PhraseExpress AutoText combines autocomplete with macros in one versatile free tool that can type phrases, sentences, and other text automatically when the program detects certain keystrokes or manually via hot keys. Its AutoText feature lets you designate abbreviations for frequently used words and phrases such as your address. When you type the abbreviation, PhraseExpress automatically enters the expanded text.
The central access point for PhraseExpress is the program's system tray icon. Here we could open the settings page as well as enter new phrases, access the last used entry, and clear the clipboard cache. We opened the settings, which actually consists of two pages: a main page for managing phrases and folders and a more detailed page of options that we could access via the Tools menu. On this second page, we could configure everything from pop-up behavior to expert options such as delays and advanced text prediction settings. We could also choose audio files for system sounds, configure network proxy settings, and set paste and e-mail delivery methods.
But we wanted to know how PhraseExpress worked, so we clicked New Phrase and entered a description, phrase, and hot key choice in the main Settings page. Our first hot key choice was taken by another program, but our second was accepted. We opened Word and started typing, and then pressed our hot key. PhraseExpress typed the full phrase quickly. In this way, we were able to configure a variety of commonly used phrases and data fields, like home and work addresses, phone numbers, and disclaimers. The AutoText feature will be familiar to anyone who has used autocomplete, but PhraseExpress offers several useful options, including manual confirmation, delimiters, and expert options. A Web-based manual offered detailed instructions as well as tips. All in all, PhraseExpress proved quite a useful and capable tool, and one that we're likely not only to keep but also to use.