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How To Change Window Transparency in Windows 7 with a Hotkey

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Linux has a lot of eye-candy because of Compiz, my favorite of which is the window opacity plugin. Using a short AutoHotKey script, you can add that same functionality to Windows 7.

I used this AHK script as a basis for changing opacity. It uses a single hotkey to change the active window’s transparency by 25% each time until it resets to 0. I wanted functionality similar to Compiz, so I modified the script to use the mouse wheel and shortened the increments to get more variety.

Just hold down the Windows key and scroll down to see through the window. This decreases opacity and makes windows more transparent.

opacity-low

Hold Win and scroll up to make the window more opaque.

opacity-high

There are two additional hotkeys in the script:

  • Win+O: This resets your opacity back to 100% instantly.
  • Win+G: This will show you a tooltip with the current opacity value (from 0-255). It will dismiss itself after 2 seconds.

I’ve added this to my Linux features script, along with the always-on-top, alt-window-drag, and monitor-off hotkeys.

In the download below, you’ll find the script itself and an .exe file for those of you who don’t use AutoHotKey.

Download the Opacity AutoHotKey Script & Executable Files

Yatri Trivedi is a monk-like geek. When he's not overdosing on meditation and geek news of all kinds, he's hacking and tweaking something, often while mumbling in 4 or 5 other languages.

  • Published 03/3/11

Comments (23)

  1. Dan

    I’ve been using something similar for a while, however one thing I’ve been failing to do is to use AutoHotKey to make inactive windows transparent, whilst keeping the active window completely opaque. Would this be possible in AutoHotKey whilst still keeping to a lightweight script?

  2. SmashD

    Why not getting a whole suite of scripts including the one Dan is looking for: ac’tivaid
    http://www.heise.de/software/download/activaid/24593

    Language says german/english so you should not have any problems using it.
    Dan, your setting is in “TransparentWindow” > “automatic” (or similar, using the german version here).

  3. Mr.Hugo

    Cool it rocks ;) Thanks, just place it in ur boot folder and it starts with the computer :)

  4. Louis Payton

    I tried it but got a message telling me the download was not compatible with my version of Windows.

  5. jayboe

    Im on lunch and i just downloaded the zip via droid and i cant wait to get home and try it out. I have been using Linux for awhile now and I do enjoy some functionality and eye candy that I can bring together.

  6. PandaFace

    This is cool, love it! Works great right out of the zip.

  7. Peter

    I got the same error message – it is not compatible with my windows. I am running Windows 7 Professional 32-bit Operating System.

  8. Lucky

    same problem plzzzzzzzz give some solution

  9. Haddicus

    No go.

  10. The Beard

    Thanks HTG! worked like a charm on my XP Pro SP3 :)

  11. AltruiSisu

    Quoting Dan Above:
    “…use AutoHotKey to make inactive windows transparent, whilst keeping the active window completely opaque. Would this be possible in AutoHotKey whilst still keeping to a lightweight script?”

    Do want.

  12. adarsha joisa

    For those of you getting the “Not compatible with this version of windows” error:
    Download Auto hot key from http://www.autohotkey.net/~Lexikos/AutoHotkey_L/AutoHotkey_L_Install.exe and just use the script (double click on it after installing AutoHotkey) given in the zip file. That’d be the opacity.ahk file.

  13. Kalpesh

    Great great great great. I used exe !!!

  14. JW

    @Dan:

    try TransOther v1.1

    Make all windows but the active one transparent.

    http://www.donationcoder.com/Software/Skrommel/#TransOther

  15. Anup

    Not working on Win 7 32 bit

  16. Impala

    God thanks! It’s about time we had a good auto-hotkey script! THANKS :D

  17. Elad Goldenberg

    Do you have this kind of file for Windows 7 32-bit?

  18. rajkumar

    great yar, thanks

  19. pandaSmore

    How is this useful?

  20. HydroKirby

    @pandaSmore
    It’s really not but a potential use has already been detailed in this very article. Namely making things more visible alongside always-on-top programs. I know I’ve wanted the same thing for NotePad++.

    Although for me, I have a laptop which has image retention. It’s like the LCD version of a CRT screen burn. I’ve gotten a bit paranoid now that I’ve learned the hard way that I can’t avoid “burns” just because I’m not using a boob tube anymore. As such, I’m using more transparent stuff along with scrolling wallpapers to compliment a colorful, dynamic screen saver.

  21. hardik

    i am unale to run this application please help me i need it

  22. Ali

    trans other is cool soft……………

  23. Shane

    You are awesome!

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