Android App v1 Manual

PhraseExpress for Android v1 is out-of-date - The manual of the latest version can be found here.

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Introduction

The Android App "PhraseExpress Autotext" organizes frequently used text snippets and allows to insert them into any 3rd party target app. Macro functions provide powerful extra features as prompting for manual user input or to perform calculations within a phrase, for example.

The Android App can sync phrases with the popular Windows client.

Installation

Download PhraseExpress App from the Google Play AppStore.

PhraseExpress is installed like any other regular Android App.

After installation, tap the PhraseExpress App Symbol to launch the configuration wizard:

This App icon on your home screen is only used to show the configuration instructions.

The PhraseExpress Icon

PhraseExpress can be used in two different modes; as a custom keyboard or as an assistive service:

PhraseExpress keyboard

Android Tastatur

The PhraseExpress icon is permanently available in the lower left of the custom PhraseExpress keyboard.

Benefits:
  • The phrase menu is accessible at any time as a dedicated button.
  • Best system integration and reliable Autotext support.
  • Phrases are inserted without using the clipboard.
  • You can switch to other keyboards by long-pressing the space bar.
Trade-Offs:
  • Only English, German and Russian keyboard layouts available.
  • The keyboard only has basic functionality.

Assistive service

The PhraseExpress icon is displayed for a short time if you tap into any input field of any app:

Benefits:
  • The assistive service allows you to use PhraseExpress along with your favorite 3rd party keyboard (e.g. swipe keyboards).
Trade-Offs:
  • Text is inserted by using the system clipboard.
  • Autotext may not work in any app.
  • The PhraseExpress icon may temporarily cover text in the input box.
  • The PhraseExpress icon is only shown for a short time after tapping an input box.
  • The assistive service requires Android v4.3+

Recommendation

If you prefer to use a 3rd party keyboard, e.g. with swipe functionality, you must use the PhraseExpress assistive device mode. If this is not relevant to you, we recommend using the PhraseExpress keyboard.

Switch modes

Activate the PhraseExpress keyboard

  1. Open the Android Settings "System" » "Language and input" » Select the keyboard "Autotext PhraseExpress" from the list of available keyboards.
  2. Select the Autotext PhraseExpress keyboard as the default keyboard.
  3. Confirm the warning dialog (privacy information).

Activate the PhraseExpress assistive Service

  1. Open the Android Settings "System" » "Personalization" » "Accessibility" » "Services" » Enable the service "Autotext PhraseExpress".
  2. Confirm the warning dialog (privacy information).

The assistive service will not activate if the PhraseExpress custom keyboard is currently active as it doesn't make sense to use the assistive service along with the PhraseExpress custom keyboard at the same time.

Managing phrases

Creating phrases

The first few text phrases you may want to create could be your name that can be triggered by your initials, or a shortcut to your email or mailing address, bank account information, telephone number, etc.

  1. Highlight the text in any app you wish to save as a text snippet.
  2. Tap the PhraseExpress icon and the "Plus" symbol.
  3. A dialog window allows you to enter additional information for the phrase:
  • The Description is used to identify the phrase in the phrase popup menu. The beginning of the phrase is used as the description by default.
  • An Autotext is a text abbreviation which is replaced by the insertion of a longer text snippet. For example, defining the Autotext 'kr' would be suitable for the phrase 'Kind Regards' (learn more). 

Editing phrases

  1. Tap the PhraseExpress icon.
  2. Navigate to the desired phrase in the popup.
  3. Tap the desired item for a little bit longer to open the phrase in the editor.

Phrase Settings

A phrase consists of the following elements:

  • The description represents the actual text phrase in the phrase popup window. It must not be empty.
  • The actual phrase contents.
  • Whenever you type a sequence matching the specified Autotext, your input will be replaced with the text phrase.

Folder Settings

Select the desired folder in the tree view to display the folder options in the right window:

  • Description: The description represents the folder in the phrase popup window.
  • If your text input matches a specified Autotext, a popup window displaying the folder's contents will be opened in the lower left. You can then choose the desired phrase.

Deleting phrases

  1. Tap the PhraseExpress icon.
  2. Navigate to the desired phrase in the popup.
  3. Tap the desired item for a little bit longer to open its edit window.
  4. Tap the trash bin icon in the upper right.

Inserting phrases

  1. Place the cursor at the desired position of the target app.
  2. Tap the PhraseExpress icon and select the desired phrase from the popup menu.
  3. Once you release the finger, the phrase will be pasted into the app.

You can also insert a phrase by typing the Autotext you may have defined for the desired phrase.

PhraseExpress opens a popup menu in the lower left of the screen in following cases:

  • if you tap on the PhraseExpress icon.
  • if you enter an Autotext that is assigned to a phrase folder.
  • if you enter an Autotext that is assigned to multiple phrases.

