I think the main form of automation that the average PC user should but does not use is the humble text replacement macro. I've been using Macro Express
for this purpose for many years, and I've built up a list of a few dozen text replacement macros that are now instinctive, and save me a lot of time, month in, month out.
So when I type ",jm" (without quotation marks), it's replaced with my main email address, ",ad" is replaced with my full postal address, ",es" contains positive feedback for an eBay seller, and so on. Over the years, it's been a huge time saver. Macro Express is also powerful and flexible, so for example I use "CTRL+F9" to call a NirCmd
action that powers off my monitor.
Any number of programs, including AutoHotkey
, can take care of text replacement, and most average PC users would benefit, far more than they would from more complex forms of automation.
While I applaud getting non-programmers interested in programming, automation is one area where I would just encourage people to get an appropriate existing program (there are so many), or if someone is determined to dip their toe in the programming waters, they can introduce themselves to scripting automation with Autohotkey (I did replace Macro Express with Autohotkey for a while, just to prove to myself I could get Autohotkey to do anything that Macro Express could do, but really, Macro Express just made everything much, much easier, and encouraged me to add more macros).