I Love Me the Freeware

For the past year I have been periodically searching the web for a lyric sheet generating software. Preferably free. I've wanted a program to write out lyrics with chords in the correct position without a lot of fussing. The few I've found have been difficult to use (read non-intuitive), complicated (read feature bloat) or expensive (read not free).

Imagine my surprise when I ran a search in Google Sunday afternoon and came across Chord Chart Wizard. This bit of freeware has everything I've been looking for.

The software opens with what the creators call the Song Editor tab: a simple, plain text, fixed font note pad to enter lyrics and chord notation. If you're careful enough to alternate chord lines with lyric lines, the program will interpret your entries accordingly and create a lyric sheet in the next tab, appropriately called the Chord Chart (more on that later). If you're not careful enough, you can click on the left margin of a line and force the program to identify the line as either a lyric or a set of chords. Brilliant!

The Chord Chart tab, then, is the song lyrics and chord notations formatted from the plain text. The program does interpret the first two lines as title and author, and centers this information when formatting. It changes font size according to predefined settings so chords and lyrics can appear slightly different (or greatly different, if you choose to mess with the settings). Print it off and you're good to go.

The third tab, called the Lyric tab, formats the song from the plain text but strips out the chord information, making it ideal for song sheets for an audience to read without confusing them with unnecessary music information. Too Cool. Or, as the young people say these days, w00t!

The program has several other neat features. It is smart enough to determine what key your song is in and can transpose it for you if you so desire. It can also recognize the term "Capo" and transpose it down if you choose to "un-capo" the song. It also has an extensive library of chord fingerings and can add chord charts from the information it finds in the chord lines.

The software was clearly designed with the church song leader/praise team in mind. It comes with predefined categories for worship tags and whatnot. It also has a function to create PowerPoint slide shows from the song data you've entered (though I've not yet been able to make that work).

There are some prerequisites. It requires Java and with the Openware office suite OpenOffice to work. There are similar requirements for MAC OS and Linux, though I've not really look at what those might be. As I am a fan of Openware, that was not a problem for me, but if you already have a commercial suite, such as MS Office, you may not want to bother downloading a second office suite. One nice thing about OpenOffice is native support for PDF files, so I can save my songs in this format.

Simply put, this program is exactly what I've been looking for, with extra features I'm sure to enjoy. Simple to use and creates sharp looking song sheets, the Wizard is worth looking at. Personally, I can't believe the author is offering it for free. It comes packaged with a sister program, Set Creator, to create songbooks, but I've not taken the time to look at that yet. Perhaps a future Amish Guitar post...


Post a Comment

Newer Post Older Post Home

Blogger Template by Blogcrowds.