Automation graphic tools. Linux and deadly sins part 5

Autokey screenshot

With the Autokey automation program we can avoid entering repetitive texts such as addresses or credit card numbers or create scripts that automate tasks.

This article series has two intentions: the main one is to publicize some of the titles of the extensive collection of free and open source software. The second that serves as an excuse is how to help the worst sinners to earn their place in Hell.

I have been several articles indicating to the lazy how to foist the tasks that they do not want to do to the computer and, to tell the truth, achieving that with the tools that we have been commenting on requires, at least at first, a lot of work. That is why let's try our luck with some graphical automation tools.

Automation graphical tools

So far we have discussed tools that executed commands at pre-set times. Now we are going to talk about others that we can use at any time saving us work such as typing long texts or searching for menu options in applications.

Autokey

This tool that comes in versions for the Qt and GTK libraries allows us to create keyboard shortcuts for the functions we use most often from our favorite programs. It also gives us the possibility to associate long pieces of text with short strings.

Installation

Autokey is available in two versions:

  • autokey-gtk: Recommended for GNOME, Mate, Cinnamon and XFCE desktops.
  • autokey-qt: Ideal for KDE and LXQt.

We can search for and install them in the package manager of the main distributions.

Utilization

We can use AutoKey in two ways:

  • To create shortcuts or keywords that refer to longer texts.
  • Execution of complex tasks through scripts in python.

works with two different types of inputs. We can use simple plain text, which Autokey identifies as phrases, to create shortcuts and text snippets that will expand into longer text. We can also use it to automate complicated tasks by writing simple Python scripts.

Some samples are included to facilitate the understanding of each one. For example, if we click on Address Within the My phrases folder we can make our address appear by typing the adr abbreviation if certain conditions are met.

Creating our own phrases
  • We click on New.
  • select Phrase in the drop-down menu.
  • We choose a name for the new entry.
  • In the upper left window we write the extended text.
  • We press set on the parameter Abbreviation.
  • Click on the + sign in the lower left corner of the program.
  • We write the abbreviation and press Enter.
  • Click on OK

Additional options for abbreviations are:

  • Remove the abbreviation when it is replaced by the long text.
  • Match upper and lower case.
  • Ignore case-sensitive matches.
  • Ignore if the abbreviation is part of a word.

Instead of using abbreviations, we can assign keyboard shortcuts to long pieces of text using the following procedure.

  • We complete the text at the top.
  • En Hotkey click on Set.
  • We choose a base key between Control, Alt, Shift, Hyper, Super or Meta.
  • Click on Record a key combination.
  • Press the key or keys that will complete the combination.
  • We finish by clicking on OK.

If we only want Autokey to complete the text in a single application we do the following:

  • We press Set en WindowsFilter.
  • We open the desired application.
  • Click on Detect Windows Properties.
  • Click on the application window.
  • Click on Accept.

In all cases, when we finish the configuration we save it with Save from the File menu

Autokey sample script

Autokey contains some samples of what this powerful automation tool can do.

You will have noticed that most of the commands are in English. This is so at least in the Autokey-QT version that installs Ubuntu Studio 22.04

In the next article we will see how to automate tasks using scripts. However, there is another less complicated way to automate. We simply copy the key combinations of the keyboard shortcuts of our preferred applications plus additional instructions.


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