Quick Tip: Use AutoHotKey To Disable Your Touch Pad While Typing

Call it laziness, call it fat hands, call it bad posture, call it whatever you want. I’ve found on my latest laptop that the touch pad is either placed in an inconvenient spot, or perhaps it’s just more sensitive than my last laptop. Whatever the case, I’ve run into the trouble of the mouse jumping while I’m in the middle of typing; it’s particularly frustrating whilst blogging. Through the magic of AutoHotKey you can make the problem disappear!

I was browsing for possible fixes to this problem and stumbled across an old article on Lifehacker with this solution. I’ve now been using it for a couple weeks and it’s completely solved my problem. Before I get started with the quick how to, be sure to check your synaptics driver, it may have an option to disable the cursor while you type already built in. Go check real quick and then join me after the jump for the details.

Mmmk, you checked your synaptics driver, right? No go on the quick and easy fix? Alright, let’s jump into the wonderful world that is AutoHotKey. Using this program, you can… well, do anything. This is the quick intro you’ll get on their website:

AutoHotkey is a free, open-source utility for Windows. With it, you can:

  • Automate almost anything by sending keystrokes and mouse clicks. You can write a mouse or keyboard macro by hand or use the macro recorder.
  • Create hotkeys for keyboard, joystick, and mouse. Virtually any key, button, or combination can become a hotkey.
  • Expand abbreviations as you type them. For example, typing “btw” can automatically produce “by the way”.
  • Create custom data-entry forms, user interfaces, and menu bars. See GUI for details.
  • Remap keys and buttons on your keyboard, joystick, and mouse.
  • Respond to signals from hand-held remote controls via the WinLIRC client script.
  • Run existing AutoIt v2 scripts and enhance them with new capabilities.
  • Convert any script into an EXE file that can be run on computers that don’t have AutoHotkey installed.

Getting started might be easier than you think. Check out the quick-start tutorial.

Sounds fun, right? With a little knowledge of code you can whip out your own scripts in a hurry, or if you’re like me and aren’t quite confident enough to venture down that path, you can find tons of pre-made scripts all over the internet. Head over to their download page to install the program and get started.

Once you’ve finished installing the program, you can right-click anywhere and you’ll  have a new option in your menu to create a new AutoHotKey Script.

When you create a new AutoHotKey script, a file shows up named ‘New AutoHotkey Script’. This is an .ahk file, any file you try to use with AutoHotKey will have to be this type of file. Name this script whatever you’d like to help you remember it. After naming the file, right click on it and select Edit Script:

Once you have the script opened to edit, you can begin adding whatever code necessary to do what you are aiming to achieve. Or, in my case, you copy and paste the code to do what you are trying to achieve, and then be thankful for people out there that are smarter than you.

You can put your AutoHotKey (AHK) scripts anywhere you’d like. I created a folder for all my AHK scripts, so I know where to look if I ever want to modify any of them. Once you’ve installed a script, don’t forget to add it to your startup, so that you always have it working for you as soon as you sit down at your computer.

That should be all you need! As always, comment (so you can get yourself entered into our contest to win an iTunes gift card!) or hit me up on twitter if you have any questions. Oh, and here’s the link to the script I used to disable my touch pad while typing: click here. And if you are just finding out about AutoHotKey, here’s a great sample of other scripts. Also, Lifehacker recently posted the Best Time-Saving AutoHotKey tricks you should be using, you might want to give that article a browse.

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Dave Sack

has been tasked with the great responsibility of covering all things entertainment related. His career is a quest of epic proportions. What that quest is ultimately leading toward is a mystery to us all. His family (wife & son), football, coaching, movies, and video games take up most of his time.


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