How may we assist you?

First Aid

  • Depending on the text insertion settings, PhraseExpress may use the Windows clipboard as a vehicle to insert phrases into a target application.

    As clipboard operations tend to lag, PhraseExpress waits a certain period of time allowing the clipboard to be filled with the phrase contents. If the default delay doesn't give the clipboard enough time, the clipboard insertion may be triggered too fast before the clipboard has been populated with the actual phrase. Solution: Increase the paste delays.
  • Make sure that no other clipboard related software is accessing/blocking the clipboard. Close any other software in the background to isolate potential incompatibilities or interferences.
  • The autocomplete feature is disabled by default. You can enable the feature in PhraseExpress Settings » AutoSuggest.
  • Sentences must be entered identically at least three times before they are considered by PhraseExpress for suggestion. Make sure, that you enter sentences without making typos to let PhraseExpress identify them as repetitive input.
  • Sentences must have a certain minimum length to be suggested.
  • Is the Text prediction feature configured to work in only specific applications?
  • The AutoSuggest feature is generally disabled for Asian languages.

Generally, text input is always received by the program window with active "input focus". Whenever the PhraseExpress phrase menu is triggered, the input focus switches away from the current program to PhraseExpress, enabling you to select the desired phrase. After phrase selection, the focus is switched back to the target program to paste the phrase.

If text is not inserted but you hear beeps or random actions on your desktop, the focus was not switched back to the intended target program.

Potential focus switch problems:
  • 3rd party programs may accidentally step in between the very short moment of switching focus and pasting the phrase into the target program. Examples: Notification popups of 3rd party applications, transparent full-screen overlay windows or poorly programmed background tasks may "steal" the focus. This may cause the text insertion being redirected into "Nirvana".
    Solution: Close any other software in the background to isolate potential incompatibilities or interferences.
  • PhraseExpress may be too fast in pasting the text than Windows is able to switch the focus back to the target application, if the PC is slow or under heavy load.
    Solution: Increase the PhraseExpress focus delay setting.
  • By default, PhraseExpress relies on Windows to switch the focus back to the last known program before PhraseExpress had focus. You may try and enabling the option Settings » text Output » "Force focus change" to make PhraseExpress explicitly set the program focus. If this option was set, try and disable it for testing.
  • Programs may get focus but the application does not set the input focus back to the input box it has before activating application fokus.

    Solutions:
    • Contact the maker of the application and ask for correction. It is out of our reach to change any such 3rd party application behavior.
    • Add PhraseExpress keypress simulation macros to navigate back to the desired input box. E.g., TAB jumps from input box to input box.
General work around in case of focus issues:
  1. CTRL-click a phrase to copy the it into the clipboard, instead of the target application.
  2. Point the input cursor into the target application.
  3. Use CTRL+V to manually paste the clipboard contents.

This can happen in text input boxes, when renaming a file or in some applications.

Background: When you select a phrase, the input focus moves away from the input box. When the input focus returns to the target app, some programs highlight the entire text of the input box.

Windows has the behavior to delete any highlighted text if you make any input and this is exactly what happens, if PhraseExpress wants to insert the text.

To test & replicate this phenomen without any influence by PhraseExpress:

  1. Place the cursor in the input box which already contains some text.
  2. Press ALT-TAB to switch focus to any other app.
  3. Press ALT-TAB again until the focus is back to the actual target application.

If the focus anywhere else in that program or if the text highlighted, then the text insertion issue is not PhraseExpress related.

Work around: Usually, such text highlighting goes away if you press the ArrowRight-key. Adding such keypress at the beginning of your phrase may solve the issue.

