Autokey vs Autohotkey are the Top Automate Scripting Tools

Top Automate Scripting Tools: AutoHotKey, AutoKey and Actions

From a casual user to a IT professional, everyone wishes to be as productive as possible when using a computer. When it comes to computer tasks, repeating multiple times does make users faster but might not result in large productivity gains. Some software tools could provide a huge boost to productivity, and making our lives easier along the way.

Automation Tools

As the name suggests, an automation tool is a software that automatically performs tasks which are often performed by the user. It can save and energy especially for those repetitive and tedious tasks, which you have to perform almost every day or every time you login to your computer . They all work almost similarly: you have to write a script that does set of actions and then open it under the automation software. Depending upon the tool, writing these scripts might not be easy, especially if you are not that into programming, but there are several tutorials and lessons spread across the web to help you. Nowadays there are several of these tools available, which are simpler and you can develop basic automation without much programming knowledge. This article explains covers three tools across three different operating systems.


Windows: AutoHotkey

AutoHotkey is one of the several automation tools available for Windows. It is the richest in terms of features. It can work with scripts, and also it has a built-in macro recorder, which makes writing automatic scripts much simpler. As the name suggests, one of the biggest features is the use of hotkeys – «virtually, any key, button or combination can become a hotkey». It has other interesting features such as “abbreviation expanding”, in which you can define abbreviations that, when typed, result in complete phrases or text blocks; for example, typing “btw” could automatically produce “by the way”. AutoHotkey can also remap keys and/or buttons in your keyboard. Any script can be converted in an .exe file that can be run on computers not running the program. AutoHotkey is free to download.


Linux: AutoKey

AutoKey is an automation tool available for you. For the users running any Linux distros, AutoKey is developed for Linux and X11 only and it works similarly to AutoHotkey. It has a Python scripting engine, which is useful for everyone familiar with this language.

AutoKey is also free of charge, available for download in the project’s homepage.

Mac: Action(s)

For the Apple fans, Action(s) is a tool that provides similar features and functions. However, its workflow is a bit simpler, based on tasks defined by default – while making the program simple to work with, this also represents a bit of a limitation, making it hard to achieve more complex tasks. Fortunately, there are some action packs available for download which cover for these limitations. Action(s) is also available for Windows, and it does not require any installation at all: it initiates from a Java applet which can be found within the tool’s website.

Author: Diogo Costa