Copying “unselectable” screen texts is easy!

Have you got the widely spread FineReader from ABBYY? It is a tool used to extract text from PDF documents (and of course also for OCR-ing of paper documents; and similar tasks). If so, you may – like me – have missed that it includes a useful extra tool called the ABBYY Screenshot Reader, used for copying text in e.g. message boxes, file handlers and other places where you cannot just select the text and copy&paste it into Word or other places. It’s actually an excellent tool, very easy to use (and not particularly expensive either, if you don’t have FineReader – you can buy it separately at €9.95) and as I said, very useful. I’m sure that you, like me, many times have had occasion to copy by hand long texts in error messages – well, no more.

The latest version of FineReader is 11; I have version 10 and discovered that the Screenshot Reader is included there, too. All you have to do to check is select Start > All Programs > ABBYY FineReader, and if you have a recent enough version, this is what you see:


I suggest you place a shortcut icon in a corner of your screen so that it is easily available when you need it.

Basic editing functions to be familiar with and/or investigate

What follows is a (rather long) list of functions which I have found to be useful regardless of which job you are working on. If you are just starting to use Studio, chances are you are not familiar with all of them.

Note: Due to the intricacies of the various possible levels of settings – see p. 80 of the manual – any changes made via Tools > Options > Editor are not enforced in the currently open document but will only be activated the next time you open a project.

Confirmation, navigation between segments

(For the sake of simplicity, I use the term “segment” even if, strictly, a “row” is meant.)

Confirm a translated segment and move to next unconfirmed segment Ctrl+Enter
Confirm a translated segment and move to next segment Ctrl+Alt+Enter
Move to next segment DownArrow
Move to previous segment UpArrow
Select rows Use the row number column and select as usual. (I.e. contiguous rows: click the first number, then click the last one while pressing Shift. Non-contiguous rows: click each number while pressing Ctrl.)

Other actions on segments

(All these actions are also available by right-clicking in the row.)

Copy source to target Ctrl+Ins
Toggle between target and source F6
Add comment Ctrl+N
Split segment Right-click at the place for splitting and select Alt+Shift+T
Merge segments Select the segment numbers, right click and select Merge Segments. Note: If the first source segment ends with a paragraph character (not visible in the Editor view), merging is not possible.

Handling of TM searches

Any hits with matching percentage above the threshold value (see p. 135) is automatically inserted into the target segment.

Insert another TM hit (with number N): Alt+N.

Check or change TM settings

Select the Project Settings tab (above the TM pane) or go to Project > Project Settings.


Search for term/expression in source segment Select it and press F3.
Search for term/expression in target segment Select it and press Ctrl+F3.
Insert concordance hit into target Place insertion point at appropriate place. Select the text and press Ctrl+Alt+F3 or select it, right click and select Insert into document.

Handling of placeables (including tags)

Placeables (unless tags) are marked with a blue underline. Note that also numbers are placeables (useful for long ones). Note also that numbers which you “translate” this way are automatically localized in accordance with the conventions of the target language (as defined by the operating system, i.e. by Microsoft).

Open a drop-down list of available placeables: Press Ctrl+Alt+DownArrow or Ctrl+comma.

Select the appropriate one with Up/DownArrow and insert it with Enter.
Step between placeables with Ctrl+Alt+Left/RightArrow.

AutoSuggest (including AutoText)

Any AutoSuggestions are presented (as a drop-down list similar to the one for placeables) when you have entered 3-4 characters of the word.

“Hits” are taken from AutoSuggest dictionaries (if present), MultiTerm databases (if present) and the AutoText list. For the former two, see the manual.

Add an AutoText entry Select the term/expression, press Alt+F7 and press Enter twice.
Add a MultiTerm entry Select source and target term, press Ctrl+F2 and then Ctrl+F12.

