Edit phrases

To edit a phrase:
  1. Open the main program window.
  2. Select the phrase in the tree view on the left.
  3. Edit the phrase properties in the right window pane.

Create phrases

To create a new phrase in PhraseExpress:
  1. Open the main program window.
  2. Select the target phrase folder in the left tree view.
  3. Click the "New phrase" icon in the main menu (or press CTRL+N).
  4. Select the target folder in which you want to store the phrase.
  5. Enter and configure the phrase on the right.

The phrase is saved if you close the program window by clicking the X button in the upper right of the program window, select the main menu command "File » Save" or press the hotkey CTRL+S.

PhraseExpress is not designed as a Outliner software or text archiving solution. Please keep a copy of your texts in the database/data-source of your choice.

Phrases cannbot be created/edited in following situations:
  • You do not have edit permissions.
  • The phrase file is write-protected or you are using an cached file version because the file connection is offline.
  • The administrator has manually configured PhraseExpress to exclude edit rights.

Please check the program status bar for additional informationen.

If using the PhraseExpress/SQL server:
  • Another user is editing the element.
  • The PhraseExpress client is is using a temporary cache file because it is not connected to the PhraseExpress/SQL server.

Phrase properties

Phrases have following properties:


The description is used to identify the phrase in the phrase menu:

Use short and distinctive descriptions.

Descriptions should begin with the most distinctive text part as narrow phrase menus may not show the entire description. Drag the border to resize the phrase menu.

Phrase content

The phrase content consists of text (and macro functions) that can be inserted into any target application.

Unformatted phrases automatically turn into formatted phrase if you paste formatted text or bitmaps or if you start using text formatting (bold, italics, underline, font) functions. To remove text formatting, right-click into the phrase content box and select "Remove Formatting".

The formatting status is indicated by the phrase tree icon:


  • Phrase without text formatting and without bitmaps.
  • Phrase formatting adapts current formatting of the target document/application.
  • Efficient and memory resource friendly.
  • The text formatting automatically adapts to the formatting in the target application.

We strongly recommend to prefer unformatted over formatted text for maximum flexibility and compatibility.

  • Phrases with formatted text, tables and/or bitmaps.
  • Requires more space in the phrase file.

Use only, if text formatting, tables or bitmaps are required.

  • Support for Microsoft Word specific text formatting, Word macro placeholders and embedded contents (such as Excel spreadsheets), etc.
  • Requires more file space. Slower operation as Microsoft Word is launched in the background to insert or edit Microsoft Word formatted phrases.
  • No support of PhraseExpress macro functions or functions that alter the phrase contents (e.g. duplicate search, search & replace, bulk editing features).

Requires locally installed Microsoft Word.

We recommend to avoid this formatting option unless the specific Microsoft Word formatting is essentially required.

Press CTRL-ENTER for a page break or SHIFT-ENTER for a line-break. To enter a non-breaking space, press CTRL-SPACE

A few characters cannot be used in the phrase content directly. For example, the character sequence {# must be entered with three leading backslahses \\\{#. Those three backslashes will not be output but just used internally by PhraseExpress. Following characters must be "escaped" with leading backslashes:

Desired characterRequired escape sequence






Triggers are used to initiate the phrase execution. For example, the phrase "as soon as possible" can be inserted if you type the autotext trigger "asap".

You can assign multiple triggers of any type to a phrase and multiple phrases can have the same trigger.


A hotkey (or "keyboard shortcut", "key combo", etc.) is a combination of multiple simultaneous keypresses to trigger phrases or to open phrase menus:

Hotkey example

PhraseExpress inserts a phrase if you press its associated hotkey. For example, pressing CTRL+ALT+S can be assigned to insert your signature:

hotkey input

To assign a hotkey to a phrase:
  1. Under "hotkey", click the desired combination of CTRL, ALT, WIN and/or SHIFT buttons.
  2. Click onto the little triangle next to the hotkey input box.
  3. Select the desired letter (or mouse button) from the popup menu. Alternatively, simply click into the input box and press the entire key combination.