There are a few situations where PhraseExpress disables editing of phrases:

  • The local phrase file is set to read-only (file attribute "read-only" is set).
  • PhraseExpress was launched with the command-line parameter -readonly which disables editing functions. See chapter "Command line parameters".
  • You are trying to load a phrase file with an older PhraseExpress version. If the phrase file has been touched by any new PhraseExpress version client, it becomes write-protected for older versions which have become incompatible with the new phrase file format. Solution: Install the latest PhraseExpress version.
  • Phrase file provided by us may eventually be write-protected internally.
  • If using a PhraseExpress Server:
    • Editing is locked while the PhraseExpress window of another user on the network is opened to prevent simultaneous write collisions and synchronization issues. The status column of the Client Manager's monitor shows the current editor.
    • You may not have edit rights for a particular phrase folder.
    • If the network connection is interrupted, PhraseExpress falls back to a write-protected cache file. Editing is disabled as any change would be lost after PhraseExpress switches back to the network phrase file if the network connection is re-established again.
    • All PhraseExpress clients on the network must have the same version number. Editing may be disabled as older clients may not support features of a newer phrase file on the network.

PhraseExpress should launch in about 10 seconds with approx. 10k phrases.

The loading time depend on following parameters:
  • Phrase file location
  • Network speed
  • Number of phrases
  • Phrase contents
  • Computer performance (barely relevant for modern PCs)
Optimization tips:
  • Minimize redundancy:
    • If you use the same phrase multiple times in different phrase folders in your library, don't copy the phrase but use phrase links.
    • If you use the same text portions (e.g. signatures) within multiple phrases, create a global variable of the repetitive text and use the variable in the phrases.
  • Remove formatting from formatted text phrases wherever possible.
  • The obvious: Remove contents, that is not required.
  • Review bitmaps embedded in phrases: A bitmap, that may look stamp-sized in editor can have a 300MB uncompressed source. Consider linking bitmap files into a phrases rather than embedding the bitmap file itself into the phrase file. If you need to embed bitmaps, make sure that you embed the bitmap in the size you actually need.
  • If you have many formatted phrases and/or bitmaps, consider using PhraseExpress with a SQL Server that transmits the contents of any phrase to the client only when actually needed.
  • Review the clipboard cache contents and consider restricting the max number items in this folders. You many also enable the option to clear the cache on program shutdown.
To resolve unwanted text replacements:
  • If you delete the text replacement with Backspaces, PhraseExpress will suppress the text replacement for the very next time you enter it's associated autotext abbreviation. This unwanted autotext detection can be configured in the program settings under "Settings » Features".
  • Alternatively, press & hold the SHIFT-key and click the PhraseExpress tray icon right after an unwanted text replacement occurred. PhraseExpress will open the edit window of the unwanted text replacement, allowing you to edit the autotext or hotkey association. You can also restrict the detection of the autotext to specific programs.
  • Or, right-click the PhraseExpress task bar icon to get additional options to exclude that phrase or PhraseExpress in general from particular programs by unchecking the context menu option "Detect typing in [program xyz]".
  • Perhaps, it's not PhraseExpress, doing the text replacement: Exit PhraseExpress and repeat entering the text, that triggered the unwanted text replacement. PhraseExpress can't replace text if it is not running. If the text replacement still occurs, you would need to investigate which other application may cause the unwanted behavior (e.g. Microsoft Office AutoCorrect).

If you get an unwanted popup menu with text suggestions or phrases, you can right-click such entry in the popup menu to get options to prevent future suggestions.

You can define a custom hotkey to open the last executed phrase in the PhraseExpress settings in the program setttings under "Settings » Hotkeys".

If an imported phrase file has no contents:
  • Check the phrase file size in Windows Explorer. If it shows 0 KB, it really may be empty. It either never had contents or the phrase file has been exported by user who had no read access permission.
  • You may not have such read access permissions to the contents within the phrase file. Contact the user who exported the phrase file and let him add read permission to your user name.
  • The contents may accidentally be deleted and reside in the recycle bin. Click the recycle bin to expand any content (if any).

Slow program start?

With Windows 10 Update to 1903, the "ActiveProtection" feature of Acronis TrueImage software seem to start blocking mouse hooks. PhraseExpress uses such mouse hook to display phrase menus at the mouse pointer position, for example.

Solution: Consider disabling "ActiveProtection" in Acronis and consider contacting Acronis for a solution. We will not be able to circumvent interferences caused by a 3rd party application.