Android App v2 Manual

Table of Contents

Introduction

Video Demo

PhraseExpress speeds up typing on your Android device:

PhraseExpress is available for Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac and iPhone/iPad, too!

Installation

PhraseExpress for Android consists of the main App, an assistive service and the optional PhraseExpress keyboard:

App Installation

Video Tutorial

  1. Download PhraseExpress App from the Google Play AppStore.
  2. Install the App on your Android device (Google Help).
  3. Configure the assistive service or enable the PhraseExpress keyboard:

To enable PhraseExpress inserting phrases in other Android Apps, you must activate the PhraseExpress assistive service or the optional PhraseExpress keyboard in the Android settings!

Decision Guidance: If you rely on 3rd party keyboard functions, e.g. a "swipe" feature or speech recognition, use the assistive service. Otherwise, consider using the PhraseExpress keyboard.

You can switch between both options later at any time.

Assistive Service

The assistive service enables the PhraseExpress icon. It is displayed for a short time whenever you tap into any input field of any app:

Assistive service

Tapping the PhraseExpress icon opens a phrase menu for easy selection and insertion of the desired phrase.

To activate the PhraseExpress assistive service:

Video tutorial

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

If you do not wish to have the icon appear every time you tap into an input box, you can configure the icon in the App settings to show up only when being triggered by entering autotext shortcuts.

The assistive service cannot be used with the optional PhraseExpress custom keyboard at the same time (wouldn't make sense anyway).

PhraseExpress keyboard

The PhraseExpress keyboard includes the PhraseExpress icon for quick access to your phrase library:

Android Tastatur

Benefits of the keyboard:
  • The phrase menu is accessible through a dedicated key button.
  • Best system integration and reliable Autotext support.
  • Required for the SmartComplete feature.
  • Phrases are inserted into 3rd party apps directly (without using the clipboard).

The PhraseExpress keyboard is not designed to replace the system keyboard. It is optimized to allowing you to select and insert phrases from your PhraseExpress phrase library.

The PhraseExpress keyboard is available with English, German and Russian keyboard layouts.

To activate the PhraseExpress keyboard:

Video tutorial

  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).

Getting Started

After you installed the App, you can now:

  • Save phrases in the PhraseExpress App (addresses, signatures, salutations, frequently used phrases, etc.).
  • Sync phrases with your other Android devices or a PhraseExpress installation on your Windows computer.

The PhraseExpress App is used to create, edit, organize and delete your phrases.

Tap the PhraseExpress symbol to launch the App:

Create phrases

To create a new phrase:

Video tutorial

  1. Open the PhraseExpress App.
  2. Optionally navigate to the target folder.
  3. Tap the "Plus" symbol and the "new phrase" symbol.
  4. Enter the phrase contents and additional details.
  5. Tap the checkmark to save the new phrase.

Phrase Settings:

  • 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.
  • The phrase contents contains the actual text that is inserted by PhraseExpress. It can contain multiple paragraphs.
  • 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). 

The maximum number of phrases is restricted in the freeware.

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'

Autotext options

Option Description

Executes a phrase after entering the autotext followed by either RETURN, SPACE or any default trailing delimiter such as punctuation marks:

Default delimiter

Triggers a phrase immediately if typing the last letter of the autotext:

Execute immediately

Do not use this setting if the autotext can be part of your regular typing flow or part of a word. Example: The autotext "hav" would unwantedly trigger a text replacement whenever you enter the regular words "have", "behave", etc.

After entering the autotext, the phrase is offered in the smart bar on top of the PhraseExpress keyboard instead of being inserted automatically:

Execute Optionally

You can either tap the suggestion or dismiss it and just continue to type.

Phrase are suggested in the smart bar of the PhraseExpress keyboard if you enter the beginning of its description:

SmartComplete

You do not need to define an Autotext.

Smart Complete is caps-sensitive.

SmartComplete is only available with the PhraseExpress keyboard. It does not work with the PhraseExpress assistive service.

Advanced Autotext settings that are supported by the Android device but can only be edited on a PhraseExpress Windows client.

Spelling correction

The spelling correction feature is realized with the regular autotext feature. The PhraseExpress sample phrase file contains spelling correction items that replace misspelled words with the correct form:

A phrase with the contents "word" is triggered by entering the associated autotext "wrod". This means if you enter "wrod", PhraseExpress will replace this auto-correct the misspelled word with the phrase contents.

Macro functions

The PhraseExpress App supports a selection of powerful macro functions to add dynamic contents in your phrases, such as a current time/date stamp, additional manual text input, etc.

