unrealBook Index’s and FileMaker

I’m sure that if you are any place besides Alaska and apparently several towns in ‘Da UP (Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for the non-locals) you have been as crazy hot as I have been these past few days. I would really like these hot days to go towards helping a few other people figure out an answer to a problem I had that frustrated me the past two days!

THE PROBLEM – If you have a collection of songs that you would like to put all into one big PDF file, so you can have it on your iPad, instead of creating separate PDF files for each song then this post is for you! Why? Because you will probably want to also be able to quickly find any given song in that PDF file without guessing where it is at.

THE SITUATION – I have known that unrealBook has had a feature in it that I have not been using. I just have not had the time to scan and organize any of my collections of music to actually need an INDEX. Well I finally pulled out a bunch of songs from my old three ring binder and those plastic sheet protectors and scanned them. Of course I put them all in alphabetical order first though. After scanning I learned that I had 220 pages of music and of course if I was to keep them all in one file I needed a way to quickly get to the correct song – or even just see what songs were in this file as it

did not come with it’s own index in the front. I could have simply followed unrealBook’s instructions and typed the song title, filename (including the extension .pdf) and the page number all into a spreadsheet. That would have given me less hassle I’m sure. I wanted something more flexible and useable in other ways too. If I was going to type in ALL those titles I mean, come on! I wasn’t about to do that more than once. What if later I decided I wanted to know who was the composer or what key these songs were in.

THE SOLUTION – So I created a FileMaker Database with Title, Filename, Page, Composer, and Key – I have since decided I might want to add even more criteria but for now I’m good. That was my point in t doing this though – now that the initial information is into a database I can add to it, manipulate it and create reports any way I’d like. Now that I had the info in the database I simply created a report with just the three pieces of information that unrealBook needed – Title, Filename, Page and then I exported a CSV file. I then excitedly imported the CSV file and the PDF into unrealBook anxious to see the fruits of my labor!

THE NEW PROBLEM – Blasted if it did not work. Several hours later after reading the unrealBook help files and user manual about 40 times I emailed Aron, the developer and asked his help. Even though he was touring in Japan I figured if he looked at my files he would know in an instant what I had done wrong. Sure enough – I got an email back the same day with the answer – unrealBook does not like the ” marks that were in my file – I had seen that noted in the manual but whenever I opened my csv file I could not see any in my file but they were there as far as unrealBook was concerned. He even sent me a fixed csv file to try. His worked! I started to dig around and did a few google searches and boy did I feel stupid! FileMaker (and apparently many other programs puts a ” mark before and after everything because that way you can have comma’s in your text – if it didn’t do the ” thing then your data would get all messed up because of the extra commas! Now it was starting to make more sense.

THE NEW SOLUTION – After several days of working through this issue I have finally figured it out! Use FileMaker to create a database of all your songs. Make sure you have at least three fields in the database – Title (for the title of each piece), File (for the filename of the final PDF that has all your music in it – bee sure to include the .PDF), and Page (The page number each title appears on in the PDF). But you will need to add one more field into your database that you would normally not use. You need to create a calculation field – call it unrealBookExport if you would like. That calculation need to look like this  – Title&”,”&File&”,”&Page – That calculation will produce something like this –

The Earth Shakes,Ontonagon Praise and Worship.pdf,184

Now you can export all the information from that one field – the calculation field – into a  Make sure your exported file has the extension of .csv – ONE FINAL NOTE – You will NOT be able to use ANY commas in any of the song titles REMEMBER?!?!?!?!?!

Import the exported csv file and your PDF file into your DropBox folder for iPad Music (you ARE USING DROPBOX RIGHT?) and then into your iPad.

LAST NOTE (If you use auto enter data into the file field this will be much faster! You can even use auto enter for the page numbers with a little bit of adjustment)

Well if you don’t have file maker I would still encourage you to use the index feature in unrealBook. Like the manual says….. type in the information into a spreadsheet and export a csv file. I had 192 songs in my PDF file. the only time I really want to see those songs all listed out individually is when I am looking to see what page they are on. I don’t really want 192 separate PDF files floating around that I have to keep track of.


