This documentation refers to PhraseExpress v5 beta. The documentation for current v4 is available here.


PhraseExpress is installed like most regular programs on a Mac:

Step-by-step video tutorial

  1. Download the installation file.
  2. Double-click the installation file.
  3. Click and drag the PhraseExpress symbol from left to right onto the Applications folder:

  4. Launch PhraseExpress. It will show a start wizard if launched for the first time.

Important macOS settings

Do not skip the important macOS configuration steps!

Due to security mechanisms implemented in macOS, PhraseExpress prompts you to grant access to following security settings:

  • Accessibility - Enables PhraseExpress its basic services of detecting autotext and hotkey input.
  • Screen Recording - Enables PhraseExpress to switch application focus to insert text into the desired target program.
  • Full Disc Access - This setting is only required if you want PhraseExpress to sync phrases with other Macs, iOS devices or Windows computers.

PhraseExpress never transmits your files or mouse/keyboard input over the internet (see our privacy policy).

MacOS seem to want you re-confirming above security settings after each software update: Exit PhraseExpress after the update, delete the PhraseExpress entry from the list and click the +-button to re-add PhraseExpress.

Make sure to exit PhraseExpress before re-applying the checkmark in macOS privacy setting! Otherwise mouse clicks would be blocked and you would need cold reboot the Mac: Press the power button for a couple of seconds to perform a system reset.

The macOS security & privacy database seem to become unstable at times. To perform a reset of Accessibility settings (of all Apps!), use command "sudo tccutil reset Accessibility" in the macOS Terminal App.

Configure macOS autotext

MacOS includes text replacement and spelling correction features that may collide with PhraseExpress. You might want to configure macOS if you want to use the same autotext shortcuts in PhraseExpress to prevent conflicts:

MacOS 13 Ventura

cross-platformTo configure text replacement in macOS 13:
  1. Open the macOS System Preferences » Keyboard » Text Replacements…:

  2. Review your text replacement entries and delete those, you wish to assign in PhraseExpress, or make sure not to use the same autotext abbreviations in PhraseExpress:

MacOS has a built-in spelling correction which you should prefer. However, if you also use Windows PC and wish to build a Windows/Mac cross-platform spelling correction library, you should consider disabling spelling correction on the Mac to avoid interference between both correction mechanisms.

  1. In section Keyboard, press the "Edit" button:

  2. Consider disabling the macOS system spelling correction:

If you wish to use the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate through PhraseExpress forms and phrase menus, consider enabling the "full keyboard access" macOS feature:

  1. Go to macOS "System Preferences » Accessibility":

  2. Enable "Full Keyboard Access":

MacOS 11 Big Sur (out-of-date)

To configure text replacement in macOS 11/12:
  1. Open the macOS System Preferences:

  2. Open section Keyboard:

  3. Switch to section "Text" and either uncheck "Correct spelling automatically" or delete the autotexts that you intend to use in PhraseExpress:

  4. If you wish to use keyboard arrow keys and TAB to conveniently navigate in forms with the keyboard, switch to section "Shortcuts" und set option "Use keyboard navigation...":

Upgrade an existing installation

PhraseExpress v5 introduces a new phrase storage format and changed the way how to sync between computers.

The old PXI phrase file format has retired. If you upgrade a stand-alone installation, PhraseExpress converts the phrases of your PXI file into the new database format and uses this new database. This should be a seamless procedure in regular setups. Keep the copy of your pxi phrase file!

To upgrade a stand-alone installation to a newer version:
  1. Backup your current phrases by exporting the phrase file.
  2. Download the latest PhraseExpress version.
  3. Install the new version over the current installation.
  4. If you have purchased a maintenance renewal, you need to replace the expired license key with the new license key.

If the new version does not automatically find the phrase file of the previous installation, load the phrase file manually.

Please check the program version history for features and specifications changes. Especially larger version jumps may require macro programming adjustments. New versions may require an updated phrase file format to support new features. In such case, older version will not be able to load the phrase file.

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Table of Contents