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Edspyhill05
05-12-2018, 07:24 PM
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

UkingViking
05-12-2018, 08:13 PM
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.

Edspyhill05
05-13-2018, 05:13 AM
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

Choirguy
05-13-2018, 05:43 AM
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.

kohanmike
05-13-2018, 05:54 AM
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. EdI 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.

8 tenor cutaway ukes, 3 acoustic bass ukes, 8 solid body bass ukes, 8 mini electric bass guitars

• Donate to The Ukulele Kids Club, they provide ukuleles to children's hospital music therapy programs. http://www.theukc.org
• Member The CC Strummers: https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/CCStrummers/videos)

Jerryc41
05-13-2018, 09:51 AM
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/

Choirguy
05-13-2018, 12:13 PM
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.

acmespaceship
05-13-2018, 12:19 PM
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.

UkerDanno
05-13-2018, 05:15 PM
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.

Edspyhill05
05-13-2018, 06:42 PM
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

kohanmike
05-13-2018, 08:56 PM
I was logged out on my iPad and i lost a long reply. I’ll reply on my PC tomorrow. I hate anything Apple. EdToo bad, after over 30 years of doing computer support, I much prefer Macs, iPhones and iPads than anything else. You get what you pay for, I learned that lesson when I wanted to save some money and went from iPad to Android to Windows 10, to finally come back to an iPad Pro, which in my experience runs circles around the rest.

UkingViking
05-14-2018, 07:00 AM
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.

Two things here:
Besides binding the individual PDF's to one, you will preferably want a software that allows you to add a heading to the book. E. G. : "My songbook - Ukulele summer festival - page x/y."
I don't know is any freeware can do that, but it is good to have.

Second, if you import a PDF into a Word document as an image, it is likely to look less good than it could. If the PDF is made with vector base graphics it looks really sharp. When imported into Word as an image, it will probably be resized to smaller than intended, which looks bad, and will probably be rastered into a pixel based format, which had a finite resolution and is hence not as sharp. It will also take up more storage than the PDF. It will probably look somewhat decent still, but when you convert you Word file to a new PDF, you have to be very careful with the image conversion of the PDF printer. For the results it is crucial that the image is embedded as a png image in the final PDF, not a jpg image. Most PDF printers convert every image to jpg when making the PDF, and not All allows you to change that setting.
Jpg is great for photos, but for graphics, including notation, chord diagrams etc, it is horribad. It will make small grey specs in the white areas, which looks grainy and unproffessional.

Papa Tom
05-14-2018, 03:14 PM
Sorry, I do not have time tonight to read this entire thread, so I do not know if anyone else may have already made this comment.

When converting from a Word doc to a pdf, the formatting of your page can sometimes mysteriously change. For example, if you set up your Word doc so that the chord names or diagrams are right above the lyrics where the chord changes should occur, you may convert to pdf and find that the chord names/diagrams have shifted. Given that you said you don't have a huge amount of computer knowledge, understanding why this happens might be a little more than you want to take on right now. And trying to fix it might make you want to smash your ukulele over someone's head and never write another chord chart in your life! So all I'm going to say is, be careful and be sure to proof every song sheet before you commit it to your book.

Choirguy
05-14-2018, 03:45 PM
And this entire thread reminds me to say this: if you have someone in your local group, or an online presence (e.g. Peter Mack) who is taking the time to make song sheets and you use them—at the very least send them a thank-you note (virtual or otherwise) for their work; and perhaps consider sending them a gift (PayPal, Starbucks card, etc.). Not that you have to—but kind words and the occasional thoughtful gesture can fill someone’s internal “tank” and spur them on to continue doing their work—or even to try new things.

ricdoug
05-14-2018, 05:53 PM
I was logged out on my iPad and i lost a long reply. Iíll reply on my PC tomorrow. I hate anything Apple.

