Edit phrases

To edit a phrase:
  1. Open the main program window.
  2. Select the phrase in the tree view on the left.
  3. Edit the phrase properties in the right window pane.

Phrase properties

Phrases have following properties:

Phrase description

The description is used to identify the phrase in the phrase menu.

Use short and distinctive descriptions.

Begin descriptions with the most important/distinctive part as narrow phrase menus may visually cut-off the end.

Phrase content

The phrase content consists of text (including macro functions) that is inserted into the target application when the phrase is called, and can be saved with or without text formatting.

Unformatted phrases automatically turn into formatted phrase if you paste formatted text or bitmaps or if you start using text formatting (bold, italics, underline, font) functions. To remove text formatting, right-click into the phrase content box and select "Remove Formatting".

The formatting status is indicated by the phrase tree icon:


  • Phrase without text formatting and without bitmaps.
  • Phrase formatting adapts current formatting of the target document/application.
  • Efficient and memory resource friendly.
  • The text formatting automatically adapts to the formatting in the target application.

We strongly recommend to prefer unformatted phrases for maximum flexibility and compatibility.

  • Phrases with formatted text and/or bitmaps.
  • Requires more space in the phrase file.

Use only, if text formatting, tables or bitmaps are required.


Optional triggers execute a phrase or open a phrase menu. For example, the autotext trigger "asap" may execute the phrase "as soon as possible":

Some triggers have an option to execute a phrase immediately if the trigger condition is met if button is pressed. Otherwise, the phrase is offered to be executed which can be accepted or dismissed on a case-by-case basis.


A hotkey (or "keyboard shortcut", "key combo", etc.) is a combination of multiple simultaneous keypresses to trigger phrases or to open phrase menus.

PhraseExpress can insert a phrase if you press its associated hotkey. For example, pressing CMD+ALT+S can be assigned to insert your signature.

To assign a hotkey to a phrase, under "Trigger" select "hotkey", click "Record Shortcut" and then press the desired hotkey:

Many two-key shortcuts are already reserved by other programs. PhraseExpress shows a warning symbol if a hotkey is likely to interfere. We recommend to use combinations of at least two of the CTRL, ALT,CMD, SHIFT keys plus an additional character.

Reuse hotkeys

The number of available hotkeys is limited and it would be difficult to memorize hotkeys for a large number of phrases.

To overcome that, you can re-use the same hotkey for multiple phrases. For example, you can assign the same hotkey CMD+ALT+S to a variety of email signatures.

If you press such hotkey, PhraseExpress collects all phrases with the same hotkey and present them in a phrase menu.

You can then select the desired phrase.

Hotkeys for phrase folders

Hotkeys can also be assigned to a phrase folder, that contains multiple phrases or additional subfolders.

This provides you with quick & easy access to a very large number of phrases with a single keypress.

For example, you could use the hotkey CMD+ALT+F to access a phrase folder holding all your finance related phrases. Another hotkey CMD+ALT+P may show all product related phrases.

If you trigger a phrase folder by hotkey, PhraseExpress adds a New phrase… command at the bottom, allowing you to create new phrases in that specific folder.

Application example:

Imagine, you have a product related text in any program you wish to store in your product info phrase folder:

  1. Highlight the product information text.
  2. Press CMD+ALT+P to open the product related phrase folder.
  3. Press the ArrowUp key to reach the bottom menu folder entry, which is the New phrase… command.
  4. Press ENTER and finish creating the phrase.


Autotexts are text abbreviations that are replaced with a longer phrase. Such text shortcuts can also trigger macro automations.

Sample applications:
  • Entering the abbreviation 'FBI' can be automatically be expanded to 'Federal Bureau of Investigation'.
  • Typing mistakes are corrected as you type: 'tpyo' » 'typo'.
  • Enter an autotext to launch an application. For instance, typing 'calc' can launch the Windows calculator.

In PhraseExpress, autotext works in most programs and offers significantly more functionality.

To assign an autotext to a phrase (folder):
  1. Under "Trigger" select "Autotext":

  2. Enter the desired text abbreviation in the next input box.
  3. Select an autotext option from the drop-down next to the autotext input box:

Make sure to configure autotexts, that do not interfere with your regular typing.

Autotext options


The autotext is recognized after pressing ENTER, TAB, SPACE or any default trailing delimiter such as punctuation marks:

Default delimiter

This is the recommended default setting.

Autotext is recognized immediately after typing the last character of the autotext:

Execute immediately

Avoid this setting if the defined autotext can be part of a word. E.g., if you would choose the autotext "hav", it would unwantedly trigger a text replacement whenever you enter the regular words "have", "behave", etc.

The phrase is offered in a popup menu instead of being inserted automatically

Execute Optionally

You can either accept the phrase by pressing the confirmation key or you can ignore the offer to insert by continuing to type.

Phrase are suggested in a popup menu if you enter the beginning of its description


You do not need to define an Autotext.

Press the confirmation key to insert the phrase or continue to type and the menu will disappear.

Selecting SmartComplete automatically enables caps sensitivity and manual confirmation option.

The expert options allow advanced users to configure autotext in detail.

The expert options are – really – only suitable for experts. Newbies go elsewhere.

Reuse autotext

To reduce the number of autotext to be memorized, the same autotext shortcut can be assigned to multiple phrases.

If you type such autotext in any application, PhraseExpress presents all phrases with the same autotext in a phrase menu:

Phrase menu

You can then select the desired phrase.

Autotext, that are associated to multiple phrases are indicated in the autotext input box of the main program window with the icon .

RegEx Autotext

This trigger option executes a phrase if your text input matches the specified regular expression. Examples are available if you click the arrow icon:

A regular expression (shortened as "regex") is a sophisticated text matching system. PhraseExpress provides a selection of RegEx autotext examples if you click the triangle icon of the input box.

For example, a phrase folder can automatically be shown if you enter any email address. This is different from regular autotext where you could only define a specific email address which wouldn't make much sense.

Stay clear if you don't know how to use RegEx. It's for experts only!


This trigger executes a phrase if the focus switches to the program window with the specified program name and window title.

For example, you can automatically show a specific phrase folder whenever you launch or switch to a specific program window.


This trigger executes a phrase every day at the time specified.


This trigger executes a phrase if the Windows clipboard is filled with the text string specified for this trigger. You can use "*" (without "") as a wildcard.

Application example: When copying a specific email address into the clipboarad, PhraseExpress offers a choice of actions (for example, sending a predefined email to this very email address).

RegEx Clipboard

"RegEx clipboard" triggers a phrase if the clipboard contents matches the specified regular expression.

Application example: When copying any internet address to the clipboard, PhraseExpress can show a phrase menu to offer different actions for the copied URL (for example, opening it in the browser, sending the URL with an additional text by e-mail, etc.).

A regular expression (shortened as "regex") is a sophisticated text matching system. PhraseExpress provides a selection of RegEx autotext examples if you click the triangle icon of the input box.

Stay clear if you don't know how to use RegEx. It's for experts only!

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