This documentation refers to PhraseExpress v16 beta. The documentation for current v15 is available here.


PhraseExpress can be installed on a computer or run in portable mode from a USB thumb drive without installation.

PhraseExpress runs locally on your own computer. No personal text input is sent anywhere. You can even cut-off PhraseExpress from the internet if in doubt.

System requirements

Any Windows computer made in the last 10 years should be able to run modern applications like PhraseExpress:

  • Windows 8 or 10 (32 and 64 bit)
  • Approximately 200 MB free space on the hard disk plus space for your individual phrase data.
  • The Outlook Add-In requires a local Microsoft Outlook installation.
  • A selection of features (file export, Document Generator, phrase output to file, support for Microsoft Word formatted phrases) require a local Microsoft Word installation.
  • Microsoft Excel related functions require a local Microsoft Excel installation.

PhraseExpress is also available for Apple macOS and iPhone/iPad.

Computer installation

To install PhraseExpress on your Windows computer:
  1. Double-click the installation file "PhraseExpressSetup.exe" (download) and follow the on-screen instructions.
  2. After installation, you should find the PhraseExpress speech bubble icon in the task bar:

  3. If you have purchased a license, register the license key.

Windows hides tray icons of new installed programs by default. Click the triangle in the task bar and drag the PhraseExpress icon from the popup into the system tray to make it permanently visible:

The software installation requires administrative rights. If you cannot obtain elevated rights on your computer, see below.

For client deployment in large networks, refer to the SQL Client Manager manual.

The MS Office or Windows 10 AutoCorrect feature may interfere with PhraseExpress as both programs compete to replace spelling mistakes. This may lead to double characters, such as "sspelling". We recommend to either disable AutoCorrect in Windows 10 and Microsoft Office or to not use spelling corrections in PhraseExpress. You can import your MS Word AutoCorrect entries into PhraseExpress.

Installation without admin rights

Video instructions

If you cannot obtain admin rights for the installatiokn:
  1. Instead using the regular installation program, download the portable edition.
  2. The portable edition is a ZIP archive file. Extract its content anywhere on your hard drive.
  3. Launch the program from there.

Without admin rights, a selection of features are not available, such as the Outlook Add-In.

Portable use

Instead of installing PhraseExpress on your computer you can alternatively run it from a portable USB stick for use with any user account on any computer. The license key will be is tied to that USB device, not a specific user.

To run PhraseExpress from a USB thumb drive:
  1. Download the Portable Edition.
  2. Make sure that PhraseExpress is not installed/running on the host computer.
  3. Extract the ZIP archive contents into any file directory on your portable device.
  4. Launch "PhraseExpress.exe" from the USB device.
  5. Copy any existing phrase file "phrases.pxp" onto the USB device and load it into PhraseExpress.
  6. If you have purchased a license key, register your USB thumb drive installation.

The portable mode is indicated in the PhraseExpress title bar. User and application data must be stored into the program directory on the portable device. No data is written on the host computer.

Portable mode can be enforced by command-line parameter -portable.

The phrase file must be located on the same portable device.

The portable edition cannot be launched from a shared network drive.

Before registering the PhraseExpress installation on the portable device, make sure that no PhraseExpress installation exist on the host computer (otherwise you would register the installation on the computer).

Always shut down PhraseExpress before unplugging the USB drive to prevent data loss!

Limitations in portable mode

By design, PhraseExpress does not write any data onto the host computer in portable mode. Some features are not available in portable mode as they require writing data onto the computer:

  • Phrase file sharing
  • Outlook Add-In
  • Document Generator
  • Spell checking in PhraseExpress.
  • Use with a SQL/PhraseExpress Server.

Moving to a portable installation

To move from a regular installation to a portable installation:
  1. Save your phrase file onto the desktop.
  2. Deregister the license keys from the current installation.
  3. Exit and uninstall the local PhraseExpress installation.
  4. Install PhraseExpress on the USB stick. Don't run PhraseExpress yet!
  5. Move the phrase file from the desktop to the program directory on the USB stick.
  6. Launch PhraseExpress from the USB stick and register the license key.

Switching from portable to installed software

To switch from portable use to an installed PhraseExpress:
  1. Run PhraseExpress from the portable drive.
  2. Export your phrase file with the default name "phrases.pexdb" onto the desktop.
  3. Deregister the license keys from portable installation.
  4. Exit PhraseExpress. You can then remove the PhraseExpress folder from the portable drive.
  5. Remove the portable device.
  6. Install PhraseExpress on your computer. IMPORTANT: Don't run PhraseExpress yet when being prompted at the end of the installation!
  7. Use the Windows Explorer to move the phrase file you just saved on the desktop to the default phrase file location (usually "%APPDATA%\PhraseExpress\phrases.pexdb")
  8. Launch PhraseExpress from computerand register the license key.

Upgrade an existing installation

PhraseExpress v16 introduces a new phrase storage format and changed the way how to sync between computers. Learn more in our blog.

The old PXP phrase file format has retired. If you upgrade a stand-alone installation, PhraseExpress creates a copy of your loaded pxp files, converts it to the new database format and uses this new database. This should be a seamless procedure in regular setups. Keep the copy of your pxp phrase file!

To upgrade a stand-alone installation to a newer version:
  1. Backup your current phrases by exporting the phrase file.
  2. Download the latest PhraseExpress version.
  3. Install the new version over the current installation.
  4. If you have purchased a maintenance renewal, you need to replace the expired license key with the new license key.

If the new version does not automatically find the phrase file of the previous installation, load the phrase file manually.

Please check the program version history for features and specifications changes. Especially larger version jumps may require macro programming adjustments. New versions may require an updated phrase file format to support new features. In such case, older version will not be able to load the phrase file.

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Table of Contents