PhraseExpress v13 Server - Manual

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The free PhraseExpress server allows multiple users to share a central phrase file in a local network.


  • Multiple users can use a common phrase file in a corporate network.
  • The server prevents access collisions and synchronization conflicts.
  • Read and write access rights can be configured for each username, usergroup, workgroup or domain.
  • Clients can simultaneously use individual and shared phrases.
  • Personal phrases roam with the user on every computer in the network ('roaming profiles').
  • The Client Manager provides central client and license management.
  • The restrictable client user interface minimizes operating errors and inhouse software training.
  • No license cost for the PhraseExpress Server or Client Manager. Only the clients are licensed.

If you plan to use PhraseExpress with more than 25 users, please consider using PhraseExpress with a Microsoft/Firebird SQL server.

Client/Server Architecture

The client-/server setup consists of three different programs:

Program Purpose

Server icon


The PhraseExpress server serves the central phrase file and licenses.

The PhraseExpress Server runs as a Windows service.

Client Manager icon

Client Manager

The Client Manager is the central management console. We strongly recommend to run it from the computer, that is running the PhraseExpress Server.

Client icon


The client provides the PhraseExpress functionality on the local Windows workstations.

The software is identical to the regular stand-alone software.


Installer iconInstallation of PhraseExpress in a client-/server environment consists of the server installation and the installation of the user Windows clients.

Server Installation

  1. Download the PhraseExpress server installation file (includes the Client Manager).
  2. Install the PhraseExpress server on a central computer with network access to all clients.
  3. We strongly recommend to install the Client Manager on the server PC. If not, make sure, that there is a NamedPipe network connection between the computer running the PhraseExpress Client Manager and the computer, running the PhraseExpress Server. Also make sure, that the user has access rights to NamedPipe connection to the PhraseExpress Server.
  4. If you have purchased licenses, register the license keys in the Client Manager.

Client Installation

  1. Install the PhraseExpress client (download) on all workstations.
  2. The client sends UDP broadcast polls to find the PhraseExpress Server in the network.
  3. The client connects to the server and automatically switch from the local phrase file to the server phrase file (indicated with a green exclamation mark in the task tray icon).
  4. The clients do not require a local license registration.

If UDP is blocked in your network, open the PhraseExpress client and choose File » Open » Connect to PhraseExpress server, and manually enter the server computer IP address.

For automated client deploymentment you can specify the server IP address with the client command-line parameter /SERVER=IP address:port.

Clients can also be configured after installation with a custom configuration file:

Minimal client configuration file example:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
  1. Replace the sample IP address with the actual the server IP address/port and save this file as a plain text file named "config.xml".
  2. Exit all clients.
  3. Copy the custom configuration file to the Winodows common application data folder "C:\ProgramData\PhraseExpress\config.xml"
  4. Delete the client configuration file on all Windows user application data folders ("C:\Users\[UserName]\AppData\Roaming\PhraseExpress\config.xml"). Any PhraseExpress user settings will be deleted.
  5. Clients will automatically switch to the PhraseExpress server on next client start.
  • Grant PhraseExpress network access in the firewall configuration.
  • Enable networking support is in the PhraseExpress client under Settings » Network.


To upgrade an existing installation to a newer version:
  1. Uninstall the current PhraseExpress server. All clients will automatically switch to a local phrase file backup.
  2. Older PhraseExpress versions will not be able to load phrase files, used with newer versions. You may want to backup your current phrase file before performing the upgrade.
  3. Download and upgrade all clients to the new version.
  4. Download and install the new PhraseExpress server. It will automatically load the phrase file of the previous version.

Switch from SQL server

To switch from using a SQL server to using the PhraseExpress Server:
  1. Export your phrases from your SQL server phrase database into a phrase file. Make sure to use a user account with access rights to all phrases.
  2. Deregister any license key from the “PhraseExpress SQL Client Manager”.
  3. Uninstall the “PhraseExpress SQL Client Manager”.
  4. Install the PhraseExpress Server (see above).
  5. Connect all clients with the PhraseExpress Server.
  6. Use any client to import the exported phrases into the PhraseExpress Server phrase file node.
  7. Use any client to remove the abandoned SQL phrase database root node in the phrase tree.
  8. Consider deleting the SQL phrase/license database from the SQL server.

