PhraseExpress: multi-function software makes typing faster and more convenientDecember 3, 2011 16 Email article | Print article
Most people enjoy using T9 (or something similar) on their cell phones when typing text messages. Since T9 uses an advanced behavioral detection algorithm (I don’t know if “behavioral detection algorithm” is a real term… I just made it up =P) to suggest the words T9 thinks you want. This makes it easier, faster, and more convenient to type out a message on your cell phone (the alternative would be typing out each letter for each word which can take forever if you have a normal keypad). PhraseExpress is a software which does similar things for you on your computer.
I have always dreaded using a T9 like app on my computer because most of them tend to be annoying and get in the way more than help. However PhraseExpress is designed with the end user experience in mind: you will rarely, if ever, find it slowing you down and it definitely increases productivity:
The main attraction of PhraseExpress revolve around making it easy for you reuse frequent phrases; when PhraseExpress detects you typing a phrase you use frequently, you can auto-complete it in one click/keypress (by default the keypress is set to be “Tab” but you can change it) instead of having to type the whole sentence. Other features include:
- Autotext – you can set PhraseExpress to automatically expand on abbreviations you use.
- Spell Checker – PhraseExpress has the ability to check your spelling.
- Clipboard Manager – PhraseExpress monitors your clipboard and allows you to paste words/phrases you copied recently instead of just the last ones. You can optionally make PhraseExpress purify the text also. Only text is monitored and stored by the Clipboard Manager.
- Text Snippets – you can store short text snippets, such as an e-mail signature, famous quotes, or form filling information, into PhraseExpress and paste them back easily whenever you want. The text in the snippets can be fully formatted.
- Program Launcher – PhraseExpress allows you to create text shortcuts which can launch programs/websites/open files/open folders when used.
The usage of PhraseExpress is not limited to what I just described; PhraseExpress can be used in many more clever ways.
You can assign hotkeys and/or text shortcuts to active/use any of the features mentioned:
To get a better understanding of the features I just mentioned watch this short demo video (by the developer):
To make it easy on new users, PhraseExpress has the ability to import phrases/relevant data from programs such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Outlook, AutoHotKey, and GhostTyper. PhraseExpress even has a standalone “PhraseExpress Importer” which can turn a list of text into PhraseExpress compatible entries.
The best part about PhraseExpress is it is not limited to working on a few programs on your computer; PhraseExpress is an independent program which works with most, if not all, programs which involve text and typing. However take note of one thing: PhraseExpress conflicts with KeyScrambler. This is not really PhraseExpress’s fault because the job of KeyScrambler is to make sure keyloggers are unable to log keys; PhraseExpress just comes in just collateral damage. While your computer will not crash if you run KeyScrambler and PhraseExpress together, you will notice how PhraseExpress will never give you proper word/phrase suggestions or properly learn words/phrases for/from programs that use KeyScrambler (because KeyScrambler, literally, scrambles the keys so no other program can read it properly). You will, however, still be able to use the PhraseExpress features that work via hotkeys.
On that same note, there are two handy features of PhraseExpress which I feel are a little bit hidden from plain sight so users may not know they exist:
- If you Ctrl + Left mouse click on the PhraseExpress system tray icon, you can disable PhraseExpress. To enable it, simply Ctrl + Left mouse click again.
- PhraseExpress allows you to set PhraseExpress to not work with certain programs. This feature becomes handy when you have situations like the one I mentioned above with KeyScrambler (i.e. you could use this feature to disable PhraseExpress with all programs that you use KeyScrambler for).
To access this exclude-certain-programs-from-working-with-PhraseExpress-feature, you first need to right click on the PhraseExpress system tray icon -> “Settings” -> “Tools” -> “Settings” -> “Features” and enable (check the box) “Expert Mode”. After you have enabled expert mode, go back to the main settings window, click on “PhraseExpress” at the very top, and enable (check the box) “Execute only in certain applications”:
You will then be able to set PhraseExpress to either only work with specific programs or to not work with specific programs:
Now, not everyone speaks English or uses English letters. Therefore, to accommodate non-English speakers, PhraseExpress has full Unicode support and you have the ability to download auto-correct dictionaries for six different languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Dutch, and Portuguese.
Lastly, there is one non-feature related thing about PhraseExpress you should know. At the end of installing PhraseExpress, “install sample phrase library” will be checked by default:
Leaving that checked is just fine. In fact I suggest everyone leave that checked because then PhraseExpress creates handy auto-correct and other libraries for you to use (if you uncheck “install sample phrase library” you will have to create your own libraries and/or import from Microsoft Word and other sources). However, what you should know is part of the library which is created is a “websites” category. The “websites” category contains links to popular websites like Buy.com, Geeks.com, etc. Each of these links is an affiliate link:
In other words, if you visit these links (if you and purchase something from the website, the developer of PhraseExpress will earn some revenue. Now affiliate links are of no harm to you or anyone that clicks on them; they serve as a way for publishers, developers, webmasters, etc. to earn some extra revenue – they do not affect your purchase price or purchase experience in any way, shape, form, or fashion. So don’t let the fact that they are affiliate links scare you in any way. These affiliate links are a way for PhraseExpress’ developer to make some extra revenue (remember they are providing a free software). I just figured I should give users the heads up so they exactly what is going on. If you want, you can always delete this “websites” category from your PhraseExpress database (simply right click it and select “delete”).
Anyway, overall, while PhraseExpress will take some getting used to, it is one of those tools which you get addicted to; you will be unable to live without it after you use it. You may download PhraseExpress from the following link:
Version Reviewed: v6.0.156
Supported OS: Windows 2000/2003/XP/Vista
Although not officially supported, it works fine on Win7.
Usage Limitations: Free for non-commercial/personal use only; $49.95 for a single license for commercial usage with volume discounts available.