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How to Automatize Time-Consuming Repetitive Tasks

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Whenever I need to do the same mind-numbing repetitive tasks, such as edit a hundred images exactly the same way or copy-paste a piece of text from a thousand emails, I turn to TinyTask. This portable little freeware utility has saved me hours, if not days of my life already. It might help you save some time, too.

TinyTask is a simple macro recorder. A macro, in this case, is a recording of all mouse clicks and movements, as well as all keyboard events. The macro can then be played back to reproduce the events exactly as they happened during the recording phase.

Download and Install TinyTask

To download portable TinyTask, click here.

Remember to always check any and all downloaded files with at least one anti-malware tool.

The downloaded file is called TinyTaskPortable_1.50_Rev_2_English.paf.exe — this is a PortableApps.com installation container.

There are two ways to access the files inside such a container.

Launch the Installation Procedure

You can double click the .exe file to launch the installation procedure.

For me this is a weird thing to do, because portable software is designed specifically to avoid the need for an installation process. You should be able to simply copy the files to their target location and use the software as is.

An installation procedure beats the purpose of creating portable software.

Extract the Files Without Installation

Thankfully, there is a way around the installation.

Simply rename the downloaded file’s extension from .exe to .zip.

Now create a sub-folder called TinyTask in a folder called Portable. I add all my portable software to one location, so I have better control over them.

Then open the renamed file as an archive. I prefer to use 7-Zip for extracting archived files.

Extract archived files

Extract archived files

And, finally, extract the contents of the TinyTaskPortable_1.50_Rev_2_English.paf.zip file to the TinyTask sub-folder.

Tip

You don’t actually need to extract a folder called $PLUGINSDIR and a file called [NSIS].nsi.

Create a Shortcut

Within the TinyTask sub-folder, right-click on the TinyTaskPortable.exe executable file and drag it to your desktop.

When you drop the file onto the desktop, a context menu will appear. Select Create shortcuts here from the menu.

You can now launch TinyTask by double-clicking on this shortcut.

Using TinyTask

Once running, using TinyTask is very simple.

tinytask-window

TinyTask window

There are two keyboard shortcuts you need to remember: Shift+Ctrl+Alt+R to start or stop recording a macro and Shift+Ctrl+Alt+P to start or stop playing back the macro.

After the first launch, TinyTask will create a sub-folder called Data in its TinyTask folder. All TinyTask settings, such as window position and launch folder, will be saved here and only here.

tinytask-menu

TinyTask settings

But remember that recording and playing back a macro is a mechanical thing. It will do the same thing over and over. Don’t believe for a moment that TinyTask will know what is the purpose of the task itself.

To understand TinyTask’s logic, simply imagine that your computer screen is completely blank. This is how TinyTask sees your screen.

It just records the mechanics of each keyboard and mouse event. Then replays them. That’s why you need to think carefully about each step you want TinyTask to replay in order to avoid your work being damaged.

Anyway, you can always try to play back the macro and, if there’s a problem, just stop the playback by pressing Shift+Ctrl+Alt+P.

You can also save your recorded tasks as .rec files and use them again later.

Removing or Moving TinyTask

This is the beauty of portable software — once you delete the TinyTask folder, there is no trace of the program left anywhere on your hard drive, not in Windows Registry, not in any other folder or sub-folder. Just gone!

And the same applies to moving TinyTask’s folder. Just move it and it will work the same way. However, you will need to update your TinyTask desktop shortcut, so that it links to the new location of the TinyTask executable file.

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Comments 2

  1. Thanks for this good post. I’m scouring the internet for examples of specific, practical stuff people are using tinytask for (other than gaming stuff). I’m on page 4 of google searches and still not finding practical, “I want to do that too!” kinds of examples. Do you have any?

    1. Peter Post
      Author

      Lots. Mostly they have to do with several open windows. Let’s say that you need to copy each item from the third column of a spreadsheet to the beginning of every other line in a plain-text file. And let’s say that there are 2,300 of such items. TinyTask can do that quite effectively while a human could kill a workday with it.

      The thing is this. Know about TinyTask. When you’ll face a real-life problem that will require using it, you’ll know. Believe me, you’ll know. 🙂

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