13 thoughts on “unrealBook Index’s and FileMaker

  1. Paul

    I used Excel to create the .csv file, and the commas in the filename through me for a loop too until if figured out what was going on. I also discovered you can’t use apostrophes in song titles either. You can include different .pdf files in the index if you want to add some additional songs that aren’t part of the multi-page pdf.


  2. I didn’t have any issues with apostrophes, ampersand, dashes, or exclamation marks. They all appear in the index. I think Paul has the right idea, building a database (spreadsheet) with multiple variables, even if you can only import 3 columns at the moment into UnrealBook.

  3. Do you have a list of all your songs you guys use in worship services Doug? What did you create that list in? I know when I look at all the music I have it is scattered across a bunch of books – it would be nice to have one index that has all the songs in it like you said.

  4. Paul

    I have all my songs (about 500) in an Access database which I use in conjunction with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for all kinds of tasks. I exported each song as a separate .rtf, reformatted each one in Word with a bigger font size using some macros to speed up the process, and saved each one as a .PDF. I then moved them to my iPad via iTunes.

    I had one Word document of multiple songs each song one on a page; this is the one I created an index for. I used Excel for that. I also added some separate songs to the index, so I had all the songs available for our Fourth Sunday Fellowship songbook. The index works perfectly for that setting. I could not figure out how to use any of the individual songs in the multiple song .PDF when building a setlist; only the single song .PDFs work. This really limits the utility of a multiple song .PDF.

    My original pre-iPad goal was to be able to do everything in my iPad. Since every application seems to function in its own silo, it looks like I will have to do content creation and organization on my laptop.

    Am I correct in assuming you are using Filemaker on a Mac and then importing to iPad via iTunes?


  5. I created a database in FileMaker on my Mac, that database has all the Title’s, the PDF filename, Page Number and a few other details like Key, Composer etc…. Then I exported from Filemaker into a csv file. BUT I put that csv and the PDF file with multiple songs in it right into my DropBox folder so that I could skip the whole hooking the iPad to the computer. Then I imported from DropBox into unrealBook.

    Good point about set-lists and using these songs from the index’s. Can’t do it! BUT I did remember about the Bookmarks feature that I have not used yet either. If you make a Bookmark of a song from that multiple song PDF (in my case the one with 192 songs in it….) THEN you can use those bookmarks in a set list!

  6. Paul

    Good point on bookmarking a song from a multiple song PDF. I reread the unrealBook help yesterday morning and discovered that and a few other things to try out. I haven’t tried the bookmarking yet, but it appears to assume all songs are one page. Are their any provision for a multi-page song from within the multiple page song PDF?

    I haven’t tried Dropbox yet. Hooking up the iPad to the computer always takes multiple attempts, normally three, occasionally two.


  7. I have a csv in the proper format without ” quotes, but after sync’ing several times and restarting unreal, when I select that index file, absolutely no entries are displayed! I have examined the csv with a text editor to search for any unprintable characters and I do not see anything wrong. I am looking for suggestions!

    1. I can take a look at the file if you send it over to me – then I could give you more answers – email it to me at pshimmons @ gmail. com (obviously take out the spaces when you type it in)

      1. Paul – Thanks so much. I have gone through it, basically shortening it and incrementally adding blocks of lines until the problem occurs. I finally found the issue. Either this file was damaged in emailing to me, or more likely, a “smart quote” was still in the text. There was an apostrophe and a series of characters around it that were the offending characters. It was just too hard to see when scanning hundreds of lines. Now all is good.

        By the way – Dropbox was great for this task since I did not have to unnecessarily sync the pad for each file attempt. I just edited the Dropbox stored file and then downloaded from the Unreal app. I wish the download arrow on the User Interface had a word next to it but I eventually figured out what to do.

        I also found that smallpdf.com does a great job to squeeze down the size of the PDF files. I did try Apple Quartz filters but the cloud solution seemed to even go further. The result (at least so far as I can tell) is still very readable.

        Thanks again

    1. I use the index feature for times like my band method books. This allows me to keep all 180 songs in one concise PDF and yet still be able to find any song I need quickly

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