Automating actions on Windows — my first steps with AutoIt

Lucas Jellema
8 min readJan 27, 2021

I recently spent quite some time on getting to know Playwright — a great tool for automating virtually any operation performed in a browser. Playwright is great for automating testing web applications as well as for screen scraping (for data), tactical integration, RPA, prototyping and even customizing third party applications for my personal use. I am now looking to extend my NodeJS/Playwright programs — that execute in the context of browser based applications — with a complementary tool for automating tasks on Windows.

One thing I would like to be able to do is schedule my NodeJS/Playwright applications to be executed periodically, automatically. I have learned about Windows Task Scheduler that can be used for this. Another thing I want to be able to do is take automated control of Windows Applications. I cannot or do not want to program all actions in NodeJS. I want to be able to make automated use of the tools I use on Windows myself. To for example automate editing Powerpoint sides, Word documents or Video files.

I learned about AutoIt. An automation tool for Windows GUI interactions. AutoHotKey is another option, a fork from AutoIt with better support for “hot keys” (or short cuts). UI.Vision (fka Kantu) is another option. I decided to first give AutoIt a try.

Download and Install AutoIt

From this site, you can download AutoIt with a single installer . The second download option is for an extended editor for AutoIt scripts. I have not yet worked with that editor.

The downloaded file is an .exe file

that can be run to perform the installation using a simple next-next-finish wizard:

After installation, these options are available:

On the file system, a directory with examples has been installed:

These scripts are ready to run. They also provide clear, concrete examples of what the AutoIt scripts look like.

Lucas Jellema

Lucas Jellema is CTO and IT architect at Conclusion, The Netherlands. He is Oracle ACE Director, one time JavaOne Rockstar and programmer