I have a Windows application which is deadware, and it lacks the option of exporting data into a file. The only way to extract data is to copy each line into the clipboard, and paste it in an editor.

As a work-around, I'm thinking of recording the action once, and loop through it until it reaches the last line in the application.

I know there are quite a few such utilities for Windows, so I'd appreciate it if you could recommend one for this task. Thank you.


There is also similar free scripting language called AutoHotkey.

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.

Always use AutoHotkey from http://ahkscript.org/ (current version, new official website)! AutoHotkey from autohotkey.com is outdated!

  • Can it automate mouse position ? That would match more to "Automating GUI tasks". – Gnoupi Aug 25 '09 at 9:19
  • Also, If you copy the list of functionalities from their site, keep mostly what is linked to the question (or at least emphasize them). – Gnoupi Aug 25 '09 at 9:19
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    Yes, you can read/set mouse cursor position, click mouse buttons, double click and drag and drop. It is very powerful tool with helpful community. There is lot of examples on their website and in their forum. – Protipes Aug 25 '09 at 11:37
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    AutoHotkey also has some ability to read data directly out of Windows common controls like listboxes etc, so you might be able to do it even better than copy and pasting. See "ControlGet" and "ControlGetlist": autohotkey.com/docs/commands/ControlGet.htm – Matthew Lock Aug 26 '09 at 2:20
  • From what I read, AHK is a 2003 fork of AutoIt, which is now "freeware" (I guess that means that it's now closed-source). Seems like there's quite a lot of ill feelings from the AutoIT community toward AHK. At this point, I can't tell which is a better option. – OverTheRainbow Aug 26 '09 at 9:30

AutoIt is what you need:

AutoIt v3 is a freeware BASIC-like scripting language designed for automating the Windows GUI and general scripting. It uses a combination of simulated keystrokes, mouse movement and window/control manipulation in order to automate tasks in a way not possible or reliable with other languages (e.g. VBScript and SendKeys). AutoIt is also very small, self-contained and will run on all versions of Windows out-of-the-box with no annoying "runtimes" required!

  • Thank You this ended up being very helpful in automating getting research data out of a GUI program.. – drescherjm Mar 31 '20 at 20:41

WinBatch. You can record your GUI actions or commands, and then save them and make a program out of them. It costs, but it's worth every penny. http://www.windowware.com/. I used it more than 10 years ago, and it was very easy to use and a mature product then. Since their page shows a couple of updates this year, they're not just coasting now.

  • Thanks. I didn't know WinBatch was still under development. – OverTheRainbow Oct 3 '09 at 10:54
  • WinBatch is amazing, but not free. Full apps (running to 10,000+ lines) have been developed using this product. Amazingly easy procedural language to learn. The user forum is very active and questions answered quickly. I'm a very satisfied customer of > 10 years (not in any way assoc with the company). Incidentally, you will often see the tell-tale WinBatch icon during system setup of hardware from many majors, such as Dell, Compaq, Intel, HP, etc. Costs around $100 to install/run on one PC, and $500 for compiler version (apps can be run on any Windows system). – cssyphus May 23 '13 at 19:41

AutoGui is a python package available on PIP that can easily automate windows. Medium article for more information.


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    Please include the important steps directly in your answer. Link-only answers aren't liked to be seen here as links might change or go missing in the future. Also, if you do link sites that you are affiliated with you need to disclose that. – confetti Sep 7 '18 at 20:58

I found this old post looking for the same thing. Here are some updated options for other users I found while working on a project to automate pulling data from "deadware" and populating it into my software.

Below "minimal programing" means you'll need to do minimal coding to automate the process of getting data out of the target software. Most of these have a perpetual license where you only pay more if you want updates or support.

That point is important considering most times you'll need to use this software on a machine that is locked to a specific Windows version and only there to support the legacy software. In that case it won't make since to be forced to pay for maintenance and updates when the machine you're pulling data from has updates blocked to prevent problems with the legacy software.

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