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First Aid

To resolve Microsoft Excel issuing the error message "Picture is too large and will be truncated" on clipboard operations, configure the PhraseExpress Clipboard Manager to "remove text formatting":

If you receive the error "pexkey.dll too old" on program launch, a software update or a re-installation over an existing PhraseExpress installation seem to have gone wrong.

  1. Uninstall PhraseExpress (No worries. Phrases won't be deleted and you can keep your settings).
  2. Reboot computer. Don't miss this step.
  3. Reinstall PhraseExpress

The Variable Manager introduced in PhraseExpress v14 has been removed in PhraseExpress v15 to provide more functionality.

Info video

When the phrase file is loaded for the first time, PhraseExpress v15 converts your global variables into regular phrases, which are stored in a new phrase folder "Variables".

You can then drag these phrases into any phrase for use as before.

  • Previously, any user could modify or even delete the global variables without access rights restrictions. The earlier variables now stored as regular phrases can now be access restricted.
  • Variables can now also be restricted to certain programs.
  • The variables now stored as text blocks can be used with all other PhraseExpress functions (Search, Find and Replace, etc.)

The PhraseExpress client stores the settings in the user application data folder "%appdata%\PhraseExpress\" in file "config.xml"

Potential issues if settings are reset to default values or altered:
  • PhraseExpress was not properly shut-down after settings change. To make sure, that settings are written to the computer storage, exit the PhraseExpress client after making the setting change or license key registration.
  • PhraseExpress could not save or load file onto the hard disk because of access restriction applied to the config file.
  • A 3rd party backup solution blocked access to the file at the time of writing or reading the file.
  • A 3rd party sync service restored an earlier version of the configuration file (that doesn’t carry the settings change).
  • The config file is not available at startup of PhraseExpress, e.g. if your Windows application data folders are not stored locally but on a network drive which may not be not present at the time PhraseExpress is started.
  • You have changed your Windows user name or you switched to a Microsoft Account based identification for Windows log-on.

Please monitor the modified date stamp of above configuration files to investigate the potential cause.

Autotext replacements are suppressed if you press a specific hotkey directly after typing an autotext.

For example, the autotext "FBI" wouldn't be expanded to "Federal Bureau of Investigation" if you press the autotext suppression hotkey directly after entering the autotext. This gives you a case-by-case choice to have the autotext being executed as needed.

The (customizable) default hotkey is pressing 2x SHIFT. Unfortunately, it seems to be easily entered by accident.

Solution: Open PhraseExpress settings, switch to section "hotkeys" and select another hotkey or delete the hotkey association if you don't need this feature:

PhraseExpress doesn't launch with the window open by default. It only shows the program window, if you run the program again while it is already running in the background. If PhraseExpress shows up on Windows startup, you seem to have multiple PhraseExpress entries in your startup configuration.


Try cleanup the Windows startup section by unchecking and re-checking the autostart option in PhraseExpress settings:

If this doesn't solve the issue, review your autostart entries with the original Microsoft tool "Sysinternal Autoruns" and delete any abaondoned or duplicate PhraseExpress entry. This tools generally gives you great insight what is launched on your computer.

Alternatively, use the Windows File Explorer to manually clean up the StartUp folders:

  1. Remove all(!) PhraseExpress entries from both folders "%appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup\" and "%programdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp\"
  2. Open PhraseExpress Preferences " Features and uncheck "Start PhraseExpress automatically with the system" and check it it again (if desired).

If PhraseExpress prompts for a password and if you are 100% sure, that you never applied a password protection, either someone else entered a password or the phrase file may be corrupt.

In most cases, this can happen, if the computer has been reset, switched off or crashed while PhraseExpress was busy writing the file.

Don't panic! PhraseExpress creates backups and you can easily restore previous versions of your phrase file.

To avoid this situation in the future:
  • Make sure, that PhraseExpress can finish writing all files when the program is shut-down.
  • Never switch off the computer while it is powering down.
  • Consider enabling the option flush the Clipboard Manager feature on program exit. This will avoid long write actions in case of large clipboard contents in the clipboard cache. Or disable the Clipboard Manager altogether.

Phrases with WYSIWYG form controls contain the display resolution information (DPI) which may be incompatible for modern high-resolution displays.

Solution: You would need to re-create the WYSIWYG form elements to have them auto-adapt with your actual display resolution.

Accented characters are letters that are entered by sequentially pressing multiple keys on your keyboard, such as á, é, í, ó, ú, ü, ñ, ¿, ¡

If setting the OS to a specific language, make sure that the keyboard settings matches the input language. For example, if the language is set to Dutch, then configure the keyboard setting to "United States-International keyboard for Dutch".

If using PhraseExpress along with other applications with keyboard input detection (called "keyboard hooks"), such as AutoHotkey, Intellitype, etc, accented characters cannot be processed correctly because of interference of those programs.

Solution: Do not run multiple such programs simultaneously.