User interface

The PhraseExpress client user interface consists of the task bar icon, the phrase menu and the main program window.

Task bar icon

The tray icon is your main hub for PhraseExpress. You can click on the icon in different ways:

ActionDescription
Left-ClickOpens the phrase menu.
Right-clickOpens the options context menu.
Double-ClickOpens the main program window.
CTRL-ClickTemporarily enable/disable PhraseExpress.
SHIFT-ClickOpens the last executed phrase in the main program window.
ALT-ClickOpens the program settings.

If the task bar icon is not visible, first check whether PhraseExpress has been started at all.

If Windows has hidden the task bar icon in a submenu, click small triangle and drag the PhraseExpress icon onto the task bar:

Opening the phrase menu

To open the phrase menu…
  • left-click the PhraseExpress task bar icon to show all phrases, beginning from the root level.
  • press the customizable phrase menu hotkey ALT+SPACE.
  • press the hotkey or enter the autotext, assigned to a phrase folder or multiple phrases.
  • If AutoComplete is enabled, start typing a frequently used word/sentence.

To discard the menu, press ESC or click anywhere outside the phrase menu.

Items, that are configured to be hidden, restricted to specific programs or users may not be shown in the phrase menu.

Finding the desired phrase

To find an item in the phrase menu…
  • start typing any part of the description to narrow down the menu to items matching our text input.
  • use the Arrow-Down/Up keys to select the next/previous item.
  • press Page-Up/Down or the mouse scroll wheel to scroll through the menu in larger steps.
  • press Home- or End to jump to the very first or very last item.
  • press Arrow-Right-key to jump to and open the first subfolder. To return to the parent level, press Arrow-Left.

A tiny black triangle in the top/bottom right of the phrase menu indicates, if the menu is too small to fit all items into the menu window. Scroll up/down to reach contents outside the viewport.

To resize the phrase menu, pull its borders to the desired height and width.

Executing a phrase

To insert the selected phrase…
  • Click the phrase.
  • Press the customizable confirmation hotkey TAB.
  • Press the optional "quick key" to directly select and execute a phrase, e.g. Num1+Num9.
  • To insert a formatted phrase without formatting. SHIFT-click the phrase.
  • CTRL-click a phrase to copy its content into to the clipboard (vs. pasting it into the target application). This helps to insert a phrase in case of application focus problems.

Content-sensitive features

Right-click any item in the phrase menu for additional options:

  • Insert text with or without formatting.
  • Fill the clipboard with the selected text.
  • Create a new email to the email address contained in the phrase.
  • Open web browser if the phrase contains any URL.
  • Open folder in Windows Explorer if the items contains any file path.

Positioning the menu

Phrase menus appear near the mouse or text cursor as configured in the program settings.

To show the menu at a static position, click and drag the title bar of a phrase menu that has been triggered by autotext or hotkey, to the desired position. PhraseExpress will ask you to remember this position. To reset the static position, move the phrase menu again and select "No" when being prompted.

Desktop menus

Click the pin symbol in the top right of any phrase menu to keep the phrase menu visible the desktop:

Video demo

Double-click the title bar to expand/collapse desktop menus. To resize a desktop menu, click & drag the edges.

Desktop menus can show/hide automatically together with specific programs.

Example: A desktop menu may contain various bank account information and can optionally be displayed only, if you open a specific banking website or banking software. It automatically hides if you switch to another program. Program restricted desktop menus appear as they would be attached to specific programs and virtually become part of them.

To restrict a desktop menu to particular programs, right-click any desktop menu item or its title bar and select "Restrict to specific programs".

The program window

To open the main program window, double-click the task tray icon.

The PhraseExpress main program window allows you to edit and manage your phrases:

The left window pane shows all phrases of one or multiple loaded phrase databases.

Select a phrase or folder in the left tree view to edit its properties in the right window pane.

The root items in the first tree level represent the data source (phrase file or database) and their current state. Some of the root level items, such as the clipboard history, last used phrases folder or the autocomplete folders are system folders, that are managed by PhraseExpress.

Display options

Video tutorial

The phrase library can be shown in a two or three columns display mode which can be selected in the View menu or by pressing CTRL-2 / CTRL-3.

Click the "View" section above the main menu to get view options:

The classic Two columns view shows your phrases within the tree structure as you can see above.

Benefits:
  • Easy to browse through the library. Everything is one place.
  • Most compact user interface.

Collapse/expand folders with the program hotkeys for easy navigation in the tree.

The three column view visually shows the contents of a selected folder in a separate column:

The first column shows the folder structure. The second column shows the contents of the selected folder.

Right-click a column header to add/remove columns.

Click a column header to temporarily sort phrases and to toggle sort direction.

Benefits:
  • Easier navigation in folder structures with many items as it doest not space in the tree column.
  • The middle column can show additional details in customizable sub-columns.

To include contents of a all subfolders in the middle column, enable View » Flat List

The view options only change the presentation of contents in the program but not the actual structure the phrases are saved in the phrase file/database.

You cannot create phrases in flat list view.

Show phrases in tabs

Video tutorial

PhraseExpress can show phrases in tabs allowing you to easily switch between them.

To open a phrase in a tab, select and right-click another or multiple phrases and select "Open in tab":

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