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Anyone can recommend a good macro recorder for windows please?

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LOL, of course mouser must have to go over the top again, eh?

Instead of recommend a single tool he points me to a whole review and ranking of 10 of them. :)

Thank you mousieeeeee, will read that.


Another user of Macro Express (Pro). Have done for years. Powerful if a little complicated for amateurs like me.

It can create "Playable Macros" albeit is .mxe rather than .exe.

Some things on macro tools:

- when then (= after the link here) I looked into, I read "published 30 min. ago", so previous posters hadn't a chance to look into that list when answering

- so either it was by pure chance, or mouser has a script running telling him whenever raymond adds a new article to his site

- just for fun: in that article, AHK was rated first, and TinyTask second, so r had come to my conclusions, too

- now back to serious: "Powerful if a little complicated for amateurs like me." - OP did NOT ask for paid sw, and not for sw where on other seats than the developer's just executables were to run, so MEP is certainly not a good solution

- but why bothering with MEP, and finding it "a little complicated", when, for NOT MORE complication than there, AHK will be much MORE powerful, for beginners, and will have become so easy for longtime users ("Have done for years.")? As I have explained in length in the AHK tutorial here, right at the very beginning, crap like MEP just brings you sweetly over the very first days, and then the need to click together it all becomes more and more cumbersome, i.e. in such crap tools, even simple things get complicated (or at the very, very best, you'll have available a scripting window, where you then will use their proprietary scripting language), which in AHK are done with some simple lines of code - and I know what I'm speaking about: For years, I had been crazy-lazy enough to click together macros with such a crap tool (= lots of unnecessary work, little solutions), instead of investing one Sunday into the basics of AHK... well, my aforementioned tutorial hadn't been there, so those very first steps did neither seem easy, nor did they seem evident to begin with. Now, nobody ever asked for clarification/help with that tutorial, out of 5,000 readers or more, and I'm sure MEP sales will not have suffered by a iota: This world's a really crazy one!

- This being said, OP did not ask for a scripting thing, but just for simple key logging-and-replay, but without a price (MEP is a staggering 60$ per seat) and multiple licence issues, so I, then mouser answered accordingly

- But people who know my AHK intro, and then go and buy crap like MEP, must be considered to be plain nuts. Again, this is not your case ("Have done it for years.")... but to you my other remark over there applies: Once you will have clicked together lots of macros, it'll become more and more difficult to leave such tools... MEP's a good-looking trap... but ain't most traps rather good-looking then? Also, the financial investment will be lost, and even when the proprietary scripts (triggered internally by all the clicking-together) are exportable: The intermediate step will be to have to learn regex replace. As we see here, there's two viable solutions, AHK and then, raymond's list; everything in-between (MEP et al.) will just retain you in some inappropriate half-way solution... and where's the text-expanding part in MEP? Right, you'll need some text expander, too, then (and which hopefully will not interfere with your macro tool, or vice versa). And speaking of retaining users in tools of which they might have grown out of, after some time:

- Just some days ago, somebody asked, on bits, if for a half-priced text expander over there, no even partial export was possible, and that question was met by some "Thank you for asking again", by the developer, and I couldn't refrain from some comment, which certainly applies to quite a bunch of those commercial macro tools of which you mentioned MEP, so it couldn't do any harm to republish my musings here:

I've read the above with much interest.

"ask the same question again", especially in combination with "misconception", is condescendancy and should be avoided here imo ( ;-) ), at least with regards to subjects of real interest.

PE is a text expander, but of the very sophisticated (and thus, expensive) kind; Phrase Expander (PhEx) is another one in that range, also with a price way over 100$ if you want to bells and whistles.

It seems that PhEx has got a very smart text expansion feature in its Prof. version, a little list for other possible replacements of what you will have typed at a given time, and which is not present (yet) in PE, and from findings in the web, it appears that some commentators judge PhEx "superior" to PE in light of that feature (and their respective experience with it, so its practical value appears to be hight); some commentators even own both programs, or more precisely say they switched from PE to PhEx for that reason.