Filtering segments

Do not forget the filtering function:

(If you don’t see this toolbar, select View > Toolbars > Display filters.)
You can filter on segment types, segment locking and segment content, and also on specific text strings. Locking segments can be quite useful if you want to perform a specific action on all segments except certain ones – it may be fairly easy to filter out the “exceptions”, lock them, and then perform the action on all segments. Those that are locked will then not be affected.


Auto-propagation of changes (i.e. automatic performing of those changes on segments with source content that is identical to the one where the change is made) is enabled by default. However, the other options relating to auto-propagation are not. Take a look at Tools > Options > Editor > Auto-propagation and see whether perhaps more options would not be useful (I would say so).

Verify “translation” of numbers

The automatic checking that numbers are correctly “translated” is not enabled by default. I find this function very useful. Enable it at Tools > Options > Verification > QA Checker 3.0 > Numbers.

Export for review

To my mind, you get the best format for review by selecting File > Export for external review. By using this function and then importing the amended version, the translation will be automatically updated. See the manual, p. 192.

Updating the TM during translation

You can update the TM also with all translations with draft status at any time. Select File > Batch Tasks > Update Main Translation Memories or Udate Project Translation Memories. Click Next until the Files page opens. Make sure Draft is selected (if that is what you want) and click Finish.

“Database is locked”

Sometimes the first activation of a segment in a document results – after a long time of searching the TM – in this error message: “An error has occured whilst using the translation  provider [TM]: The translation memory data file engine returned an  error: The database file is locked. Database is locked.”

Several people have reported this problem, and various methods to solve it has been tried (this is taken from the invaluable TW_Users forum):

“The affected TM in most cases seems to be the very last (or one of the last) in a list of – say – 6 or 7 memories. So it looks like Studio is simply ‛running out of steam’ by the time it reaches the last memories in a list. I can simply recativate the affected memory and everything works fine until at some later point Studio again thinks it is ‛locked’. If I deactivate all other memories and only activate this ‛locked’ memory, it works fine.”

“Re-indexing the TM helped to get that working.”

“If I deactivate all other memories and only activate this ‛locked’ memory, it works fine.”

My own experience is that this only happens with very large TMs, but then it can happen even if that is the only TM I use. I have not tried re-indexing, but I have found that the following method works fine:

Continue to the next segment – which then strangely is looked up in the TM without problem (regardless of whether there is a hit or no). Then go back to the “problem” segment and confirm it. (And delete the error message in the Messages window.)

Googling for “Database is locked” gives quite a few hits, related to SQLite, and it seems to be quite a common issue with other applications.

Related to the fact that the error-producing search takes a very long time is the sometime complaint that a concordance search may take very long (in a large TM). This is simply because concordance searches are very resource-intensive.

Autocorrection and autocompletion

AutoSuggest is a popular and helpful feature in Studio, but it’s a bit erratic (some entries you create are never suggested; the same thing applies to phrases which start with a short word). In addition to a “perfect” AutoSuggest, many users would like to see a function like Word’s AutoCorrection – to have misspellings corrected automatically but also to be able to use automatic replacement of two- or three-letter strings with full words or phrases (e.g. you type “std” and get “standardization”, in accordance with a previously entered replacement).

However, there are at least two applications which not only cater to this need but offer a lot of other useful functions: Phrase Express and AutoHotKey; both can be used together with Studio. AutoHotKey is free, but if you want to use Phase Express for professional purposes, you should purchase a license (USD 49.95 for the standard version) and register your installation.

My initial impression is that both programs are quite powerful and you can do a lot of things besides using them for auto-completion and auto-correction of texts, which is, however, the main functions of interest for the translation work. So far, I find AutoHotKey a bit easier to work with, but PhraseExpress has the added advantage of automatic extraction of recurring phrases which are then suggested in the same way that Studio’s AutoSuggest works.

I shall make a quick run-through of the functions most useful to the translator.


Start at the PE feature list ( and look round; then download and try it.

The application, when started, is found in the Taskbar’s system tray . Right-clicking it will produce this menu:

You open the PE window by selecting Edit phrases:

This is where you manage your autotext entries, phrases, hotkeys, etc.; we’ll get back to that. To familiarise yourself with the Help is a good idea, and you can also do that without installing PE: it is here (

Note 1: The help text often refers to the Settings option, which you will find on the Tools menu.

