Shard Detail

ahk_x11 v0.5.1

AutoHotkey for Linux (X11-based systems)

Install & Use

Add the following code to your project's shard.yml under:

dependencies to use in production
- OR -
development_dependencies to use in development

  github: phil294/AHK_X11



AutoHotkey for Linux.


MsgBox, AHK_X11 (*)

This project is usable, but WORK IN PROGRESS.

Scripts from Windows will usually NOT WORK without modifications. If you want this to become a reality, you're welcome to contribute, and/or join the AHK Discord's #ahk_x11 channel.

Requires X11, does not work with Wayland yet. This is important for Ubuntu version 22.04 and up (link)

Direct download (all Linux distributions, x86_64, single executable)


Go to installation instructions

DEMO VIDEO: Installation, script creation, compilation

AutoHotkey is "Powerful. Easy to learn. The ultimate automation scripting language for Windows.". This project tries to bring large parts of that to Linux.

More specifically: A very basic but functional reimplementation AutoHotkey v1.0.24 (2004) for Unix-like systems with an X window system (X11), written from ground up with Crystal/libxdo/gi-crystal/x11-cr/, with the eventual goal of 80% feature parity, but most likely never full compatibility. Currently about 60% of work is done. This AHK is shipped as a single executable native binary with very low resource overhead and fast execution time.

Note that because of the old version of the spec (at least for now), many modern AHK features are missing, especially expressions (:=, % v), classes, objects and functions, so you probably can't just port your scripts from Windows. More to read: Project goals

You can use AHK_X11 to create stand-alone binaries with no dependencies, including full functionality like Hotkeys and GUIs. (just like on Windows)

Please also check out Keysharp, a WIP fork of IronAHK, another complete rewrite of AutoHotkey in C# that tries to be compatible with multiple OSes and support modern, v2-like AHK syntax with much more features than this one. In comparison, AHK_X11 is a lot less ambitious and more compact, and Linux only.


  • Hotkeys
  • Hotstrings
  • Window management (but some commands are still missing)
  • Send keys
  • Control mouse
  • File management (but some commands are still missing)
  • GUIs (partially done)
  • One-click compile script to portable stand-alone executable
  • Scripting: labels, flow control: If/Else, Loop
  • Window Spy
  • Graphical installer (optional)
  • Context menu and compilation just like on Windows


  • Interactive console (REPL)

AHK_X11 can be used completely without a terminal. You can however if you want use it console-only too. Graphical commands are optional, it also runs headless.

CLICK TO SEE WHICH COMMANDS ARE IMPLEMENTED AND WHICH ARE MISSING. Note however that this is not very representative. For example, no `Gui` sub command is included in the listing. For a better overview on what is already done, skim through the FULL DOCUMENTATION HERE.
DONE      42% (93/219):
+ Else, { ... }, Break, Continue, Return, Exit, GoSub, GoTo, IfEqual, Loop, SetEnv, Sleep, FileCopy,
+ SetTimer, WinActivate, MsgBox, Gui, SendRaw, #Persistent, ExitApp,
+ EnvAdd, EnvSub, EnvMult, EnvDiv, ControlSendRaw, IfWinExist/IfWinNotExist, SetWorkingDir,
+ FileAppend, Hotkey, Send, ControlSend, #Hotstring, Menu, FileCreateDir, FileDelete, IfMsgBox,
+ #SingleInstance, Edit, FileReadLine, FileSelectFile, FileSelectFolder, FileSetAttrib, FileSetTime,
+ IfNotEqual, If var [not] between, IfExist/IfNotExist, IfGreater/IfGreaterOrEqual,
+ IfInString/IfNotInString, IfLess/IfLessOrEqual, IfWinActive/IfWinNotActive, IniDelete, IniRead,
+ IniWrite, Loop (files & folders), Loop (read file contents), MouseClick, Pause, Reload,
+ StringGetPos, StringLeft, StringLen, StringLower, StringMid, StringReplace, StringRight,
+ StringUpper, Suspend, URLDownloadToFile, WinClose, WinGetPos, WinKill, WinMaximize, WinMinimize,
+ WinMove, WinRestore, MouseGetPos, MouseMove, GetKeyState, KeyWait, ControlClick, WinGetText,
+ WinGetTitle, WinGetClass, PixelGetColor, CoordMode, GuiControl, ControlGetPos, ControlGetText,
+ WinGet, Input, Loop (parse a string), ToolTip, If var [not] in/contains MatchList, ControlSetText,
+ PixelSearch, #Include

