Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Random Thoughts: Desktop Efficiency for Windows

Customize your desktop with these free tools to become most efficient

  1. autohotkey
  2. launchy
  3. divvy win-split-revolution (divvy is not free)
  4. .bat files (for windows)
These programs allow you to avoid having to use the mouse/move your hand position and to be able to bring up files/foldes or run commands in less keystrokes)

Autohotkey: map keystrokes to different keystrokes or call different programs (eg: Ctrl+Shift+N to call new word doc). One huge functionality is mapping keystrokes to navigation commands so that you don't need to move your hand away from the keyboard. eg: vi (an editor) maps H -> left,  J -> down, K -> up, and L -> right when it is in navigation  mode:

Now you can have that across your whole desktop.

Launchy: start programs/open folders by typing in their names from launchy (brought up by alt-space) instead of searching for it in the start menu. 
Macs already have a similar program included

Divvy Win-split: customized tiling of windows. for example, when I am at my office, my middle screen usually looks like this: web browser taking up ~2/3 width and some space at the bottom (because of the bb launchpad widget)
Divvy Win-split lets me automatically size the browser this way. I wish there was a way to size multiple tabs at once though (eg: put 4 windows into the 4 quarters of the screen)- but that's going to be really complicated (because computer doesn't know what to choose after the active screen)

.bat files: requires some minimal understanding of commandline. Basically write small scripts to let you do whatever you want. You can then use launchy/autohotkey to call these scripts.


  1. While on the subject of desktop efficiency/convenience, once thing that I wish I had was something that remembered which programs were open and where their windows were so that when I restart my computer, they all restart in the correct place. Mac OSX has this, but I have yet to find something similar on Windows or Linux.

  2. hm. yeah i actually wish i could specify an application/exe to open in this exact size/location every single time. don't think that's available right?