So this is a fine example of the "need" or at least the high interest in having an import/export function for abbreviations/shortstrings, both ways, in both programs, instead of retaining the respective clientele within the original tool, for fear of too much manual work when leaving (Just imagine thousands of such abbrevs). I personally miss the experience with both programs in order to pretend to judge which one might be "better" or preferable, but I noted, with much interest, from the above, that PE "does" formatting and appears to be compatible with MS Word formatting (So what about compatibility in/out with Word shortstrings, too? And perhaps that might be/become a common transfer format, then?)

From just some light experience with PE, years ago, and from screenshots of PhEx, I can say that both programs offer partition of your abbrevs into numerous collections, but that within PhEx (today), this has been realized in a very handy way, and you can freely combine those (Imagine somebody writing in several languages, and in several areas (private mails, business, to name just the most general ones); both aspects were not realized with that quality in PE at the time (yet); see the screenshots for PhEx in this respect where this combination has been realized in clickable tree structure: very neat.

Now it's evident that beyond being a text expander, PE has become, over the years, quite a "complete solution", also for various "macroing needs", and its "macroing power" is impressive indeed; it's just that (from my testing years ago at least) PE's macroing capabilities had been realized in a quite non-traditional way, i.e. most dedicated macro tools out there let you do macros more or less in a similar way, but which is quite different from what I then saw in PE, and I clearly preferred the general way of doing macros then, not as presented by PE then.

In the meanwhile, I've become acquainted with AHK (Auto Hotkey), in which I both have scripted numerous (often quite elaborate) macros, and have been doing all my text expansion needs, together with combining (or switching between) various abbrevs collections by shortkeys (whilst menus for this would be possible, too) - I have to admit that these don't include formatting, i.e. neither my needs, nor my possibilties with AHK include those... and above, we learn that PhEx doesn't cover them either (?).

So I'm very happy with AHK and its scripting capabilities, personally, but I admit that extensive scripting might not be for everyone as they say, your mileage may vary; perhaps of interest in this respect: Trying to script with PE had been beyond my means, some years ago, whilst then, scripting in AHK has been easy and "natural" for me, but I'm sure there has been some development re "accessibility" in PE on that matter, in the meanwhile.

Now back to the "argument" (which makes more than 2/3 of the developer's post above) that PE offers so much additional functionality beyond "just text expansion" (which is undeniable, independently of the respective utility or benefit of every such "goodie" and which will depend on your respective personal preferences) that export (what about import, then?) of even just the bare, naked plain text abbrevs-plus-expansion lists would cause too many support probs.

Well, this is a false argument imho, and here's why: First, the developer could clearly communicate that export is possible, but will be confined to numerous plain-text word lists (= one text file for each abbrevs collection), e.g. in the form abbrev tab expansion newline abbrev tab expansion and so on. Second, in most cases, users WOULD THEN LEAVE, be it for PhEx, for AHK, for any other text expander, or even for dictating sw, so no further "support" would then be necessary.

Third, even continuous users of PE might feel the necessity of sharing some of their abbrevs collections with somebody who doesn't own PE but who owns a competing text expander or just MS Word (and who could not install PE free instead, because the "personal" version of PE claims " business use" even in cases where you don't do business with it, but simply address letters to other people's biz, which is the case for anybody today - at least that had been my experience with PE some years ago, and which had me quickly discard the free version then).

Here again, point 1 would apply, i.e. PE users sharing their collections with users not owning PE themselves (or just PE users who would like to use their collections on pc's they don't have an additional PE licence for!) would know beforehand that all they could export would be the bare plain text "resolutions", nothing more, and anybody would clearly understand that all those bells and whistles PE offers on top of that, would NOT be transferable on top (and even when the "receiving application" had some similar functionality), so here again, no support needed, especially if PE's export wasn't "from PE straight into competitor x" (and which possible probs on THAT side), but just to the above-described plain-text lists, from which then (current or ex-PE) users would be on their own to either import into that other tool (or as THAT tool's developer to make it possible to import such lists).