NEW       4% (8/219): (not part of spec or from a more recent version)
@@ Echo, ahk_x11_print_vars, FileRead, RegExGetPos, RegExReplace, EnvGet, @@
@@ ahk_x11_track_performance_start, ahk_x11_track_performance_stop @@

REMOVED   5% (12/219):
# ### Those that simply make no sense in Linux:
# EnvSet, EnvUpdate, PostMessage, RegDelete, RegRead, RegWrite, SendMessage, #InstallKeybdHook,
# #InstallMouseHook, #UseHook, Loop (registry)
# ### Skipped for other reasons:
# AutoTrim: It's always Off. It would not differentiate between %a_space% and %some_var%.
#           It's possible but needs significant work.

TO DO     47% (102/219): alphabetically
- BlockInput, ClipWait, Control, ControlFocus, ControlGet, ControlGetFocus,
- ControlMove,
- DetectHiddenText, DetectHiddenWindows, Drive, DriveGet, DriveSpaceFree,
- FileCopyDir, FileCreateShortcut,
- FileInstall, FileGetAttrib, FileGetShortcut, FileGetSize, FileGetTime, FileGetVersion,
- FileMove, FileMoveDir, FileRecycle, FileRecycleEmpty, FileRemoveDir,
- FormatTime, GroupActivate, GroupAdd,
- GroupClose, GroupDeactivate, GuiControlGet,
- If var is [not] type,
- InputBox, KeyHistory, ListHotkeys, ListLines, ListVars,
- MouseClickDrag, OnExit,
- Process, Progress, Random, RunAs, SetBatchLines,
- SetCapslockState, SetControlDelay, SetDefaultMouseSpeed, SetFormat, SetKeyDelay, SetMouseDelay,
- SetNumlockState, SetScrollLockState, SetStoreCapslockMode, SetTitleMatchMode,
- SetWinDelay, Shutdown, Sort, SoundGet, SoundGetWaveVolume, SoundPlay, SoundSet,
- SoundSetWaveVolume, SplashImage, SplashTextOn, SplashTextOff, SplitPath, StatusBarGetText,
- StatusBarWait, StringCaseSense, StringSplit, StringTrimLeft, StringTrimRight,
- SysGet, Thread, Transform, TrayTip, WinActivateBottom,
- WinGetActiveStats, WinGetActiveTitle,
- WinHide, WinMenuSelectItem, WinMinimizeAll,
- WinMinimizeAllUndo, WinSet, WinSetTitle, WinShow, WinWait, WinWaitActive,
- WinWaitClose, WinWaitNotActive, #CommentFlag, #ErrorStdOut, #EscapeChar,
- #HotkeyInterval, #HotkeyModifierTimeout, #MaxHotkeysPerInterval, #MaxMem,
- #MaxThreads, #MaxThreadsBuffer, #MaxThreadsPerHotkey, #NoTrayIcon, #WinActivateForce

Also planned, even though it's not part of 1.0.24 spec:
- ImageSearch
- Maybe some kind of OCR command
- #IfWinActive (the directive)

Showcase of scripts

  • Vimium Everywhere: Keyboard navigation for the whole desktop
  • Activity monitor: Demonstrates keyboard tracking, window, control listing and more
  • ...did you create something with AHK_X11 that could potentially be useful to others too? Suggestions for this list? Please open an issue or write me a mail!


Download the latest binary from the release section. Make the downloaded file executable (how?) and you should be good to go: Just double click it or run it in the console without arguments (without sudo).


  • X11 is the only dependency. You most likely have them already. Wayland support would be cool too some day.
  • Old distros like Debian before 10 (Buster) or Ubuntu before 18.04 are not supported (reason). Otherwise, it should not matter what system you use.

There is no auto updater yet! (but planned) You will probably want to get the latest version then and again.


There are different ways to use it.

  1. The graphical way, like on Windows: Running the program directly opens up the interactive installer.
    • Once installed, all .ahk files are associated with AHK_X11, so you can simply double click them.
    • Also adds the Compiler into Open as... Menus.
    • Also adds Window Spy to your applications. It looks something like this.
  2. Command line
    • Either: Pass the script to execute as first parameter, e.g. ./ahk_x11 "path to your script.ahk"
    • Or: Pass code from stdin, e.g. echo $'var = 123\nMsgBox %var%' | ./ahk_x11
    • If you once installed with the graphical installer, the binary is also to be found at ~/.local/bin/ahk_x11.AppImage
    • Once your script's auto-execute section has finished, you can also interactively execute arbitrary single line commands in the console. Code blocks aren't supported yet in that situation. Those single lines each run in their separate threads, which is why variables like %ErrorLevel% will always be 0.
    • When you don't want to pass a script and jump to this mode directly, you can specify --repl instead (implicit #Persistent).
    • Compile scripts with ./ahk_x11 --compile "path/script.ahk"
    • Run Window Spy with ./ahk_x11 --windowspy
    • Hashbang supported if first line starts with #!
    • You can disable graphical commands by manually unsetting the DISPLAY variable. Example: DISPLAY= ./ahk_x11 <<< 'Echo abc' just prints abc to the console (Echo command is a special ahk_x11-only command). The only advantage is faster startup time.