Note 2: The PE functions do not work if you have this window open, so after any action performed in it: minimise it or close it.

Text replacement (with Autotext)

  1. Select the phrase you want PE to insert when you type its “abbreviation”.
  2. Press Ctrl+Alt+C. The Create new phrase dialog opens:

  1. Enter a suitable Autotext abbreviation. (The Hotkey option is mainly intended for the execution of macros; see below.)
  2. Press OK.

When you type the abbreviation and the selected delimiter, the entry in the Description field will be inserted instead.


There is no specific auto-correction function; just as in Word, any misspelled word listed as an “abbreviation” will be replaced by its corresponding (correctly spelled) Description. Of course, for this you need a list corresponding to the lists provided with Word, and you need to import it into PE. Depending on language, there are two alternatives:

  • Use one of the lists offered by PE: En, De, Nl, Fr, Es, Po, or It
  • Import your Word AutoCorrect entries

Import AutoCorrect entries provided by PE

  1. Open the PE window (right-click the tray icon and select Edit phrases).
  2. In the Phrases and Folders pane, open the File meny and select Download phrases. The PE site opens with the Free PhraseExpress Add-Ons window.
  3. Click a suitable AutoCorrect file and save it.
  4. In the Phrases and Folders pane, select New local file.
  5. Open the File menu, select Import and then PhraseExpress Phrase File.
  6. Locate the file you just downloaded (a .pxp file) and open it. Answer Yes to the message window that opens (to avoid duplicate entries).

The result (for English) looks like this:

Import Word AutoCorrect entries

  1. Open the PE window (right-click the tray icon and select Edit phrases).
  2. In the Phrases and Folders pane, right-click New local file.
  3. Select Import and then MS Word AutoCorrect entries. Answer Yes to the message window that opens (to avoid duplicate entries).
  4. A new folder, Imported MS Word AutoCorrect entries is created, with the imported content.

Should it happen that the import consists of the English list instead of your target language, you need to extract the AutoCorrect entries for that language – see the instructions in the AutoHotKey section below.

Input correction entries with TypoLearn

When you make a manual correction of a typing error, PE registers that as an AutoCorrect entry for future use. (It seems you have make the same correction three times for PE to pick it up.) This applies to single word entries if you have ended them with a space character, then deleted that space with backspace, corrected the word and then again ended it with a space. Entries are stored in the Word Corrections folder.

Text suggestions (AutoComplete)

Here is a potentially very useful function: PE recognises phrases which have occurred three times and stores them for use exactly in the way Studio uses AutoSuggest. It may be a good idea to take a look at the settings for this (Tools > Settings > Text Prediction).

You can also input such phrases from Word documents, sent Outlook emails and the phrases currently loaded into PE: Open Tools > Settings > Text Prediction > Advanced > Learn text.

Note: Despite many tries, I have not been able to make this work on my computer. I am not aware of other complaints to this effect, however, so you may well be more fortunate.

Import an external phrase file

You can import phrase files of your own (e.g. to provide text suggestions for AutoComplete). See the Help file, the section headed Importing an External Bitmap or Text File.

Enable/disable a phrase folder

Obviously, you can have phrase folders with contents in different languages. To avoid possibly confusing AutoCorrections etc., you can disable irrelevant folders: right-click the folder and select Enable Autotext/Hotkeys so that the checkmark disappears.

Clipboard manager

PE has a “clipboard cache” function which saves a number of clipboard contents. By pressing Ctrl+Alt+V, you can select them in a popup menu (and by right-clicking a content you get further options).

Note: For some reason, there is no such default shortcut in my PE installation. I repaired this by selecting, in the PE window, Clipboard Cache and then selecting that key combination (or another one) under Hotkey in the left-hand pane.


There is an enormous amount of actions you can perform using the macro functions in PE, most of them may not be very useful in Studio, however.


