M


#m::
IfWinExist Microsoft Outlook
     WinActivate
else
     Run outlook
return

And I get my browser by typing [Windows]+I

#i::
IfWinExist Mozilla Firefox
     WinActivate
else
     ;assumes that ff is a shortcut on the path pointing to firefox.
     Run ff
return

Autohotkey is an excellent free scripting tool, also featured in lifehacker.com and lifehack.org.
Many other resources on Google.

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