The same principle of making basic-but-robust export possible applies to so-called "outliners" (of which many are on offer regularly in this forum). Some of them make available "clones", i.e. items in the tree that can be replicated on other positions in that same tree, but all outliners offer some sort of export, whilst it's clear as day that such "clones" will NOT be exported then, but just the original items will; the same goes for cross-references and other specific strengths of some outliner or the other. (There are even some ancient askSam users who accepted to lose formatting of content, by switching to MyInfo; both progs have been often here and thus are both known to bitsters.)

So, "careless" users will use all their program will have to offer, and then either will be stuck with it, or will have to abandon parts of their work when they switch to something other, and users wary of such possible switching will just use "exportable" core functionality, refraining from using (or from "abusing") additional functionality whose loss-on-export would not be acceptable to them; in PE, this would apply to formatting of abbrev "resolutions", and it's safe to assume that users would use their PE, together with formatting, within PE, but without those, whenever they don't have PE available (anymore, or on other machines).

So, the above "support argument" falls flat, imho, and as it stands, the (real? total?) absence of export of PE abbrevs works as a hindrance to ever switching to any competition, might this effect be intentional or not.

( just for the record: )

Thus, buying some macro tool, and hoping it will "grow with your needs" is illusionary and is to be avoided, from my humble pov. Get TinyTask or similar, and for anything "real" sacrify some rainy Sunday. (And it'll be lotsa cheaper, too, just see the new update policy of the text expander in question for an example!)

Hi Peter,

thank you for you lengthy but very interesting post. There are some very good points in it.

I agree with you, that with a scripting tools like AHK you are prepared for everything, but you need programming capabilities, which is not for everyone. And i must put a grain of salt into your hymn for AHK. I agree it's a mighty and helpful thingy, but the language itself (the syntax and synopsis, which is originally based on AutoIT 2 syntax) is a desaster, a hell and a pain in the *ss. :) That made me follow AutoIt when V3 was released with a REAL programming language syntax and not followed the AHK path. I hated AutoIt 2 Syntax from the beginning, but at that times there was no alternative. So yes, AHK is mighty but not for everyone, and not for me. At least not for my premier Scripting tool which is AutoIt 3 in which i can do 99% of the things i can do in AHK too, but with a real programming approach and not a bunch of cryptic characters in a line (AHK script often remind me on some geeky perl scripts in which you can also do wonderful things in a few characters, but nobody would recognize what you are doing - often not even yourself when looking in it after a year for maintenance reasons). :)

But the macro recorder i have chosen now (but not yet showed to the hotline staff) is based on AHK anyway. Pullovers Macro recorder offers both. A click together or record your activities in realtime approach on one side and an export to an AHK script and use it as a starting point for tweaking in programming manner.

But i, for sure, will also have a look at tiny task. Now you made me curious. :)

For the topic "text expander" i must agree too. PE (which i use myself - i own a pro V10 license) is a great app. But i also must agree that the support of Bartels Media is often very rude and impolite. The customer care is not at it's best. More like "pay, go away, shut up and don't ask us dumb questions". That is shown also int that they claim to monitor every comment on BDJ before releasing it to the public because of some bad experiences in the past. What do they fear or hide? Negative posts? So what? Can't you find a negative point in every app? A wise guy said in the past: A finished, perfect and bug free application is always out of date! :)

Also the license policy of PE is a very bad thing. I was asking in the past for a discount for existing PE customers when i want to purchase another license for portable version. There was NONE at first, and after i complained i got one. But only a few bucks less than the original price. The discount was not worth to mention at all. Result was, that i rejected to purchase a second protable license. I wonder if the company of PE is able to calculate in a mercantile manner. Lets see: 1 License + 10 or 20 bucks for a second portable one is definitely more than only 1 License + nothing. But *shrug* if they want it this way, every kid should get his balloon in the color it wants. :)