If switching from using a SQL server, the phrase level feature is not available and user won't be able to edit phrases simultaneaously.

Server Configuration

The PhraseExpress server runs as an invisible Windows service in the background and is configured by the PhraseExpress Client Manager.

Server Tab

Enter the server computer name under Server location if the Client Manager and server are running on different computers. Otherwise keep the "." (punctuation mark).

The TCP port is used for the communication between the PhraseExpress server and the clients and must be changed only, if the default TCP port is occupied by another application in your network.

Do not configure ports that are used by other software (e.g. any port below 1025).

Reconfigure firewall configuration on all workstations after any IP address or port change.

Phrase file tab

Tab "phrase file" allows you to select the .pxp phrase file you wish to share with the connected clients.

The phrase file contains all phrases, hotkeys, autotexts, phrase folders, access rights settings. The PhraseExpress server uses the same phrase file format as the PhraseExpress client.

You can export a phrase file in any client, copy it to the server computer and load it into the PhraseExpress server via the Client Manager.

Do not replace the phrase file in Windows Explorer while the PhraseExpress server service is running!

The PhraseExpress server service would not recognize the change and the new file would be overwritten by the previous file if any PhraseExpress client makes any change. User the Client Manager to load another phrase file!

Monitor tab

The Monitor tab shows status information and connected clients.

Use the SHIFT- and CTRL-keys to highlight multiple users in the list.

Right-click the title bar of the user list to add/remove columns.

Click a column title to sort the users in the list. Click again to invert the sorting order.

Description of the monitor columns:

Column Description

The check boxes in the column "W" (for "write access") define, whether clients are generally allowed to edit phrases. If unchecked, options to add/remove/edit phrases will disabled in the clients to prevent operating errors.

This global write permission setting overrides any folder-based access permissions configured in the clients.

To change settings for all clients in one go, (un)check the check box in the title row and transfer this setting with the Set button. The check boxes in the title bar also define the default settings for new clients connecting for the first time. If you uncheck the "W" check box in the title bar, any client connecting for the first time will have no write access to the phrase file by default.

Avoid removing write access while a user is working on the phrase file as it may confuse the user.

The check boxes in the column "C" (for "configuration") define whether a client can change program settings. If unchecked, access to the program settings option is disabled to prevent configuration errors.

Change these settings for all clients in one go by (de)selecting the check box in the title row and applying this setting to all connected clients with the Set button. The check boxes in the title bar also define the default settings for new clients connecting for the first time. If you uncheck the "C" check box in the title bar, any client connecting for the first time will have no write access to the phrase file by default.

The IP address helps you identifying a a particular workstation computer.

User identification (by a customizable combination of user name, work group and computer name).

Shows parts of the license key associated to the user. It displays "local" if the client is registered with a local license.

ConcurrentUser licenses are automatically released from the user after disconnection.

The version number helps you identifying out-of-date client installations.

The Client Manager accumulates the time and money savings of all PhraseExpress clients.

The money savings accumulate do not reflect different currencies.

Release unused licenses

  1. Select the users you wish to remove from the list. Those must not be connected to the database.
  2. Click the Remove button.

The license returns to the pool of available licenses and can be occupied by the next client connecting to the server.

If using ConcurrentUser licenses, the states of the access and configuration rights are not stored. These settings are tied to the license keys that float between multiple users if using ConcurrentUser licenses.

You can hide/show individual columns by right-clicking the column title. You can completely disable the usage statistic function of the statistics by hiding both usage statistic related columns.

Disconnected clients are displayed in grey and you can remove their license key association by right-clicking the desired entry if you wish to use the associated license for another user.

If you try to remove write access from a user who is currently editing phrases, you will receive a warning message. Please avoid removing write access while a user is working on the phrase file as it may confuse the user.

