Windows users have long had the ability to use AutoHotkey (ahk), a feature that allows users to set up a series of commands that trigger when a few keystrokes are made. It's an excellent feature for those who end up triggering the same set of commands routinely but don't want to jump through the same hoops.
Mac users have something similar. There are macros for macOS available in the Automator app that lets you build and run your own ahk scripts. But Automator is difficult for many to use. Depending on your needs, third-party apps may allow you to create script on Mac devices with more ease, or create a macro on a Mac inside an app you use most often. AutoHotkey scripts on macOS may not be native, but they're attainable with a few great apps. We'll show you how.
Is there an AutoHotkey for Mac?
In short, no, there is no ahk for Mac. That doesn't mean you can't replicate the experience, though. Here are a few great apps that can get you AutoHotkey scripting features on your Mac:
- BetterTouchTool. Not only can you create macros for use on Mac, BetterTouchTool supports trackpad and mouse gestures, and allows for remote triggering of macros via iPad, iPhone, Apple TV remote, or Siri! You can even control which apps your shortcuts will and won't work in, and the app lets you create expanded AutoHotkey shortcuts on Mac for a faster workflow. This is even better than ahk for Mac because you can use every input method you like, not just the keyboard.
- Almighty. While Almighty may not take a direct approach to scripting macros, it does allow for a deep level of customization to improve your workflow. You can manage your Mac's Dock to only show active apps, and control system settings like keyboard input, screen savers, dark mode, and scheduled shutdowns with more granularity. Almighty also lets you find hidden files in finder and access your most-used tools in the menu bar.
- TeaCode. If you're adept at writing code and want to create a few shortcuts, TeaCode may be the app you're looking for. It's a minimal, straightforward IDE for creating code snippets for use anywhere. There's even an auto completion feature for code snippets so you can create faster and worry about errors less often. It plugs into Atom, Visual Studio Code, JetBrains, and Sublime Text.
- If you think like a developer while typing, there's a free app named Espanso that might be exactly what you're looking for. It relies on colon-based shortcuts that are customizable. Instead of typing the date, you can use a shortcut like ":date" and Espanso will add the correct date for you! There are downloadable packages of shortcuts for Espanso, and you can use shell or scripting commands if you need more power behind your shortcuts.
- And don't forget Automator! Your Mac has a powerful scripting engine built right into macOS. Just be aware Automator may be a bit confusing for new users, so don't be shy about searching the web for tutorials on how to use Automator!
Bringing AutoHotkey shortcuts to Mac
You can do just about anything with ahk scripts. Simplify and speed up a workflow, add blocks of text with a few keystrokes, or open/close apps with a command. In the example below we created a script in Keysmith to open an app. To record scripts with Keysmith, you don’t have to deal with Automator’s complexity — you can just open Keysmith and have it record what you’re doing, then assign a shortcut. The example below is very simple but you can as well use Keysmith to open multiple apps and run different multi-step actions.
Lacona is another replacement for AutoHotkey, which doesn’t require any scripting. It allows for a more natural way to search your Mac and perform routine functions. If you find yourself wanting to start a call, send a text, or find a file on your Mac, Lacona search uses natural language to make the entire process simple. Just type your request using natural language and Lacona will get you started on the right path. It’s kind of like Siri, just without voice.
So what’s better than AutoHotkey?
There may not be an "official" AutoHotkey app for Mac, but that doesn't mean you can't utilize shortcuts and macros! With a few great apps, you'll be able to perform tons of functions you may not have recognized were possible. In fact, these apps expand on the capabilities of AutoHotkey and do an even better job.
Rocket Typist, Lacona, Keysmith, BetterTouchTool, and Almighty will help you set up and run quick actions so you can do your work faster — without using any complicated scripts. Espanso and TeaCode are terrific time boosters for developers. Each have specific ways to improve your workflow with macros and shortcuts. If you need a bit more power and you’re acquainted with scripting, Automator might be a great option, too!
You'll also love that Lacona, Rocket Typist, Keysmith, BetterTouchTool, TeaCode, and Almighty are free to use for seven days with Setapp, a productivity platform that brings together 200+ incredible Mac and iPhone apps all geared toward improving your workflow. When your trial ends, continued access to the 200-plus apps in the Setapp suite is only $9.99 per month. It's a phenomenal deal you don't need a macro for, so don't hesitate – download Setapp now!