Did you remember my post about PhraseExpress and PhraseExpander? These software are running under Windows OS and they are very helpful automation software. But, what about in Linux? Does Linux have similar application?

Of course! Any superb Windows application always has its Linux version. They are not literally the same applications because mostly, they come from different developer and different “shape” (read: different user interface). But they are pretty helpful to habituate the newly migrated Windows user so that they fell “like at home”.

For the Linux version of PhraseExpress and PhraseExpander, we have Autokey. The basic concept is just the same: you create the most-used words/phrases list, assign the abbreviation text as a trigger, and done.

There are a lot of Autokey tutorials on internet that you can read and practice by yourself. One of my favorite tutorials is here: The explanation is sequentially clear enough. So, whether you already experienced or not with the similar auto-text software, you will get understood about how to use Autokey easily.

How to install Autokey?

Linux is awesome. We do not need to manually download single installation file to get a particular application to work in our system. Just open up your synaptic / software center (or whatever the name) and search Autokey. Once you find it, mark it for installation. Or you can do it through your favorite terminal. It should take seconds to install because of its tiny size.

After installation, you may find Autokey’s icon (letter A) in your system tray. If you cannot find it, open up your software launcher and type “Autokey” (without quotation mark). If you still cannot find it, you may need to restart your system. If you are running PCLinuxOS like me, you can easily find it in More applications – Configurations in the start menu.

How to configure and use Autokey?

Actually, nothing special to do after installing Autokey. But of course, you still need to make your Autokey quickly usable, at least, for now (as the beginning). Later, you can explore more and more to find the right feature(s) that will fit your need. For a very detail Autokey configuration, please refer to the tutorial on this page.

Step #1

Open up your Autokey by clicking (or sometimes double-clicking) on A icon on your system tray.


Autokey icon in the system tray

It will bring the following Autokey user interface:


Autokey main UI

Go to Edit – Preferences menu, then set the parameter as follow:


Autokey basic parameters

Step #2

Choose New – Phrase to build phrase list. You can also choose New – Folder to group and organize your phrase list.


Create new phrase


Creating name of phrase

Type the most used word or phrase that you want to be in the Autokey database. It will be used as a “name” to identify your word / phrase. Then, click OK. After it appears on the left panel, type your real word or phrase, and set the abbreviation. You can put address, recipes, shopping list, first aid items, etc. Put any word / phrase that you will use very often.


Adding phrase


Set abbreviation

Click Add to add your preferred abbreviation for your chosen word or phrase. Click OK.

Do the same step to put other words or phrases into your list. Later, whenever you type the abbreviation then followed by pressing space button, your abbreviation will expand into full word / phrase. It will save your precious typing time, reduce the typo (typing mistakes), and also reduce Repetitive Strain Injury caused by typing the same word / phrase all the time.

If you are good at programming, you can use your ability to automate specific task by creating a script and insert it into your Autokey database.


All in all, Autokey is a perfect replacement for PhraseExpress and PhraseExpander that cannot run under Linux distribution. If you are doing the same office typing tasks all the time, Autokey will save you a lot.

Posted on June 1, 2015, in Linux Tools, Utilities and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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