This documentation refers to PhraseExpress v6 beta. The documentation for current v5 is available here.

Cloud synchronization

Cloud synchronization

PhraseExpress supports regular NAS network shares or cloud file sync services, such as Dropbox, Google Drive or Apple iCloudDrive or a self-hosted cloud service, such as OwnCloud, to share your phrase file over the internet with PhraseExpress on Windows or Mac

Synchronization with iPhone/iPad requires iCloud Drive.

  • If using a cloud service, all users must use the same cloud service account! The cloud service account is not the same account used to log into the device!
  • Online cloud synchronization services require some time to distribute the phrase file changes over the internet. Sync issues can occur if multiple users are editing the phrase file simultaneously while the cloud sync service is still busy distributing a file update. You can avoid such issues by restricting write permissions to only few or one single users.
  • If many users are editing phrases simultaneously, edit collisions and version conflicts may occur. In such case, you may want to consider using a SQL Server that prevent such edit collisions.


  • Easy setup. No server hardware/software required.
  • 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.

How it works

All users keep storing the phrases in the local phrase file.

One single user initiates the sharing setup 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. It works like a market place where all users exchange any edit change.

The sync folder can be located on a local network share (NAS) or any cloud sync folder.

The synchronization system drastically changed with release of PhraseExpress v5. If you were using an earlier version, you will need to reconfigure synchronization as decribed here.

Sharing a phrase file

To start sharing phrases with other users:
  1. Open the PhraseExpress program.
  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 sync 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.

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.

To join a shared phrase file:
  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.

Update: Beginning with v5.1, PhraseExpress will not replace the contents of the currently loaded phrase file but create a new phrase file "pexsync.pexdb". You can then manually copy/move/import your phrases into this new file if you wish to share your existing phrases with other users.

Do not load files in the sync folder directly via "File » Open".

Syncing changes

Before you can sync, PhraseExpress must have connected to the synchronization folder as described above.

To update phrase changes:
  1. Open the PhraseExpress main program window.
  2. Click the main menu button "Send/Receive Updates".

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").

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.

Sync log

PhraseExpress (v5.1.1+) keeps a log of all phrase file synchronization changes.

The status bar informs you about changes after synchronization. To open the log viewer, click "Details" in the status bar after a synchronization or click the small rectangle underneath the "Send/Receive changes" main menu button and select "Show sync log".

In the sync log viewer, you can review any change:

  • Double-click or right-click any item to jump to the corresponding phrase. Then right-click phrase that have been edited and select "version history" to evaluate the changes.
  • Click any column header to change sorting of the log. Click again on a header to reverse the sorting order.
  • Use the log search feature to find any log entry of interest.

Change entries are not necessarily edit changes. Every internal change and setting changes (such as changing the spelling language) may be logged as a change.

The log is stored inside of the phrase file. The log itself is not synchronized with other users. Every user has its own log.

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 » Manage sync users":

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 iPhone/iPad

PhraseExpress 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.

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

The iOS App is given away free-of-charge. We kindly ask for your understanding that we are not able to provide any technical support for the iOS App. Support for a paid desktop edition is limited to the desktop edition. Please use the App as-is.

Quit sharing

To discontinue sharing phrases with other users:
  1. Open the PhraseExpress program.
  2. Select "File » Stop synchronization":

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