This documentation refers to PhraseExpress v17 beta. The documentation for the production version 16 is available here.

Cloud/NAS synchronization

Cloud synchronizationPhraseExpress can sync changes of a phrase library with multiple users peer-to-peer without using a server.


  • Easy setup. No server hardware/software required.
  • Ideal for home office remote users (no permanent local network connection necessary).
  • Changes are synchronized on demand and "peer-to-peer" in either direction.
  • Intelligent sync mechanism prevents any conflict files.
  • Optional "end-to-end" password-encryption.

How synchronization works

Video tutorial

All users store phrases on their own computer and one user can start sharing his phrase library by creating a sync folder. This sync folder works like a market place where all users exchange any changes they have made.

The folder can be located either on a shared NAS network drive or in the sync folder of any cloud file synchronization service (such as Dropbox, iCloud Drive, GoogleDrive or self-hosted solutions such as OwnCloud).

The synchronization system is significantly differently compared to earlier PhraseExpress versions. If you have used an earlier version, you will need to reconfigure synchronization as described here!

Sharing a phrase file

To provide your phrase library to other users:
  1. Open the PhraseExpress main program window and in the phrase tree, select the node of the phrase file, you wish to share with other users.
  2. Select "File » Sync phrases with others" and "Share your phrase file with other users".
  3. Specify the location of the sync folder. This must be a location where all other users have access to, e.g. a network share or a cloud service sync folder.

PhraseExpress will copy your phrases and other files to the selected folder.

    IMPORTANT: This initial setup needs to be done by one user only. The creator of a sync folder automatically becomes the "master". All other users do not create a sync folder but rather join the sync folder as described below.

    All users must use the same PhraseExpress version. E.g., do not mix PhraseExpress v16 with v15 clients.

    When using an online cloud service, you must disable features that only show files locally but do not actually download them to PCs until they are accessed (Example Microsoft OneDrive / Apple iCloud Drive).

    If using a cloud sync service, wait until the cloud service has distributed the sync file through the internet to all computers.

    If using an online cloud service, you can set a password to encrypt your phrase file for secure data transmission. The phrases will be encrypted before they are stored in the cloud. If you password-protect the phrase file, make sure that all users who join the file sharing know the password.

    Individual phrase folders can be access restricted, so you can still have your personal phrases.

    Joining a shared phrase file

    One user must have created a sync folder first as described above. Other users can then connect to this sync folder.

    To join a synchronized phrase file:

    1. Open the main program window.
    2. If you have loaded multiple phrase files, In the tree view, select the root node of the phrase file you wish to use for the shared phrases.
    3. Select "File » Sync phrases with others" and "Join a shared phrase file"
    4. Select the sync folder on the network share or cloud sync directory.

    Update: Beginning with v16.2, PhraseExpress will not replace the contents of the currently loaded phrase file but create a new phrase file "pexsync.pexdb". You can then manually copy/move/import your phrases into this new file if you wish to share your existing phrases with other users.

    You can pre-configure PhraseExpress clients for synchronization via configuration file. Please check out this expert(!) video tutorial.

    If using an online cloud service to share the phrase file, you must disable features that only show files locally but do not actually download them to PCs until they are accessed (Example Microsoft OneDrive / Apple iCloud Drive).

    Do not load files in the sync folder directly. Those are solely internally managed and used.

    Syncing changes

    To update your local phrase file with remote changes:
    1. Open the PhraseExpress main program window.
    2. In the phrase tree, select the phrase file node with cloud symbol.
    3. Click the main menu button "Send/Receive Updates" or press hotkey CTRL - F5 .

    PhraseExpress sends your changes to the central sync folder and apply changes published by other users to your local phrase file.

    If multiple users edited the same phrase, PhraseExpress uses the latest edit version based on UTC ("universal time coordinated").

    Why syncing manually?
    • It enables you to create & test phrases locally without confusing other users with unfinished work. Only, if you are happy with the results you push the changes to the sync folder for others to download.
    • Syncing and merging may require some heavy lifting on the local client. The app can be unresponsive while it analyzes and merges a potentially large number of changes with your local phrase file.
    • Manual sync minimizes network load.

    For an instant sync, consider using a SQL server. Please note that using a SQL server requires a permanent network connection to the server.

    Sync log

    PhraseExpress (v16.2.+) keeps a log of all phrase file synchronization changes.

    The status bar informs you about changes after synchronization. To open the log viewer, click "Details" in the status bar after a synchronization or click the small rectangle underneath the "Send/Receive changes" main menu button and select "Show sync log".

    In the sync log viewer, you can review any change:

    • Double-click or right-click any item to jump to the corresponding phrase. Then right-click phrase that have been edited and select "version history" to evaluate the changes.
    • Click any column header to change sorting of the log. Click again on a header to reverse the sorting order.
    • Use the log search feature to find any log entry of interest.

    To delete the log, use the database optimization feature. Deleting the log does not undo the actual change to the phrase file.

    Change entries are not necessarily edit changes, you have made. Every internal change and setting changes (such as changing the spelling language) may be logged as a change.

    The log is stored inside of the phrase file. The log itself is not synchronized with other users. Every user has its own log.

    Disable synchronization

    To disable phrase synchronization:
    1. Open the PhraseExpress main program window.
    2. In the phrase tree, select the phrase file node with cloud symbol.
    3. Click the triangle icon of the main menu button "Send/Receive Updates" and select "Stop synchronization".

    PhraseExpress will then disconnect the phrase file from the sync folder and delete any sync log.

    Table of Contents

    Table of Contents