License keys tab

If you have purchased PhraseExpress licenses for use with the PhraseExpress server, you need to register the license keys in the Client Manager:

  1. Launch the Client Manager and switch to the tab License keys.
  2. Copy the list of license keys into the Windows clipboard and paste it into the license keys input field.
  3. Make sure, that the Client Manager can access the internet and click the Update button to start the online validation procedure.

License key validation requires an internet connection. If no internet connection is available, install the Client Manager (without the Server service!) on any other PC within your network that has network access to the PhraseExpress server and access to the internet and validate the license keys from there. The license registration information is stored on the computer running the PhraseExpress server.

If using a Proxy Server, configure the proxy settings in the Client Manager as well.

You can unregister license keys for use with another PhraseExpress server installation at any time by removing the license keys from the Client Manager license key input field and pressing the Update button.

Do not register the clients locally if you register your installation in the Client Manager of the PhraseExpress server.


Each user client connecting to the PhraseExpress server requires a license.

A user is identified by following parameters:
Identifier Notes

A user is identified by the PhraseExpress server its Windows Logon user name.

A user is identified by the combination of the user name and the workgroup. This setting is suitable if there are multiple users with the same Windows user name in different workgroups.

A user is identified by the combination of the workgroup, computer name and user name.

You can configure the user identification in the Client Manager tab "License keys".

Licensing Variations

PhraseExpress is available in two licensing variations that you can choose during your purchase:

License Variation Explanation

Each PhraseExpress user is permanently tied to a particular license key which is taken from the pool of available license keys with the first connection of the user client. The license <-> user association is still valid, even if the user is not currently using the software.

This licensing type is recommended if a fixed number of permanent users are using PhraseExpress on a regular basis.

You can unbind a particular user from a license key in the Monitor tab of the Client Managers if the user is not currently connected with the PhraseExpress server. The user is then displayed in grey color in the list of clients and you can right-click the user to unbind the license key association. The license key is then put back into the pool of available license keys for another user.

Each PhraseExpress user gets a temporary license key from the pool of available license keys for the time, the user is connected to the PhraseExpress server. The license is automatically put back to the pool of available licenses if the user is disconnected from the PhraseExpress server.

This licensing type is recommended for part-time workers in a company.

Limitations of the Concurrent User licensing:
  • Concurrent User licenses are available for purchases of 10 or more Professional/Enterprise Edition licenses only.
  • The Network-Cache feature is not available with Concurrent User licenses.
  • As the settings for the general write- and configuration access rights (the check boxes "W" and "C" in the monitor tab of the Client Manager) are not stored as these settings are connected with the license <-> user binding which is temporarily if using Concurrent User licenses.

Addition information

  • Named- vs. Concurrent User licenses can be mixed on the same PhraseExpress server: Register the "Named User" license keys on the Client Manager first and launch the clients first which shall take these licenses. Then, register the Concurrent User licenses in the Client Manager which will be temporarily associated to floating users.
  • PhraseExpress adds the string "_TS" (without "") to the computer name if installed within a TerminalServer session. This allows you to simultaneously use PhraseExpress within a TerminalServer session and on the host PC which runs the TerminalServer.
Miscellaneous notes
  • Users without phrase file write access have no editing commands.
  • Users without configuration persmissions have settings menu commands in the user interface.
  • If multiple users have write access rights and if one user is currently editing a phrase, all other users temporarily have no access to functions to alter phrases until the editing process is finalized. If you wish to have simultaneous editing in the network, please check the SQL server option.
  • Depending on the PhraseExpress server configuration, phrase file changes may either be transmitted to all clients instantly or upon the next program launch on the workstation.

Data backup

The server creates a phrase file backup each time, a user changes the phrase file. Backups are located in the folder /PhraseExpress backup, located in the same folder as the main phrase file. You can set the number of backup files in the Client Manager. PhraseExpress automatically deletes the oldest backup file first.

To restore a backup:
  1. Stop the PhraseExpress server service by using the Windows Management Console.
  2. Rename the current phrase file with the file extension .pxp or move it to another folder.
  3. Change the file extension .bak of the desired backup file to the file extension .pxp and rename the file to the file name currently used by the PhraseExpress server (default file name is phrases.pxp).
  4. Restart the PhraseExpress server service.

