Using Dropbox with Autohotkey to write faster and better

I've talked about AutoHotKey here before, in a blog post about how to write faster. To re-cap, AutoHotKey is a program that will auto-expand small snippets of text into full words. The AutoCorrect function in MS Word does this as well, but once AutoHotKey is up and running, your text expansion works in every program you run: Scrivener, yWriter, web browser comment boxes, MS Word, e.mail programs, spreadsheets, whatever.

So where does Dropbox come in?

I've got two AutoHotKey scripts running on all of the various computers I use. They are in the Dropbox root folder, and I have them both set up to run as part of the Startup for each. One of the scripts has all the me-specific entries: like typing "tg" and having it expand to "the Grammarian", or typing "tnll" and having it expand to "http://www.TonyNoland.com". Saves lots of time for any frequently used word or phrase.

The other script is one I downloaded from the AutoHotKey site. It corrects spelling and capitalization on-the-fly, based on 45,000 commonly misspelled English words. Whatever program I'm using, wherever I'm typing, (like when I just tried to type "whereever"), AutoHotKey is there to make me look good.

Whenever I add a phrase to be expanded, or fine-tune the spelling correction, that change goes into the scripts and propagates across to my other Dropbox-enabled computers.

Writing faster and better was never so easy.

UPDATE: A comment below asked where you can get the AutoCorrect script. It's right here. Once you go to that page, click "Save As..." and it will save as AutoCorrect.ahk, which is the text format for an AutoHotKey script. Load it using AutoHotKey, and you are good to go.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

7 comments:

  1. This is a really interesting post! Thanks for explaining AutoHotKeys -- I'm off to follow the links you provided to learn more. Much appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you found it useful, Nicole!

      Delete
  2. Does it change stuff you don't want changed?
    I have auto correct on one of my writing programs and I always wind up turning it off because it's forever changing words I want left alone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can go in and tweak the settings so that it only changes stuff you want, when you want it changed. For example, if you wanted your name to be expanded to "Cathy Olliffe-Webster" every time you typed "COW" (your initials) but not "cow" (the bovine), you can tell it to expand the text only when COW is in caps, or when you type C.O.W. Plus, you can tell it to ignore "cow" it if it's in the middle of a word, like coward.

      If you find that something is being changed that you don't want changed, you can fine-tune that correction or just remove it completely.

      There is a bit of a tweaking process to get it set up exactly right, but it doesn't take as long as you might think.

      Delete
    2. Why thank you, kind sir! Those are unfortunate initials, aren't they? :)

      Delete
  3. Where can I find the auto spelling script ?

    Please give us the link to it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's right here: http://www.autohotkey.com/download/AutoCorrect.ahk

      Delete

Thank you for leaving a comment. The staff at Landless will treat it with the same care that we would bestow on a newly hatched chick. By the way, no pressure or anything, but have you ever considered subscribing to Landless via RSS?