AutoKey is a text replacement and hotkey utility. It allows you to manage collection of phrases or other text, and assign abbreviations and hotkeys to these phrases allowing you to insert them on demand into whatever program you are using. This is the most basic functionality, and is similar to a well-known Windows utility called AutoHotkey.

To add the AutoKey Ubuntu repository, type this in a terminal:

-for Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope:

sudo sh -c "echo 'deb jaunty main' >> /etc/apt/sources.list"

-For Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex:

sudo sh -c "echo 'deb intrepid main' >> /etc/apt/sources.list"

-For Ubuntu Hardy Heron:

sudo sh -c "echo 'deb hardy main' >> /etc/apt/sources.list"

Then we need to add the PPA key. The following command is for any Ubuntu version:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys 6E3C0CE5

And then, to install AutoKey:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install autokey

For other Linux distributions, download AutoKey from here.

After installing AutoKey and launching it from your Accessories menu, you simply head to its system tray icon and hit Configure to get started. Give a new “phrase” a descriptive name, type in the text you want to appear when it’s triggered, choose whether or not the trigger phrase disappears, and then assign an abbreviation to it. By default, AutoKey triggers text replacements when you type your abbreviations and hit Enter, but you can configure phrases to automatically trigger or be launched only from keyboard shortcuts or the tray menu. Ubuntu 9.04’s graphical server is reported to have a few issues with the abbreviation triggers, but I’ve found it to work in most cases, and having the tray menu and keyboard shortcuts to type in abbreviations is almost as handy in most cases.