Download the program from AutoHotKey ( When started, it will be placed in the Taskbar’s system tray with this icon . Right-clicking it will produce this menu:

In the Help, start from the top with the AutoHotKey introduction and go on from there. (You can also try jaco0646’s Tutorial for Newbies at

Everything you do with AHK you do in script form; an AHK script is a text file with the extension .ahk. When you start the program, the file AutoHotkey.ahk is created and placed in C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\My documents\AutoHotkey.ahk. You can have as many scripts as you want (e.g. for different target languages), and you can use them together as you please. You create script files in the same way as any other file, so you can place them in any file hierarchy that suits you.

A script can contain a lot of powerful functions, but I shall limit my description to replacements (including corrections) of text strings and a couple of key remappings. You are advised, however, to study the uses of HotKeys and macros; you will find a lot of useful stuff there.

Text replacement

Text replacement is very easily scripted. It looks like this:

::old text::new text

The old text can of course be a commonly misspelled word.

The old text string is case sensitive (but this can be disabled).

Insert text replacement from text

You can insert a shortcut for a text replacement directly from the document you are working in without having to edit the script file. At the end of this page ( you will find a script to copy and insert in the alphabetically first of the script files you are using. Once you have done this, the shortcut Win+h (or any other shortcut instead of #h at the beginning of this script) will open this pane,

where in this case “however” is the string which will replace whatever abbreviation you inter.

Import Word AutoCorrect entries

In order to import the AutoCorrect entries from Word, you need first to export them:

  1. Go to Microsoft’s Help and Support page, How to print a listo of AutoCorrect entries in Word (
  2. Copy the macro code under More information.
  3. In Word, open the Macros pane with Alt+F8 and press the Create button.
  4. Press Ctrl+Return at the end of the page and insert the macro copied from the Help and Support page.
  5. Make sure the insertion point is in the new macro and run it with F5. The AutoCorrect entries are opened in a separate document.

Now you need to edit this document slightly:

  1. Change the three-column layout into one-column.
  2. Make substitutions so that each line has the “::old text::new text” look.

Then paste the whole thing into a new or existing .ahk file. (You don’t need to save it in .txt format; it works fine anyway.)

Remapping of keyboard keys

This is a function which I have not been able to find in PhraseExpress. Although not terribly important, I know that it is an answer to a couple of common complaints: How do I get rid of the Capslock and Insert functions, which I almost never use but which are a nuisance when I accidentally hit those keys?

For Capslock, use this line:



SetCapsLockState, Off [or AlwaysOff]

And for Insert:


Note 1: This is according to the instructions. It does not work for me 🙁

Note 2: Of course, you could also program these keys to do something useful but less annoying.

Script Showcase

Take a look at the AutoHotkey Script Showcase (

Merge segments not in same paragraph

…as long as the document is in MS Word 2000-2003 (.doc) and 2007-2010 (.docx) format.

Somehow in the latest edition I missed describing the possibility to merge any two (consecutive) rows, regardless of same paragraph or not, using the new function to change source documents in those formats. It will be rectified in next edition of the manual, of course (planned for March, 2013). Meanwhile, this is how:

Note: This method in fact means that you transfer some or all content from one segment to another, so it’s not “merge” in the strict sense – but it also means more flexibility.

1. Make sure you have enabled the change source segment function: Open Project > Project Settings (or click the Project Settings tab). At left, select Project, and then at right, select Allow source editing for supported file types.

2. Back in the edited document, in one of the source segments to be ”merged”, copy all content which is to be transferred to the preceding/following segment.

3. Place the cursor in the segment where the copied text is to be inserted.

4. Press Alt+F2. A rectangle around the segment shows that it may be edited.

5. Insert the copied text where it belongs.

6. Place the cursor in the segment where the copied text is to be deleted. Press Alt+F2 and delete it.


More on verification/Quality control

There are things to the verification/quality control processes that I hadn’t realised. A query from a friend led me to the following insights. (Which will replace the section “Verifying a project (normally after translation)” in the next update.)