It's true that PE can do more than just text replacing. But from all the macro/hotkey stuff, i must admit, i just use some forms and mail creation. For other things i use other applications. PE macros are very complicated to create (just my opinion). But the question is, if i need to pay for features i don't want and use? I.e. i recently got angry about my Amazon prime membership, when they started to include the instant video feature to it. Of course together with a price raise of 20 Euro!!!!! 20 Euro for something i'm NOT interested in, i haven't asked for and that have nothing to do with the former intent to get your orders that you place at amazon faster and without handling and shipping costs (which i really like and find the service superior). But i'm not a video streamer, i cannot use the service on my android device. What the heck is the idea behind to include a video streaming feature to an order-delivery-premium service subscription (beside to get more money from the customers). I really think about to quit my membership...but would miss the permier delivery service. And there is no subscription available with only the old features for a lowere price. :( Same with PE, do i really need a hotkey/macro feature in a text utility like it is implemented in PE? I wonder when PE will start having a musicplayer or a cook-coffee function being implemented. :(

Again, thank you for pointing me to Phrase Expander. I'd have a look at this too and maybe my next purchase, if my PE V10 license ends, is NOT at Bartels Media online shop. Who knows. Calculating for Bartels media: 1 License + rude support + alternative program = 0 Euro for Bartels Media.

OH, i know Bartels media is a member of DC and reads the forum  (at least from time to time). But thanks god i know mouser very well and therefore my post here wont be monitored first before releasing it to the public. So no chance for Bartels Media to stop it...Na na na na naaaa naaaaa! :)


Hello, JoTo,

Very Kind Greetings back!


PE macros are very complicated to create (just my opinion).

Calculating for Bartels media: 1 License + rude support + alternative program = 0 Euro for Bartels Media.

OH, i know Bartels media is a member of DC and reads the forum  (at least from time to time).

Oh, oh!

You see, my ordinary kind of expression is quite "plain English", whilst at bits, I pay very much attention to not being rude in the very slightest way, in order to not be censored over there... but as we can see, my strategy of self-censorship is plainly successful over there, since indeed, I do NOT get censovered (any more) there, i.e. I'm able to "transport my message", which is the core point... and yes, I'm aware I (very much, I hope) help pushing the really good sw's over there (cf. my post today), whilst I certainly harm some other sales over there (and not necessarily of really bad software, e.g. PhEx certainly does NOT belong to that kind of sw, it's just that the developer has got some kind of "manners"... I myself respect him a lot, he's a very good programmer, that's for sure...

but for one, programming and marketing (incl. customer service!!!) are two pairs of shoes, and, very unfortunately, gui (= understood from both the graphical AND the functional pov) is a third one...

In fact, the combination of several/multiple sets of "hotstrings" (= to replicate AHK's terminology here) in PhEx triggered me, years ago, to ask a question over there, just to got the answer that I should have to buy the prog first, THEN would be allowed for asking question, and for me, THAT WAS IT with B. Gmbh, buying-wise, and a similar reaction, years later, re some other of their offerings, just fortified my stance vàv B. Gmbh... ;-)

"PE macros are very complicated to create (just my opinion)." - That's what I said - in very weighted terms - on bits: As said before, my "credentials" comprise some 60,000 or 70,000 lines of code for a prog of which then I sold 5 "lite" versions (= abysmal marketing at my time, among other aspects), and then, AHK appeared very easy to me, whilst, in-between, the "macro" language of PhEx (= NOT its text expanding) had appeared something not really "evident"...

I fully back your musings re "AI vs. AHK": Initially, I had tried out AI (= much longer list of commands than in AHK, to begin with, and scripting language tremendously similar to VB6 (but which I didn't, and do "speak"), whilst AHK is a "chaos" between "command style" and "function style", and a single comma, left-out, in the former, will tear the whole thing down... (I then quickly left AI, both for its weird keyboard assignments (= let alone text expanding), and for some Dutch a**h*** (expert but a**h**** altogether) who, on my first day there, answered to my (stupid) question re AI syntax by calling me an idiot; whilst later on, (both dumb and smart) questions within the AHK forum were answered both with kindness and with expertise, and yes, here on DC, there's an outright AHK specialist who answered some of my smarter questions over there in the best possible way! ;-) BUT: face it: I advocate that AHK is for "beginners", too, and then, something like the AHK forum is 1,000 times better than the AI forum, where beginners ain't welcome at all)

BUT... that's a real prob of the transposition tool between .txt script and executable, i.e. much too few error messages between scripting and "reloading"... and most of the time, such error messages would be simple, since from one "comma" entry to the next in such "command-style" commands in AHK, even the "format" isn't quite similar, hence the very easiness of possible (but inexistant) debugging.