Frequently backup your phrase file to different storage media to prevent losing your data, e.g. in case of hard disk failure.

File Locations

The PhraseExpress server saves its configuration to following file paths:

File name Description File Path


Configuration file of the PhraseExpress server

The configuration file is maintained by the Server and should not be touched. If you edit the configuration file, please make sure to stop the PhraseExpress server service first.

Windows Vista/7/8/10 32-Bit: C:\Windows\system32\ config\systemprofile\ AppData\Roaming\ PhraseExpress server\

Windows Vista/7/8/10 64-Bit: C:\Windows\SysWOW64\ config\systemprofile\ AppData\Roaming\ PhraseExpress server


This file contains the list of license keys and their associations to the users.


Log-file of the PhraseExpress server


Configuration file of the Client Manager

C:\Users\[User Name]\ AppData\Roaming\ PhraseExpress clientManager\

The storage location of the PhraseExpress client files on the workstations is described in chapter "Location of your personal data" of the client's manual.

Software Updates

To check for updates, connect your computer to the Internet and select the tab Online Updates » Check now in the Client Manager.

If a new version is available, stop the PhraseExpress server service and manually update all clients in the network. Then restart the PhraseExpress server Service. PhraseExpress clients must all have the same version number to avoid incompatibilities.

The online update feature on the client installations is disabled while the clients are connected to the PhraseExpress server. The reason is, that all clients must be updated in one go.


PhraseExpress can be uninstalled with the default methods provided by Microsoft Windows.

Uninstalling the PhraseExpress server will not delete the phrase file to prevent accidental data loss. Delete the phrase file (including automatically created backups) in Windows Explorer manually.

To continue using PhraseExpress clients stand-alone, check this step-by-step migration video tutorial.


Following trouble-shooting tips should be able to help you if you experience connection issues with the PhraseExpress Network Edition:


  • Make sure to use the latest software version. The PhraseExpress clients must have the same major version number as the PhraseExpress server. Example: If you use PhraseExpress v13 clients, you also must use a PhraseExpress server v13. You cannot use a v9 Server with a v13 client for example.
  • Make sure that the computer running the PhraseExpress server has a TCP/IP network connection to all computers running the PhraseExpress clients.
  • Check any firewall or any other “security” program does not block PhraseExpress from accessing the network.

Server Trouble-Shooting

  • Make sure to run the latest PhraseExpress server version.
  • Check whether if PhraseExpress server service is running on the server PC: Open the Windows Management Console by right-clicking the "My Computer" desktop icon and select the popup menu item "Management". Switch to the list of Services and find the entry "PhraseExpress server" from the list. Make sure that the PhraseExpress server service is marked as "Running". If "Stopped", click on "Restart". If this fails, reboot your computer and try again.
  • Launch the Client Manager and switch to the "Monitor" tab. Red-colored status text indicates a problem.
  • Clients automatically disconnect after trial period expiration. In this case, make a purchase decision if you wish to continue to use your current installation.
  • If you ran out of available licenses purchase additional licenses or remove license key association if you wish to use a license for another user.
  • Switch to Client Manager tab "log" and have your IT administrator inspecting the log file to identify entries that could point to a problem.

Client Trouble-Shooting

  • A green-colored exclamation mark in the task tray icon indicates a proper connection to the PhraseExpress server and everything should be fine. Hover the task tray icon for additional information.
  • If the task tray icon contains a red-colored exclamation mark, the client is not connected to a PhraseExpress server and uses a local phrase file instead:
    • Open the PhraseExpress client main program window, select Tools » Settings » Networking and enable the Networking option.
    • Connect to a PhraseExpress server by selecting File » Open » Connect to PhraseExpress server.
    • If the client cannot automatically find the server, your network configuration may blocks UDP broadcast polls used for the automatic server search. In this case, enter the server PC's IP address manually.
  • If the exclamation mark of the client task tray icon is missing, it lost network connection to the PhraseExpress Server and now uses a temporary copy of the network phrase file. Try to reconnect to the PhraseExpress server as explained above.

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