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

Cloud synchronization

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


  • Easy to setup. No server hardware/software required.
  • Suitable for small teams up to around 25 users.
  • Ideal for home office or remote users (no permanent network connection necessary).
  • Changes are synchronized manually on demand. For automatic updates, consider using a SQL server
  • If multiple users edit many phrases, edit conflicts may occur which can be avoided by limiting the number of users with edit permissions. Alternatively, consider using a SQL server that prevents edit collisions.
  • License keys are entered separately on each computer. For central license and user management, please use a SQL server.
  • Data can be securely "end-to-end" password-encrypted.

How it works

All users store phrases in their local phrase file, so they don't need a permanent network connection.

Any user can start sharing his phrase library by creating a central sync folder. This sync folder is the hub other users can join to send/receive changes to the shared phrase file on-demand. It works like a market place where all users exchange any change to the phrases.

The sync folder can be located on a local network share or any cloud sync folder (Dropbox, iCloud Drive, GoogleDrive or self-hosted solutions such as OwnCloud).

The synchronization system drastically changed with release of PhraseExpress v16. If you were using an earlier version, you will need to reconfigure synchronization as decribed 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. All other users do not create a sync folder but rather join the sync folder as described below.

    If using a cloud sync service, wait until the cloud service has distributed the sync file to all computers. This can take a while.

    If using an online cloud service, you may want to 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.

    Loading shared phrases

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

    1. Open the main program window.
    2. Select "File » Sync phrases with others" and "Join a shared phrase file"
    3. Select the sync folder on the network share or cloud sync directory.

    The contents of your local phrase file will replaced with the contents of the shared phrase file. PhraseExpress offers you to merge your current phrase librabry into the shared phrase file. Access to your phrases will be restricted so only you but no other can see your phrases.

    Syncing changes

    To update your local phrase file with remote changes:
    1. Open the PhraseExpress main program window.
    2. 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 made by others to your local phrase file.

    If multiple users edit the same phrase simultaneously, PhraseExpress uses the latest edit version based on UTC ("universal time coordinated"). To prevent such collisions, consider using a SQL server.

    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 potentially a large number of changes with your local phrase file.
    • Manual sync minimizes network load.

    For an instant sync, consider using a SQL server.

    User Management

    PhraseExpress maintains a list of all users connected to the central sync folder to monitor the distribution of editing changes.

    To open the sync user list, click "File » Sync user list".

    You can remove abandoned users, e.g. colleagues who left the company without disconnecting the synchronization.

    Removed users are not locked out of the sync but can show up in the list again if they perform a new sync.

    Apple Mac

    PhraseExpress for Windows can sync phrases with Apple Mac clients.

    Due to different text formatting systems between Mac and Windows, phrases with bitmaps cannot be synchronized.

    The PhraseExpress for Mac version supports a subset of the macro functions available in the Windows version.

    Apple iPhone/iPad

    PhraseExpress for Windows can sync phrases with iPhone/iPad by using the cloud service "Apple iCloud Drive". Other cloud sync services are not supported by the iOS App at this time. This shouldn't be a problem as iCloud Drive is preinstalled on iOS.

    Synchronization must be initiated by the iOS App as it creates a special App folder in the iCloud Drive sync folder.

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