Scenario: You regularly use multiple websites or programs that have common text fields, e.g., first name, last name, address, email. You may be filling out online applications with your personal information or populating people search and social media sites with someone else’s.
Problem: Typing the same information is redundant and time-consuming. It can also be hard to remember someone else’s info between websites and programs.
Solution: Use Auto Hot Key (AHK) scripting and your numeric pad to automate multi-keystroke phrase insertion.
After hitting Google hard for a solution I found Auto Hot Key windows scripting.
The first step was to download AHK from AutoHotKey.com. Its official site has an excellent tutorial/ user manual and community forum that mitigates the learning curve and allows you to learn the basics of its coding structure in an hour or so.
Before coding, I decided on a key scheme. The numeric keypad (USB type if you’re a laptop user) was a great spot to plant these functions, as I normally use the number keys on the QWERTY keyboard for numeric input. Toggling the numlock key on the pad allows me to access twenty-seven single-key phrases using only seventeen physical keys.
Mock-up created using my PowerPoint skills-
Numpad key scheme applied with adhesive printer paper-
(The text in the green half of the label is input when “numlock” is active, text in the black half when it’s inactive; the keys with slanted text on both halves are single function and are consistent regardless of numlock status.)
Next, I applied the key-scheme to their respective AHK files. The “NumPad Target” file text was coded to insert a target’s info with numlocked keystrokes. The “NumPad General” file text was coded to insert my personal information with regular keystrokes.
(You need only edit the script with the target’s information once; after that, it’s only a keystroke away from insertion)
Having several AHK files, each designated to an individual target, means that you can switch between inputting any number of targets simply by exiting the current target’s script and running another’s.
Valuing visual representation, like I do, I crafted a desktop wallpaper to keep track of which of my script files are currently active.
A few hours of research and coding led to the creation of a system that allows for one-handed field population.
(This example shows 7 keystrokes creating 62 keystroke actions in 6 seconds)
Hope you enjoyed exploring this process as much as I did. Feel free to email me with any questions or suggestions.