The Pro Edition Android App supports a selection of macro functions which are 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, #formradiogroup, #formcalendar, #formslider, #formnum, #formcombobox, #formphrasecombo.

We highly recommend to edit macro functions in the Windows client. The App phrase editor is not designed to create/edit macro functions.

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

Insert phrases

To insert a phrase into a target app:
  1. Place the cursor at the desired position of the target app.
  2. Tap the PhraseExpress symbol and select the desired phrase from the popup menu.

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

Long-tap the PhraseExpress symbol to open the folder that contains the last used phrase. This allows you to sequentially insert multiple phrases of the same folder.

The phrase popup menu is shown 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 from the popup menu:
  • 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.

Edit phrases

Video tutorial

To edit a phrase:
  1. Launch the PhraseExpress App.
  2. Navigate to the desired folder that contains the phrase you wish to edit.
  3. Tap and edit the phrase.
  4. Confirm the change by tapping the checkmark symbol.

Long tap any phrase in the popup menu of the PhraseExpress symbol to quickly edit a phrase.

Manage phrases

Memorizing text abbreviations to trigger phrases is tedious.

Instead, PhraseExpress enables you to intuitively select a phrase from a popup menu with a descriptive menu structure.

To organize your phrases in such customizable folder tree structure, you can create or edit folders and move or delete phrases and folders.

Create phrase folders

To create a phrase folder:
  1. Launch the PhraseExpress App.
  2. Navigate to the desired folder where you wish to create a sub-folder.
  3. Tap the plus icon and the "new folder" symbol.
  4. Enter the folder details.
  5. Save the new folder by tapping the checkmark symbol.
Folder Settings:

Edit phrase folders

To edit a phrase folder:
  1. Launch the PhraseExpress App.
  2. Navigate to the folder that contains the folder you wish to edit.
  3. Tap the edit (pencil) icon to enter edit mode. Alternatively, long-tap the folder.
  4. Select the folder you wish to edit
  5. Tap the edit (pencil) icon to edit the folder.
  6. Make the desired changes.
  7. Save any changes by tapping the checkmark icon.

Move phrases and folders

To move phrase or folders within the folder tree structure:
  1. Launch the PhraseExpress App.
  2. Navigate to the folder that contains the items you wish to move.
  3. Tap the edit (pencil) icon to enter edit mode. Alternatively, long-tap any item.
  4. Select the item(s) you wish to move.
  5. Tap the folder icon in the menu bar.
  6. Select the target folder: Tap the folder icon to expand/collapse a subfolder, tap a folder description to select the folder as the destination.
  7. Confirm the action with the checkmark icon.

Video tutorial

To search for a phrase or folder:
  1. Launch the PhraseExpress App.
  2. Navigate to the folder where you would like to perform the query.
  3. Tap the magnifier icon.
  4. Enter the search term.
  5. Tap any matching item to edit it. Long-tap for additional options.

Delete items

Video tutorial

To delete phrases or folders:
  1. Launch the PhraseExpress App.
  2. Navigate to the folder that contains the items you wish to delete.
  3. Tap the edit (pencil) icon to initiate the bulk edit mode.
  4. Select the items you wish to delete
  5. Tap the trash bin icon.

Data Synchronization

PhraseExpress uses Google Drive to sync phrases with other Android devices and/or PhraseExpress for Windows.

  • You must use the same Google Drive account for all devices. You cannot sync across different Google Drive accounts. Read this twice.
  • Do not edit phrases on multiple devices simultaneously to prevent access collisions and version conflicts.
  • Online cloud synchronization services require some time to distribute the phrase file over the internet. Sync issues may occur if multiple users are editing the file while the cloud synchronization server is still distributing the update.
  • Restart the PhraseExpress App or the device if you experience sync issues.

Sync multiple Android devices

Sync between multiple Android devices requires Google Drive. It is enabled by default and must be configured only, if Google Drive is disabled.

Video tutorial

To enable phrase file sharing:
  1. Open the PhraseExpress Android App
  2. Tap the cog wheel symbol to open the App settings.
  3. Tap on "Use local file" and change setting to "Google Drive"
  4. If you have multiple Google Drive accounts, tap "Select Google Drive" and select the Account you are using on all other devices.
  5. If you have multiple phrase files stored in that account, tap "Select phrase file" and choose the phrase file, that you wish to sync on all devices (default name "phrases.pxa").
  6. Perform this procedure on all Android devices.

Done! All Android devices now share the same phrase file.

To disable phrase file synchronization, disable Google Drive for PhraseExpress.

