How to Automate Typing Phrases and Text on Windows

How to Automate Typing Phrases and Text on Windows

Many moons ago, we wrote about PhraseExpress. The digital landscape has since evolved, but the software remains mostly unchanged. While there have been some improvements, there are still lingering issues that detract from its user experience.

Why Change When Not Broken

The team behind PhraseExpress retains the DNA that made it great. This software automates typing, suggests words, and auto-corrects text in Windows. For example, typing ‘hbd’ results in an elongated Happy Birthday message. It works in MS Office, browsers, and other applications. Once installed, you’re all set.

Assign hotkeys with CTRL+ALT+C and add phrases as you like. The menu now includes Macro Functions, Special Functions, Famous Quotes, and Salutations, making it more comprehensive.

The auto-correct and insert suggestions feature is now available, and it was good even before. To temporarily disable it, use the taskbar icon while the software is running in the background.

How to Automate Typing Phrases and Text on Windows

Hello Macro Functions!

This is an excellent addition to PhraseExpress, allowing you to easily insert the current date, time, and year using custom keyboard shortcuts. With this feature, you can effortlessly incorporate these elements into your writing, eliminating the need for manual typing. It’s a convenient and customizable tool that adds an extra touch of sophistication.

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How to Automate Typing Phrases and Text on Windows

A wide assortment of macro functions are already included, and you can add or edit the ones that are most helpful. Some macro functions automate calculations in programs like MS Excel.

Thought only specific macros working on limited options were included in the latest release? Dead wrong. Actual macros built into the software also work well. Additionally, there’s a list for programmers who don’t want to repeatedly type out entire syntax. They can assign hotkeys for convenience.

How to Automate Typing Phrases and Text on Windows

You can import your own macros, if you have helpful ones set up.

Special Functions and Famous Quotes

Another valuable addition is the integration of Special Functions and Famous Quotes. Special Functions allow you to enter mathematical calculations directly into any document, including MS Word. Just type a formula like “7890*9854=” and when you press the spacebar, you will be prompted to press the Tab key to insert the result. If you don’t need the result, simply disregard the prompt. This feature is incredibly user-friendly.

How to Automate Typing Phrases and Text on Windows

Famous Quotes is exactly what it sounds like. If you want to add a famous quote to your writing, simply type ‘##quotes’ and a list of pre-entered quotes will be available. You can add as many as you want. No more writer’s block? It’s a start.

How to Automate Typing Phrases and Text on Windows

And the Cons

Baby Likes to Ignore

Using PhraseExpress wasn’t always smooth sailing, to be honest. The auto-correct feature was the worst part. If you make a typing mistake and the software corrects it for you, just go along with it. If you manually delete and correct it, the software will automatically add the word to the ‘ignore’ list without asking. This was the most frustrating aspect of using the software. Sometimes, I would accidentally hit backspace and the word would be added to the ignore list, which was quite annoying.

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How to Automate Typing Phrases and Text on Windows

Update: PhraseExpress has clarified that the unwanted autotext detection doesn’t add your input to an ignore list, but just ignores the autotext the next time you enter it. If you don’t like it, you can disable it in Settings > Features > Detect unwanted autotext.

Workaround Available: Although you can work around this issue by selecting the text and hitting delete, it is not the ideal solution to a frustrating issue.

Ultimately, it boils down to how much you can remember and how much automation can help you. I can see how programmers and writers can benefit from this, but they need to have a good memory to remember all those keyboard shortcuts and hotkey combos. Otherwise, it’s a slippery slope.

How to Automate Typing Phrases and Text on Windows

Surely Better but Wanting More

PhraseExpress has remained free for years and offers many great features. It could benefit from a few tweaks, but even in its current state, it is not bad. As James A. Froude once said, “Experience teaches slowly and at the cost of mistakes.”

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