All commands or command options related to Controls (e.g. ControlClick or WinGetText) relies on assistive technologies. While almost all windows support this, this typically needs adjustments on the running system. Read the documentation section on accessibility for instructions.

Focus stealing prevention

Some Linux distros offer a configurable setting for focus stealing prevention. Usually, it's default off. But if you have activated it, window focus changing actions like MsgBox or WinActivate will not work as expected: A MsgBox will appear hidden behind the active window. This can be useful to prevent accidental popup dismissal but when you don't like that, you have three options:

  • disable said setting

  • use the always on top setting of MsgBox

  • hack around it with code
    SetTimer, MsgBoxToFront, 1
    MsgBox, Hello
    SetTimer, MsgBoxToFront, off
    ; You might want to adjust the matching criteria, especially for compiled scripts
    WinActivate ahk_class ahk_x11


(*) The MsgBox picture at the top was taken on a XFCE system with Chicago95 installed, a theme that resembles Win95 look&feel. On your system, it will look like whatever GTK popups always look like.

Incompatibilities with Windows versions

Like covered above, AHK_X11 is vastly different to modern Windows-AutoHotkey because 1. its spec is missing its more recent features and 2. there are still several features missing. Apart from that, there are a few minor incompatibilities between AHK_X11 and the then-Windows-AutoHotkey 1.0.24:

  • #NoEnv is the default, this means, to access environment variables, you'll have to use EnvGet.
  • All arguments are always evaluated only at runtime, even if they are static. This can lead to slightly different behavior or error messages at runtime vs. build time.
  • Several more small subtle differences highlighted in green throughout the docs page

Besides, it should be noted that undocumented == undefined.


AHK_X11 is an interpreted language, not a compiled one. This means that no compile time optimizations take place on your script code, apart from some validation and reference placements. Also, all variables are of type String. So you probably wouldn't want to use it for performance-critical applications. However, the tool itself is written in Crystal and thus compiled and optimized for speed, so everything should still be reasonably fast. The speed of some of the slower commands depends on either libxdo or X11 and it's not yet clear whether there is much room for improvement. Some tests run on a 3.5 GHz machine:

Parsing a single line takes about 30 µs (this happens once at startup), and execution time depends on what a command does:

  • x = 1: 70 ns (0.00000007 s)
  • FileRead, x, y.txt: 10 µs (0.00001 s)
  • WinGetTitle, A: 87 µs (0.000087 s)
  • Send, a: 530 µs (0.00053 s)
  • Clipboard = a: 6 ms (0.006 s)
  • SendRaw, a: 9 ms (0.009 s) (??)
  • WinActivate, title: 60 ms (0.06 s)
  • WinGetText: 0-3 s (!)

You can run fine-grained benchmarks with the following special hidden instruction:

Loop, 1000
    Send, a

prints something like:

[{"send", count: 1000, total: 00:00:00.530032328>},
 {"loop", count: 1001, total: 00:00:00.000206347>}]

Note that the internal code around executing commands takes about 10 µs between two every commands and you can't do anything about it and this not measured / included in the benchmark command's output. This can actually be the bottleneck in some scripts and should probably be improved

More tips:

  • Some values are cached internally while the thread is running, so repeated commands may run faster
  • The first time an AtSpi-related command (Control-*, WinGetText, ... see "Accessibility" section above) runs, the interface needs to be initialized which can take some time (0-5s)
  • Searching for windows is slow. Querying the active window is not. Also, windows are internally cached by their ID during the lifetime of the thread, so e.g. WinActivate, ahk_id %win_id% will be much much faster than WinActivate, window name. So for many window operations you might want to do a single WinGet, win_id, ID beforehand and then reuse that %win_id.


If you want to help with AHK_X11 development or prefer to build from source instead of using the prebuilt binaries, detailed build instructions are to be found in ./build/


For bugs and feature requests, please open up an issue, or check the Discord or Forum.