Ed

I agree. If you're using a PC, download Apache Office which is open source freeware that was originally developed on Sun Micro System's UNIX platform. Also download their plug ins. This software is free. Write your songbook in their word processor and export it to a PDF. It's that simple and won't cost you a single red cent. I was a Samsung Galaxy Android fan that switched to an iPhone SE on a friend's recommendation. Apple throttled my SE a week and a half ago with their software upgrade and I'm back to Android 100%. My new Android LG G6 puts Apple to rest. Ric

UkingViking
05-14-2018, 07:18 PM
I agree. If you're using a PC, download Apache Office which is open source freeware that was originally developed on Sun Micro System's UNIX platform. Also download their plug ins. This software is free. Write your songbook in their word processor and export it to a PDF. It's that simple and won't cost you a single red cent. I was a Samsung Galaxy Android fan that switched to an iPhone SE on a friend's recommendation. Apple throttled my SE a week and a half ago with their software upgrade and I'm back to Android 100%. My new Android LG G6 puts Apple to rest. Ric

If OP allready has MS Word installed, there is no need to install Apache Open Office. I remember ten years ago, when MS Word was behind on the export to PDF front, so Open Office had an advantage. Now Word has that feature, and if you are used to Word it is easier to use. I have Word on my work Pc, Apache Open Office on my home Pc. Both will do the job.
I also installed LibreOffice, which should be the New big Thing, but I tend to use Open Office out of habit when at home. I prefer MS Word, but I write so little at home that it is not worth the hefty price tag.

Martinlover
05-15-2018, 12:38 AM
Also, try selecting print in whatever program and then click “print to PDF.” Makes a pdf.

Edspyhill05
05-15-2018, 07:02 AM
Too bad, after over 30 years of doing computer support, I much prefer Macs, iPhones and iPads than anything else. You get what you pay for, I learned that lesson when I wanted to save some money and went from iPad to Android to Windows 10, to finally come back to an iPad Pro, which in my experience runs circles around the rest.

If you started with Apple devices then they make sense. I find that a lot of the interface was customized for a left handed Steve Jobs. I also find that the limited interaction with third party software is primitive. My iPad iOS just does strange things like logging me off forums, not fully integrating with password manager apps, thge OS defaults to Safari. Apple products and iOS are developed to create income streams.

To me Windows and Android are much easier to use, and much more user friendly. But I was a Unix Admin, A database admin for Oracle, Sybase and Ingres, was a Sendmail tech/engineer, and used Windows, i wasn't wowed by the iOS. The Apple support people I worked with were so precious, and the rest of us were so uninformed about REAL computers. :-)

To decrease frustration, I have started to use my iPad as a tablet and limit Internet access.

Ed

Edspyhill05
05-15-2018, 07:29 AM
And this entire thread reminds me to say this: if you have someone in your local group, or an online presence (e.g. Peter Mack) who is taking the time to make song sheets and you use them—at the very least send them a thank-you note (virtual or otherwise) for their work; and perhaps consider sending them a gift (PayPal, Starbucks card, etc.). Not that you have to—but kind words and the occasional thoughtful gesture can fill someone’s internal “tank” and spur them on to continue doing their work—or even to try new things.

I agree. We all have to eat and pay rent and buy gas.

Ed

Edspyhill05
05-15-2018, 08:59 AM
UkingViking, Choirguy, kohanmike, Jerryc41, acmespaceship, UkerDanno, Papa Tom, ricdoug, Martinlover,

Thank you all for the generous responses and advice. I really appreciate the input.

I don't plan to publish copyrighted music. My main focus is to take most of the fake sheets and modify chord fingering and inversions for my own playing. I use a lot of triads so as not to stress my left hand thumb arthritis. I stil use partial barres, which speed up chord switching, but triads sometimes sound better.

From reading all the replies I think I will use MS Word, or some free version to create the song sheets. I need a library of ukulele chord grids to cut and paste, and a way to create my own chord shapes.

Right now I print out each song and use rubber stamps of small chord grids to create special chord sequences to smooth out chord changing in time with a song.

The Windows print has two selections to print to a PDF file. I think at least one PDF print option I added. I have EPubsoft's ToolBox which does conversions from/to various formats. It's best use is converting Kindle books to PDF or EPub - invaluable.

I did try converting a PDF file to Word and It did not come out useable. I imagine if they were my original Word docs converted to PDF I could convert back to Word.

I really put the cart before the horse with this idea. First I need to Word to create song sheets, using a library of ukulele chord grids. Once I perfect that step, then I'll go to the PDF stage.

Thank you all,

Ed

Papa Tom
05-15-2018, 12:53 PM
Ed:

When I started printing out my own uke charts, I used Windows "Paint" to make small fingering grid graphics for all the chords I knew at the time, including some "fake" versions of chords I couldn't really finger well. Then I created a document template in Word with all these graphics at the top so that I could just drag them to where they fit with the lyrics I would print below. If you want copies, I will see if there's a way I can send the whole set to you.

Please do not PM me, as I never check my inbox. Instead, I will subscribe to this thread and receive a notification when you reply to this post.