That's why I tell people in my intro, use function style whenever possible (i.e. whenever you will have a choice), all the more so since that's the style that will survive... and that's the reason why most of my mistakes, today, after having done 6,000 or 7,000 lines within AHK, always are in connection with "variable with, or without percent symbols?" - terrible!

But since I now KNOW about that recurring prob, whenever something does not work, I insert those msgbox'es to check if my variables have been "read" by AHK or not, and yes, I've finally "got a feeling" for where does AHK "asks for" (= without really asking, just wanting them, without telling me!) those %%, and where does it not...

As for weird syntax, well, I only knew "traditional" programming languages where it was

end if

and such, but in the meanwhile, I've got acquainted with some more "modern" languages where it's now

else if
and then NO end if (and similar)

but braces instead, and so, today, these missing "end" constructs ain't a prob for me anymore

(but I always do

instead of the possible

if {

, quand même! - terrible constructs, in those "modern" prog/script. languages!

This being said, I STAY advocate of "AHK even is for blunt beginners", and I would have been (and will be) happy to answer " beginners' " questions over there, in order to see where my intro was incomplete/not evident/equivocal, in order to amend it, accordingly.

At the end of the day, most of "your" commands will be quite similar, so it's a good idea to have "templates" (= also for some of those unavoidable, awful "command-style" commands, in order to not do the same ""how many comma" mistakes" again and again), and from that point on, AHK really *IS* easy, I SWEAR!

Just two more points:

- I fully backup your decision to install Pulover's AHK "key pressing grasping" tool instead of anything else; I had been aware of it, but never tried it, since from day 1 on, I had "outgrown" it, so I didn't know that it was that easy to use: kudos to Pulover! And of course, it's so much preferable to have the resulting scripts in AHK format, than in some proprietary, otherwise possible unusable format... not speaking of people getting eager, from Pulover's "intro", to then use the "real AHK", for "more complicated things than that""!!!!! So of course, this is the very, very best solution for your prob... and perhaps for many a prob real-beginners (= not you, obviously) might start with, and THEN, quite naturally, and with my intro (and then, better accessibility of further intros to be found in the web), could "grow into" "real AHK", after some weeks of just using Pulover's "key replication" tool - but NOT starting anew then, but using the little scripts Pulover's tool has been created in the meanwhile for them, and amending those!

- And allow for my saying anew that those commands that are missing in AHK, but which are present in AI, are all available, at the end of the day, to AHK users, too, whenever they lose their initial anxiety to address, from the relevant AHK commands, Windows' "insides/entrails", and in fact, both AHK and AI ain't nothing more than a subset of these, in order to get over that initial anxiety to access "Core Windows", or in other words, they just replicate a subset of those commands, in their respective proprietary, transposed flavor. BUT THEY DO, AND then give access to more... which not every one of those paid, "commercial" macro tools also does...

-- But let's be honest honest here: Both AI and AHK are for those (to which I belong) who neither do real Python or Windows system programming all day long: they both are access-to-all-giving-subsets-of-better-out-there... but then, they're so much superior to most "macro applications" you can buy... or then, buy that U.S. 1,000 dollar macro applic: it'll be as good as both AI and AHK are... but it'll set you back 1,000 $... per seat (if I remember well)... ;-)

And a last thing: mouse administration: It's not only text expanding and macroing that will have to be made compliant or better, to to fully integrated, it's also your mouse for which an optimized system will have to be responsible.

I, having mouse arm, had done a lot of web search in order to find a prof. "mouse-click" tool, some years ago, and ended up with "Nib", from the maker of some special, but seemingly very debatable mouse...

