An easier way to take notes

with AutoHotkey

by Denis Lamarre
last updated Oct 25, 2018
difficulty.png intermediate

by Denis Lamarre


Taking notes with a computer file can keep you from cluttering up your desk with post-it notes and pens, but accessing note files on your computer can disrupt your workflow. Not only do you have to minimize your active window, you have to find the note file and open it; once you are done with it, getting back to your application can also be a disruption.

This script quickly brings an existing note file to the forefront of the desktop, allowing the user to type or read whatever they need and then continue working where they left off with minimum disruption. Workflow does not suffer, and concentration can be maintained.

A bonus feature of this script is that you do not need to think about whether the note file is open or not. If the file is open, it will bring it to the forefront. The shortcut will not open another copy of the same file (which could result in the loss of some information, if two concurrent versions of the file were edited at the same time).



stencil-v4-todo.gifPrepare your overlay
Choose an unassigned key on the Enterpad where you will assign the shortcut. Name it something appropriate, like "TODO".


Create your note file
Create a “todo.txt” file with Notepad and save it to the same folder where your AutoHotkey script template is located.


Code installation
Copy and paste the following script in the AutoHotkey script template (Enterpad.ahk) at the location of the key you wish to assign.

IfWinNotExist, todo
   Run todo.txt
WinActivate, todo

More Info

At line #3, we add the ".txt" extension while we don’t at lines #2 and #4. The reason is simple: depending on your file manager settings, it is possible that Windows will not show the filename extension in the document caption bar. For this reason, using "todo" instead of "todo.txt" ensures that the script will find your already opened file.

In some very rare cases, WinActivate (or Windows) may fail to bring the "todo.txt" window to the foreground. If this happens, clicking on it in the taskbar should bring it to the foreground.