PhraseExpress shows a warning symbol if a hotkey is likely to interfere with other programs. We recommend to use combinations of at least two of the CTRL, ALT,WIN, SHIFT 'modifier' keys plus an additional character.

Reuse hotkeys

As the number of available hotkeys is limited, you can re-use the same hotkey for multiple phrases. For example, you can assign the same hotkey CTRL+ALT+S to a variety of email signatures.

If you press such hotkey, PhraseExpress collects all phrases with the same hotkey and present them in a phrase menu:

Phrase menu

You can then select the desired phrase.

Hotkeys for phrase folders

Hotkeys can also be assigned to a phrase folder to provide easy access to a very large number of phrases with a single keypress.

For example, you could use the hotkey CTRL+ALT+F to access a phrase folder holding all your finance related phrases. Another hotkey CTRL+ALT+P may show all product related phrases.

If you trigger a phrase folder by hotkey, PhraseExpress adds a New phrase… command at the bottom, allowing you to create new phrases in that specific folder.

Application example: To store a product related text in a product info phrase folder:
  1. Highlight the product information text.
  2. Press CTRL+ALT+P to open the product related phrase folder.
  3. Press the ArrowUp key to reach the bottom menu folder entry, which is the New phrase… command.
  4. Press ENTER and finish creating the phrase.


Autotexts are text abbreviations that are replaced with a longer phrase. Such text shortcuts can also trigger macro automations.

  • Entering the abbreviation 'FBI' can be automatically be expanded to 'Federal Bureau of Investigation'.
  • Typing mistakes are corrected as you type: 'tpyo' » 'typo'.
  • Enter an autotext to launch an application. For instance, typing 'calc' can launch the Windows calculator.

In PhraseExpress, autotext works in most programs and offers significantly more functionality.

To assign an autotext to a phrase (folder):
  1. Select the desired phrase in the main program window.
  2. Under "Triggers", enter the desired text abbreviation.
  3. Select an autotext option from the drop-down next to the autotext input box:

A warning symbol is shown for very short autotexts, that are very likely to interfere with your typing.

An autotext associated to a phrase executes that phrase. If the autotext is assigned to a phrase folder, PhraseExpress displays the contents of that phrase folder in a phrase menu, allowing you to select the desired phrase.

Reuse autotext

To reduce the number of autotext to be memorized, the same autotext shortcut can be assigned to multiple phrases.

If you type such autotext, PhraseExpress presents all matching phrases in a phrase menu:

Phrase menu

You can then select the desired phrase.

Autotext, that are associated to multiple phrases are indicated in the autotext input box of the main program window with the icon .

RegEx Autotext

"RegEx autotext" triggers a phrase if your text input matches the specified regular expression.

A regular expression (shortened as "regex") is a sophisticated text matching system. PhraseExpress provides a selection of RegEx autotext examples if you click the triangle icon of the input box.

For example, a phrase folder can automatically be shown if you enter any email address. This is different from regular autotext where you could only define a specific email address which wouldn't make much sense.

Stay clear if you don't know how to use RegEx. It's for experts only!


This trigger executes a phrase if the focus switches to the program window with the specified program name and window title.

For example, you can automatically show a specific phrase folder whenever you launch or switch to a specific program window.


This trigger executes a phrase every day at the time specified.


This trigger executes a phrase if the Windows clipboard is filled with the text string specified for this trigger.

Application example: When copying a specific email address into the clipboarad, PhraseExpress offers a choice of actions (for example, sending a predefined email to this very email address).

RegEx Clipboard

"RegEx clipboard" triggers a phrase if the clipboard contents matches the specified regular expression.

Application example: When copying any internet address to the clipboard, PhraseExpress can show a phrase menu to offer different actions for the copied URL (for example, opening it in the browser, sending the URL with an additional text by e-mail, etc.).

A regular expression (shortened as "regex") is a sophisticated text matching system. PhraseExpress provides a selection of RegEx autotext examples if you click the triangle icon of the input box.

Stay clear if you don't know how to use RegEx. It's for experts only!

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