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Thread: How to create pdf songbooks

  1. #1

    Default How to create pdf songbooks

    What are some ways to create songbooks. Do people create song sheets in Word then use pdf editor to collect the sheets into a songbook? Do you create a songbook completely using a PDF editor. I downloaded a trial copy of PDFElement 6 but it assumes I have a huge amount of knowledge, and I do not.

    Ed
    Pono MT solid mahogany tenor.
    Pono MBD solid mahogany Baritone Ukulele
    Córdoba 23T Tenor Ukulele
    Kala UBass SSMHG-FS, Solid Spruce top
    Old Kingston Baritone ukulele from the mid-1960’s. Using it as a test instrument.
    Cheap Savannah baritone being converted to resonator.

  2. #2
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    I never really made one, but started once...

    I guess it depends on your ambitions for the book.
    If you just want lyrics and chords, I assume the easiest thing would be to set it all up in Word or something similar, and then create one big pdf.
    I am lazy, I keep my chord sheets in Notepad in Courier New font, so spacing doesnt get messed up. But from there it is easy to copy into Word. With page breaks, page numbering, headings and automatic table of contents, it should be piece of cake.

    If some pages have tabs or notation created digitally, it Will probably not look good if you try to put it into Word. Here putting individual sheets from Word, musescore etc. together in pdf and adding a header with pagenumber etc is convenient.
    I havent done it for song bookes, but with plenty of work reports. I am not familiear with the software you mention though. I have used acrobat, bluebeam and acroplot matrix. Perhaps pdfill Will do the trick, that one is cheaper (free).

    If you want a professional quality layout Hal Leonard style, you may want to make it all in some fancy Adobe program like InDesign or a code base program like LaTeX, but I guess that you are not going to sell the book.
    Last edited by UkingViking; 05-13-2018 at 01:18 AM.
    Ohana SK30M mahogany super-soprano, Cort UKEBWCOP Blackwood concert, Fluke Koa Tenor, Hora M1176 spruce Tenor

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by UkingViking View Post
    I never really made one, but started once...

    I guess it depends on your ambitions for the book.
    If you just want lyrics and chords, I assume the easiest thing would be to set it all up in Word or something similar, and then create one big pdf.
    I am lazy, I keep my chord sheets in Notepad in Courier New font, so spacing doesnt get messed up. But from there it is easy to copy into Word. With page breaks, page numbering, headings and automatic table of contents, it should be piece of cake.

    If some pages have tabs or notation created digitally, it Will probably not look good if you try to put it into Word. Here putting individual sheets from Word, musescore etc. together in pdf and adding a header with pagenumber etc is convenient.
    I havent done it for song bookes, but with plenty of work reports. I am not familiear with the software you mention though. I have used acrobat, bluebeam and acroplot matrix. Perhaps pdfill Will do the trick, that one is cheaper (free).

    If you want a professional quality layout Hal Leonard style, you may want to make it all in some fancy Adobe program like InDesign or a code base program like LaTeX, but I guess that you are not going to sell the book.
    Thank you. I think I have a steep learning curve ahead of me. One thing I do is modify song sheets with special chord shapes to quick chord changing. I want to redo the song sheets so they look professional.

    I’m fairly sure I need to learn th PDF format, and the editing interface of PDFElement 6. I’ll post what I learn.

    Ed
    Pono MT solid mahogany tenor.
    Pono MBD solid mahogany Baritone Ukulele
    Córdoba 23T Tenor Ukulele
    Kala UBass SSMHG-FS, Solid Spruce top
    Old Kingston Baritone ukulele from the mid-1960’s. Using it as a test instrument.
    Cheap Savannah baritone being converted to resonator.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Twin Cities Area, Minnesota
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    The first thing I would want to ask is: What kind of song book are you looking to create?

    Are you looking to simply list lyrics and chords? If so, you can do so with a word processor, and follow the format that you like. I personally like an app called Tab Bank that does all the work of inserting chord letter names above the lyrics. You can export documents from the tool of your choice. Mac and iOS generate PDFs natively from the print menu; Windows devices can generate PDFs, but I believe you still have to install a tool to do so, like CutePDF Writer, that allows you to print a PDF by selecting the “Cute PDF” printer.

    A Table of Contents and images of chords diagrams can be added from a word processor, or you can merge a number of PDF and add things like chord diagrams or page numbers using Adobe’s PDF products, or a number of other PDF editors like PDF Expert (available on iOS or Mac). You can insert images of chord diagrams, or you can use a font such as Chordette. Using Chordette on an iOS device requires another app (e.g. AnyFont).

    And if you want to create lead sheets, showing actual notes and chords above (think Jim Beloff’s Daily 365), you have to generate each song. My personal choice is Notion...the iPad version will suffice for most users, but the desktop version allows you to create additional chord shapes (not already in the chord shape library). These can export as PDFs as well. And you can “bind them” using the same process as with word processor created PDFs.

    And just a final note: unless the song is in the public domain (anything before 1929), you need to be aware that you are likely breaking copyright if you share lyrics or notated music. It is unlikely that a publisher will immediately jump on you with a lawsuit for copyright infringement; but you could potentially get a letter (or e-mail) informing you that you are infringing copyright and that you are asked to remove materials from the web and to stop distributing the materials. Yes, there are MANY sites that show lyrics and chords (fewer with printed notation/lead sheets as publishers crack down more heavily on that), but that doesn’t mean that they are following copyright.
    Playing ukulele since January 2016.