Selecting a phrase

The popup window allows you to select the desired phrase using any of the following methods:

  • Tap the desired phrase to insert it into the currently active app.
  • Swipe from bottom to top (and vice versa) to browse through a large list of phrases.
  • Subfolders are indicated with an arrow right symbol. Tap a folder to show its contents in a sub menu.
  • Swipe your finger from right to left to navigate through sub menu different levels. Alternately, tap the arrow left icon to switch back to the upper folder level.

Cancel a popup menu by tapping anywhere else or by tapping the Android back button.

Autotext

Autotext replaces text shortcuts (the Autotext) entered in any App with larger text phrases.

Sample applications:
  • Abbreviations such as 'FBI' will be automatically expanded to 'Federal Bureau of Investigation'
  • Typing mistakes are corrected while you are typing: 'tpyo' » 'typo'

If the Autotext feature does not work as expected, check out the chapter "trouble-shooting".

Windows Synchronization

The App stores your phrases into a single file "phrases.pxa" in the current Google Drive account of your Android device. You can sync this file with your Windows client in following easy steps:

  1. Install Google Drive on your Windows computer and log-in with the same user account as used in the Google Drive account of your Android device.
  2. Again, please make very sure that you use the same Google Drive account on Windows and Android. Repeat step 2. until you have confirmed that you use the same GoolgeDrive account on both, Windows and Android.
  3. Create at least one phrase with the Android app to make sure that the phrase file exists on the Android device.
  4. Open the PhraseExpress main program window on your Windows PC.

PhraseExpress will automatically prompt you to include the Android phrase file to your phrase library.

You can then copy/move phrases between your Windows phrase file(s) and the Android phrase file in the phrase tree view.

Android phrases are shown with limited functionality corresponding to the feature set of the Android App. We are working to extend the functionality, so stay tuned.

If the Windows client doesn't prompt you to include the Android phrase file, click "File" » "Open" » "Local phrase file" and load the phrase file "phrases.pxa" from the Google Drive sync folder.

It is very important to use the same Google account for Google Drive on your Windows computer and your Android device. The PhraseExpress Android App prompts you which account you wish to use if you have multiple accounts on your Android device. You can enforce this dialog by deleting all PhraseExpress App settings in the system App settings dialog. Deleting the App settings won't delete your phrases.

Macro functions

PhraseExpress includes a powerful macro language to add dynamic contents in your phrases, such as a current time/date stamp, additional manual text input, etc.

The Professional Edition App supports many macro functions of the PhraseExpress Windows version as described in the Windows client manual.

Supported macro functions:

#insert, #datetime, #date, #time, #calc, #input, #sleep, #rnd, #mail, #url, #loop, #trim, #trimleft, #trimright, #length, #pos, #lastpos, #substr, #replace, #lowercase, #uppercase, #lowercasefirst, #uppercasefirst, #lowercaseword, #uppercaseword, #settemp, #gettemp, #checktext, #randomtext, #cond, #setclipboard, #insertclipboard, #form, #formtext, #formeditbox, #formcheckbox, #formcombobox, #formphrasecombo.

Create and edit macro functions in the Windows client. It would be very tedious to create/edit them on an Android device.

Some macro functions are adapted for use with mobile devices and may not have the entire feature set of the Windows version.

Time savings

PhraseExpress can calculate the approximate time savings based on an average typing speed and a customizable hour rate. You can change the hour rate by tapping on the info button of the popup menu.

Example:

Given an average typing speed of 60 characters a minute, you would need approx. 2 minutes to enter a text containing 120 letters. When using PhraseExpress you would only require approximately 5 seconds to select the phrase or to trigger the Autotext. Thus, your time savings is 115 seconds for each phrase. Given an hourly rate of $20, PhraseExpress saved you 64 cent ($20 per hour * (120 seconds - 5 seconds) / (60 seconds * 60 minutes) = $.64).

PhraseExpress uses the currency as defined in the regional settings.

Privacy Information

We designed the App to minimize access to the Android operating system. However, PhraseExpress must be granted access to following system resources to provide the desired functionality.

Your trust in our software is important and we want to inform you in detail why the App requires access to specific Android system information:

Access Permission Additional information
InApp purchases The free app can be extended with InApp purchases (Google information about InApp purchases).
Other Application UI Enables PhraseExpress to display the PhraseExpress icon in other apps.
If using the assistive service: Monitor your actions PhraseExpress needs to know which app you are using to be able to paste phrase contents in that app. This is the essential and desired functionality. PhraseExpress does not store/send this information anywhere.
If using the assistive service: Retrieve window content PhraseExpress needs to know what you enter into a target app to be able to detect Autotext and to insert phrases in the target app. PhraseExpress does not store/send this information anywhere.
If using the PhraseExpress keyboard PhraseExpress needs to know what you are typing to detect and process input of Autotext. PhraseExpress does not store/send this information anywhere.

PhraseExpress never sends any of your keyboard input or phrases to us. Period.

Troubleshooting

If you experience unwanted text replacements, tap and hold the PhraseExpress icon to edit the last executed phrase.

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