Sync with Windows

Video tutorial

The Android App cannot directly load or sync Windows .pxp phrase files, because the Android .pxa phrase file format differs due to the different features set. To sync with Windows, you need to initiate the connection from the Android device.

To sync phrases with a Windows PhraseExpress client:
  1. Enable Google Drive for PhraseExpress on your Android device(s).
  2. Create any phrase on your Android device to make the App save the phrase file in Google Drive.
  3. Download & install Google Drive for Windows on your Windows PC. Make sure to use the same Google Drive account on Windows and your Android device(s).
  4. Wait, until Google Drive has distributed the phrase file to all computers. This can take some time.
  5. Open the PhraseExpress main program window on your Windows PC. PhraseExpress will automatically detect the phrase file in the local Google Drive sync folder and prompts you to add the phrase file to your phrase library as a separate phrase root node.

    Alternatively, select File » Open » Cloud phrase file or manually load the phrase file from the cloud sync directory (default location: /Google Drive/PhraseExpress/phrases.pxa).

PhraseExpress for Windows adds the Android phrase file as an additional phrase file node into the tree view of the main program window.

PhraseExpress now syncs the Android phrase file node with the Android. However, it does not sync the Windows phrase file.

You can now drag & drop phrases in the Windows client to move them from the Windows to the Android phrase file node for use and synchronization with your Android device.

Some settings will be removed if you move phrases created in Windows into the Android phrase file node (Text formatting, bitmaps, program restrictions, access right settings, etc.)!

If you want to keep taking advantage of the Windows version's full feature potential while still be able to sync with Android, copy (instead of move) the desired phrases into the Android phrase file node. You will then have one version in the Windows phrase file node with full functionality and a second version in the Android phrase file node with the stripped down duplicate.

As this creates phrase duplicates on the Windows client, you may want to disable autotext for the copied items: Right-click the phrase folders or mobile phrase file node and uncheck the context menu option "Autotext/hotkeys active" (Only the Windows client recognizes this setting. The Android App ignores it).

Settings

To open the App settings:
  1. Open the PhraseExpress App.
  2. Tap the cog wheel icon.
  3. Configure the App.
  4. Confirm changes by tapping the checkmark icon.

Phrase file location

Your phrases and folder structure are stored in a single phrase file "phrases.pxa"in following location:

  • If Google Drive is enabled for PhraseExpress, the phrase file is stored in Google Drive under /PhraseExpress/phrases.pxa.
  • If Google Drive is disabled, the phrase file is stored in an protected internal storage area that is not accessible for you.

The phrase file is encrpyted and not designed to be edited with a regular text editor.

Backup

Back up your Android device to external storage media to prevent data loss!

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 cents ($20 per hour * (120 seconds - 5 seconds) / (60 seconds * 60 minutes) = $.64).

PhraseExpress uses the currency as defined in the regional settings.

Licensing

The PhraseExpress Android App is a free download and includes a basic feature set free-of-charge for personal use.

It can be extended by "InApp" purchases made within the App to obtain additional features which are outlined in the Google Playstore App description.

It is very important to understand, that all licensing is exclusively handled by the Google Playstore. Licenses are tied to the Google account you are using while making a purchase in the Playstore.

Make sure to use the device with the Google account, you have used to make the purchase. If you change to another Google Playstore account, the App is not licensed anymore.

If you change your Android device, all purchases should be automatically recovered if you are using the same Google purchase you have used for the purchase.

Only Google has insight of any purchase and licensing. We as the maker do not sell or license the App. We don't even know of who purchased our App. This is a design decision made by Google.

Therefore, if you run into any licensing issue, it is important to understand, that Google is your main contact. Google has all information to establish and/or recover any App license you have purchased.

PhraseExpress Licensing Troubleshooting

If you purchased an App license but the App remains/reverts to the free edition, carefully check the following tips:

  • The App license is tied to the Google account you used when making the Google Playstore purchase. Make sure to use the same Google account on your Android device.
  • The Google licensing mechanism requires an internet connection. Make sure, that no firewall App on your Android device or in your internet connection blocks the Google Playstore licensing mechanism. If the Google Playstore licensing mechanism is not granted internet access, it may not be able to configure the license.
  • Contact Google Playstore in case of any licensing issue. We ultimately won't be able to assist you with licensing related topics as Google doesn't provide any customer identifiable information to us.
  • PhraseExpress for Android is solely available in the original Google Playstore. Check, if you may have purchase the App from an unauthorized source (counterfait or non-Playstore marketplace).

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.

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