    Have you participated in the thread, "How the Ukulele Found You?" If not, please consider adding your story--they are just fun to read.

    http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/...lele-found-you

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edspyhill05 View Post
    Thank you. I think I have a steep learning curve ahead of me. One thing I do is modify song sheets with special chord shapes to quick chord changing. I want to redo the song sheets so they look professional. I’m fairly sure I need to learn th PDF format, and the editing interface of PDFElement 6. I’ll post what I learn. Ed
    I know that most people still use paper sheets and carry around a fat notebook, but I customize all my song sheets to fit my iPad Pro 12.9" tablet with ForScore, a music catalogue app, and include bass lines since I play bass uke with my ukulele group. I use a graphics design program on my Mac that also makes PDFs, Canvas Draw, which combines the functions of Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, drafting, presentation, and is available on Windows as Canvas X 2018. You can store common elements in a library that can be placed anywhere and anytime you want, as I do with chord diagrams.

    It definitely has a learning curve, as would any program that you would use to customize a document. It's important to make sure you include a good table of contents, by title. I go to a Sunday Meetup acoustic group, mostly guitars with a few ukuleles, that passes out their song list in notebooks and also has it available as one big PDF, but does not always have a good table of contents sometimes the table is done by artist, which means there's a lot of fumbling through the sheets to find the next suggested song. I actually go through the trouble of separating each song with it's title from the master PDF and load each into ForScore so it's very quick to find it when we're playing.


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    Last edited by kohanmike; 05-13-2018 at 05:56 AM.

  6. #6
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    Catskill Mountains, NY
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    About a week ago, I wanted to do just that, and I searched with Google. I found an easy-to-use program. You drag the PDFs to a box, click the button, and it makes one PDF. I use WordPerfect, and it can also do that, but the files are very large. I'll see if I can find the program since I don't have it on this computer.

    Here it is.

    http://combinepdf.com/

  7. #7
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    If you have a Mac, you can easily combine PDFs in Preview—which is part of the operating system. It is very easy to use and more powerful than you would think.
    Playing ukulele since January 2016.

    Have you participated in the thread, "How the Ukulele Found You?" If not, please consider adding your story--they are just fun to read.

    http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/...lele-found-you

  8. #8
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    For tablature and standard music notation, I have used both TablEdit and Finale with good results. For chord/lyric songsheets, I use MS Word. Any word processor should work equally well. I think it's much easier to create, edit and combine songsheets before they get converted to PDF. Therefore converting Word files to PDF is the last step in my workflow.

    For personal use I save each song as a separate file in standard DOCX format. This is my archive copy and the one I'll use when (inevitably) I find something to change later. Then I use Word's "Save As" to export the file in PDF format. The PDF file goes on my Android tablet where I import it into the MobileSheets app. When I make a multi-page PDF book to share with others, I create the whole thing in Word including table of contents and page numbers. Save as DOCX, then save as PDF.

    Check your word processor's settings to be sure you are embedding fonts, and converting non-embedding fonts to bitmaps. This should ensure that everyone can see your PDF the way you formatted it. When in doubt, use a non-proportional font (Courier).

    When I need to combine several PDF files into one, I use a Windows freeware utility called PDFBinder. When somebody sends me a PDF and I need to incorporate it into a book I'm building in Word, I can import it into Word as an image. I have several programs that claim to edit PDF files, but it never seems to work smoothly and for a simple songsheet it's just not worth the effort.

    As a completely different option, when a song has lots of chords and I do not know what key I want to use, I might type it up in Word using ChordPro formatting, copy it, and paste it into the Song-a-Matic editing window: http://ukegeeks.com/songeditor

    Two important things to note if you're using the Song-a-Matic:

    1) You cannot save the songsheet. You can print the songsheet. Which means you need to install a PDF converter that works as a print driver. CutePDF, PrimoPDF and DoPDF are all good and available free (for Windows, I'm not sure about Mac or Linux). With the PDF converter installed, all you have to do is use your browers's print function and select, for example, "cutePDF" as your printer. Now you can save the PDF file to your computer.

    2) You cannot save the data in the edit window. So copy it and paste it into your word processor and save it. But wait, you say, didn't you just copy it from the word processor in the first place? Well, yes, that's what I said, but in practice I always make a lot of little corrections once I'm working in the Song-a-Matic edit window and I don't want to lose that work.

    Left to my own devices, I save a lot of songs in the GuitarTapp app on my tablet and never convert them to PDF. I think in the future we'll be living in ChordPro more than PDF. But for now, PDF is the most foolproof way to share with others.

  9. #9
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    I would start with Word and save them as pdf for use, sharing and display. If you need to edit, Word is a lot easier and friendlier than any pdf editor.
    Just Play

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  10. #10

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    I was logged out on my iPad and i lost a long reply. I’ll reply on my PC tomorrow. I hate anything Apple.

    Ed
    Pono MT solid mahogany tenor.
    Pono MBD solid mahogany Baritone Ukulele
    Córdoba 23T Tenor Ukulele
    Kala UBass SSMHG-FS, Solid Spruce top
    Old Kingston Baritone ukulele from the mid-1960’s. Using it as a test instrument.
    Cheap Savannah baritone being converted to resonator.

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