1. Right-click the project in the Projects view and select Batch Tasks > Verify Files.

Alternatives: Select the project and select the same option in the Project menu. Or, in the Files view, do the same thing – right click/select – the file(s) in question.

2. On the Batch Processing – Batch Tasks page, click Next. If the project has more than one file, the Batch Processing – Files page opens with all files listed. You can deselect files but if you need to do anything else, you need to go back to the Files view.

3. If you want to use the option Report ignored messages (for extra control of such messages), click Next to open the Settings page. Otherwise, click Finish to perform the verification.

4. The verification is performed. On the Performing Tasks page, you open the report by selecting it and clicking Results. Example:

This type of report tells you what is wrong (if anything), but it does not make it possible to find the corresponding segments in the file(s). For that, you must do the verification in the open document, as described above. A report like this, however, may be used to show a client that the translation is free of these types of errors.

These are the other views on this page:

The Reports tab:

The Files tab:

Saving the verification report: The verification is saved under the name Verify Files Report in the Reports folder. However, the file format is xml and there is no style information associated, which means that viewing the report in a web browser doesn’t make any sense. (The same thing in fact applies to all reports.) If you want to use the report outside Studio – for instance, to send to a customer – you need to save it in another format. There are two ways to do this:

(a) The general way: In the Reports view, right-click the file in question and select Save as. You can choose between xlsx, html, mht and xml. I would recommend the Excel format. Of course, you can also select where to place the file.

(b) With the Task Results page open: Select the Reports tab and click Save As. You get the same options as in (a).

Viewing the verification report in the Report format: On the Task Results page, select the Reports tab and click View. The Reports view opens with this report:

Of course, you can open the report again in the Reports view at any time. Strangely, though, it doesn’t seem that you can return to the Task Results page once you have closed it. And it also disappears when you click the Close button on the Performing Tasks page (the last page in the verification process).

Ctrl/Shift shortcuts for cut, copy and paste

For cutting, copying and pasting, I prefer using the shortcuts Ctrl+Del, Ctrl+Insert and Shift+Ins, respectively, which are normally available in all Windows-based applications. (Why? It may be that being right-handed, I prefer using the right hand to press the non-function keys; it may also be that I find it easier to locate the Ins and Del keys on my full keyboard than to locate – with the left hand – the X, C and V keys. I haven’t really thought much about it.)

Following the instructions in section 4 of the manual, I deleted the Ctrl+Ins shortcut for Copy Source to Target and assigned Ctrl+Del and Ctrl+Insert as above. But when I tried assigning Shift+Ins, I found it was not possible. Nothing happened.

I put a question to TW_Users, and sure enought, Paul Filkins kindly investigated and came up with a solution.

So, if you share my preferences, this is how to assign Shift+Ins (not complicated at all):

1. Close Studio. Locate the file usersettings.xml, which you will usually find in the following place:

Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\[USERNAME]\Application Data\SDL\SDL
Trados Studio\[]
Windows Vista/7: C:\Users\[USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming\SDL\SDL Trados

2. Open it in a text editor and locate the following section (it may not look exactly like this):

<SettingsGroup Id=”ShortcutsSettingsGroup”>
<Setting Id=”Copy”>
<Value>[whatever your setting]</Value>
<Setting Id=”CopySourceToTargetAction” />
<Setting Id=”Paste”>
<Value>[whatever your setting]</Value>

3. Then insert as Paste value this text: <Value>Insert, Shift</Value>

4. Save the file.

Happy winner in the SDL OpenExchange Developer Competition 2012

SDL OpenExchange arranged a competition in the categories “for free” and “paid-for”, and has now announced the winners – i.e. those applications that were “most downloaded” (which really means “most clicked-on”, since it is not possible to tell whether a click – which leads to the product home page – results in a download/sale or not).

It was great news to hear that the manual was the winner in the “paid-for” category. See for yourself at the OpenExchange page.

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