I've been searching for a way to get this functionality with no luck so far. Basically, all I'm trying to do is have a script in AutoHotKey or another program that will pause whatever media I happen to be playing (VLC player, YouTube, Twitch, whatever) if I switch to a different virtual desktop using the standard keyboard shortcut (Ctrl + Win + Arrow). I would just want the script to pause media, I wouldn't want a toggle that would resume play if I returned to that specific desktop.

I'm a new user of AutoHotKey scripts and Windows poweruser stuff in general, so if anybody has some resources that they could point me to where I could learn how to script something like this it'd be appreciated!

Edit: After using the AHK Beginner's Guide that I was given by the very helpful people here along with some other links, I was able to figure out how to do this, with a single line of code in AHK.

 ~^#Left:: Media_Play_Pause

All it does is toggle the play media button when I switch desktops to the left, meaning I can have my video running on Desktop 2, then switch to Desktop 1 and have it automatically pause. The "~" symbol just lets the original hotkey be sent to the operating system, so I get to have two functions for one hotkey (in this case, switching desktops and play/pausing media).

Here's the other link I found helpful:


1 Answer 1


The official AutoHotkey online documentation should cover most of what you need, including:

And more generally:

AutoHotkey also has a forum.

Regarding your problem specifically, I might suggest using an alternative shortcut as a base, so you could send Ctrl+Win+Arrow with fewer potential complications.

The second issue to address would likely be:

  1. Determining which Windows processes are open (e.g. Firefox, Chrome, VLC)

  2. Focusing each process separately.

  3. Sending additional keystrokes after the process is focused.

  4. Lastly, switching desktops.

While AutoHotkey can do all four steps above, a stumbling block here might be your browser (for YouTube and Twitch). Modern browsers don't typically advertise the active page URL as far as I am aware. Theoretically, you might be able to extract this with Python/Selenium (not just AutoHotkey), but the simpler solution would probably be to just send multiple sets of keystrokes to any browser once it was in focus.

  • Thanks for the response. Actually, I was wondering if it was possible to just have AutoHotKey access the standard Windows 10/11 Media Control Overlay (the little panel that pops up when you press a laptop or gaming keyboard's play/pause button). This button seems to work with pretty much all the players I use and know exactly what application to pause. Is there a way to access this toggle through AutoHotKey? The way I see it, if I can access the Windows Media Control Overlay play/pause feature, I can get past needing to have browser software in focus since the media software will manage it.
    – Antshrike
    Dec 8, 2021 at 4:42

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