Well, I quickly discovered that everything-out-there-for-the-disabled is way overpriced, and Nib prices here in Europe are outrageous. Finally, I found some alternative supplier in the U.S. where Nib didn't cost me "but" about 50$.

Now, in AHK, I was able to replicate that functionality (and better than with original Nib, cf. applic scope in AHK (and yes, scope is realized in Nib, too, but in not an easy way)), for free, and with any additional goodie I would ever want in this particular applic, or that one (cf. AHK "timers" - and with no possible prob arising from interaction from 3 different tools (all with their own intercepting routines), paid or not).

So, my POINT here is, with AHK, you'll do more and more, over time (and if not, well, it's easy and free, at the very least, so no harm done to have chose AHK), whilst with really proprietary tools (be them free or paid), you'll be, more or less, stuck, at some time in your computer life, and that's why they would be to be avoided from start on, from my very humble pov.

But then, let's face it, it's from such kind, constructive discussion that people share their respective knowledge... and not from being told they are idiots, from experienced programmers, when asking questions or sharing some intermediate findings, as I had the "pleasure" here, some months ago:

In fact, I do elaborate task M (including delegation) just with .lnk files and with coloring and entries in any file manager of my choice, just by 1- or 2-key commands from AHK, when other people buy (expensive or not, but getting-into-your-way in any case) tools for "virtual folders" and/or for file system entries' coloring, and the reason for not sharing my findings here had been a very unpleasant aggression from a certainly very experienced long-time, prof. programmer here re those subjects: condescendance from programming professionals vàv highly-motivated "amateurs" is seldom a good idea... but often to be met with in the AI forum, hence my being an AHK advocate now. ;-)

Btw, lately, I searched for screen recording sw (<> screenshot sw), in order to share some workflow on YT, and to abbreviate your possible search (you see, Joto, I'm switching forth and back between direct addressing and subjects of hopefully general interest: sorry for that!) on those: There's Active Presenter Free, there's BlueBerry FlashBack Express Recorder... and yes, there's Camtasia Studio... but for everybody willing (or in need) to pay for sw, the former two should be trialled, in their paid versions, BEFORE buying Camtasia Studio, as far as my inquiries have informed me... And yes, I could list some 25 or 30 other such sw offerings here in order to prove I spent 5 hours with searching/weighting them all. ;-) )

Why "Oh, oh"? Some people out there have got scripts making jump warning into their face whenever they see mentioned their name...

But then, and I'm serious here, most of us learn, and the above-mentioned developers seems to have learned some things, too, and he's a very fine programmer, that's for sure. So even when he gets his name mentioned here, I'm quite hopeful he'll react professionally, this time, as he did on bits (my bits post was NOT censored, against all odds, remember!), and one thing's for sure, 90 p.c. of possible AHK users will never ever come over to AHK, despite all my multiple efforts, so his business, and that of macro tool developers, will not really be harmed, and whenever I can contribute to make better good sw, I'm eager to do so... even when there's even MUCH better competing, but oh so select sw out there!

And yes, his multi-monitor administration sw is the best there is, and that's a fact, so it'll not be AHK but B.'s Media offering I'd happily recommend for whenever you need a shared setup of several montors/keyboards AND several pc's at the same time. As far as I'm concerned, I currently use 2 monitors from 1 pc, and a 3rd one, from another pc, NOT connected to the web/nsa... and current problem for such setups is, how to share some things, other than by usb stick at the end of your work day, from 1/2 to 3, since any network between 1/2 and 3 would make available everything you've got on 3, to anybody having access to your 1/2 - if B.'s Media also had a 100 % reliable solution to that prob, they'd make a real, billion $$ fortune within the corporate biz.

Sorry for mixing up so many different subjects into one post, but then, being able to differenciate so many remote different meal components, blind-folded in case, in world class restaurants, my ultimate treat is just stew from some Red Cross stand. Sorry again, for such outrageous taste! ;-)

(And don't overlook to buy Syncovery, half-price, at bits today, if you don't already own it!)


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