AutoHotkey is a powerful language for scripting automations on Windows, but finding, downloading, and using AutoHotkey libraries manually is painful. That's where ahkpm comes in.

ahkpm is a package manager

The name ahkpm stands for “AutoHotkey Package Manager.” But what is a package manager?

A package manager is a tool used to find, download, install, and update libraries and scripts. And it makes the overall process both easier and more reliable than doing all that work by hand.

There are, however, a few things you need to learn in order to use it effectively.

Already familiar with package managers? You can skip directly to the quick start guide.

What is a package?

A “package” in the context of ahkpm means the source code for an AutoHotkey library or script that is meant to be downloaded and used by others, typically by importing it into your script with an #Include. That can be something as simple as a few functions for working with strings, or as complex as a web browser driver. You can find examples on the packages page.

Setting up your project to use ahkpm

To use ahkpm for your script or other project, open up a command prompt and navigate to the folder where you are keeping your script’s source code. For example, cd c:\my-project.

Once in that folder, run the command ahkpm init to initialize ahkpm within your project. You will be prompted with several questions about your project. If you aren’t sure about the answer, just go with the default.

Once you answer all the questions, you’ll be presented with a final prompt asking you to confirm that everything looks correct. Answer “Y” and you will find a new file named ahkpm.json in your project folder.

The file will look similar to this.

  "version": "0.0.1",
  "description": "A brief description of what the package does",
  "repository": "",
  "website": "",
  "license": "MIT",
  "issueTracker": "",
  "author": {
    "name": "joshuacc",
    "email": "",
    "website": ""
  "dependencies": {}

For our purposes in this introduction, the most important part is the line that lists "dependencies": {}. What that means is that while we have set up ahkpm within this project, we have not yet installed anything.

Installing a package

Now that your project is set up with ahkpm, we can use it to install a package. For this example, let’s suppose we want to make an http request to a url and then display the response.

Looking over the packages page we can see that there is a library called gh:joshuacc/simple-http that appears to do what we need. (In ahkpm, gh: is a shorthand for

To install it we run the command ahkpm install gh:joshuacc/simple-http. After a moment you should see a message indicating that it was installed successfully.

If we look at ahkpm.json again, we’ll see that the file has changed. Now dependencies is no longer an empty object, but contains something similar to the following:

  // Omitting others for brevity
  "dependencies": {
    "": "^1.0.0"

Now ahkpm knows that this project depends on, and that the version needs to match ^1.0.0, which translates to “at least 1.0.0, but less than 2.0.0.”

There is also a new file called ahkpm.lock. The contents and purpose of that file are beyond the scope of this introduction, but ahkpm.lock should not be either edited or deleted.

The third thing that has changed is that within your project folder there is a new folder called ahkpm-modules. That folder is where the package’s source code is actually saved so that you can use it within your AutoHotkey scripts.

If you are storing your project in git, you should add ahkpm-modules to your .gitignore file.

Using a package

Now that we’ve installed the package, it’s time to use it. We can do so by typing ahkpm include gh:joshuacc/simple-http at the command line.

The command will output an #Include directive which we can paste into our script. So let’s do so.

; my-script.ahk

; The #Include directive we got from the command line
#Include, %A_ScriptDir%\ahkpm-modules\\joshuacc\simple-http\simple-http.ahk

Next we consult the package’s documentation by visiting it’s GitHub page to learn how to use it. Fortunately it’s fairly simple, so we add a couple more lines of code till we have the following.

; my-script.ahk

; The #Include directive we got from the command line
#Include, %A_ScriptDir%\ahkpm-modules\\joshuacc\simple-http\simple-http.ahk

; Create a new instance
http := new SimpleHTTP()

; Get some user profile data to display
profileData := http.get("")

; Open a dialog box to display the profile data
MsgBox, , "The Profile", %profileData%,

After running the script with AutoHotkey, you should see a dialog box with a big blob of JSON describing the GitHub user profile of joshuacc. (That’s me!)

Package installed!

You’ve installed your first package with ahkpm. That’s enough to be useful, but it’s in the ongoing maintenance that ahkpm really saves time.

Updating a package

Suppose that the package we are using is updated with either new features or bug fixes. If we had manually downloaded this code, then in order to get those new features and fixes, we’d need to do the following:

  1. Visit the website for the package
  2. Check to see if there are any changes since we originally downloaded it. (Hopefully the authors keep good records!)
  3. Manually download the updated version
  4. Manually verify that the changes are compatible with our existing script

But with ahkpm, we run one simple command to do most of that work:

  • ahkpm update gh:joshuacc/simple-http

This automatically checks to see if there are new versions of the package which match the version range in ahkpm.json. In this case it is, ^1.0.0, which means “at least 1.0.0 and less than 2.0.0.” If there is a new matching version, ahkpm will automatically download it.

And thanks to the fact that our version range doesn’t allow going all the way up to 2.0.0, we can be fairly confident that updating won’t break anything.

What about updating further?

You may be wondering, “What about if I actually do want to update to a version outside of that range?”

That is also easy to do. You would just run a command like the following:

  • ahkpm install gh:joshuacc/simple-http@2.

The @2 specifies that you want to install the latest version within the 2.x.x range. Assuming that there is a matching version available, ahkpm will install it for you.

You did it!

In this introduction, you’ve learned:

  • ✅ What packages and package managers are
  • ✅ How to set up your project to use ahkpm
  • ✅ How to install a package for your project
  • ✅ How to use a package in your AutoHotkey scripts
  • ✅ How to update a package to get the latest features and bug fixes

You’re all set to start using ahkpm on your projects and save a ton of time going forward.