SongBook Windows PCs 5.4.2 Songs and Chords

Installation And Upgrade

SongBook runs on all Windows PCs and laptops with Windows 11 and 10. It is optimized for use with keyboard and mouse. On Windows 10 touch tablets, consider using our Windows Store app SongBook for Windows Tablets instead.

When you run the setup, the SongBook application and all chord libraries are automatically installed. Note: Sometimes, a browser or security software might erroneously block the download or installation. If you've downloaded the software directly from our web site, it is guaranteed to be free of trojans or malware. If unsure, you can always check the downloaded setup at

At first program start, you should select the directory where your songs will be stored. The default is <My Documents>\My Songs. You can change the song directory at any time with the "..." button next to the category dropdown. If you also use SongBook on Android or iOS, consider synchronizing your songs with Dropbox and select the Dropbox/SongBook folder as your main song directory. See this video for details.

You can find the complete version history at the end of this page.

Where To Find Songs For SongBook

SongBook understands the widespread chordpro format where chords are written in square brackets within the lyrics. Unfortunately, we cannot provide songs on this site due to copyright restrictions. However, the Internet has huge archives of songs in chordpro format, just search for the song title and chordpro.

You can also easily create your own songs. Just write the lyrics as usual and insert the chord names in square brackets at the appropriate positions as in the following example:

[Em]Alas, my [G]love, you [D]do me [Bm]wrong, 

SongBook will render this as:

Alas, my love, you do me wrong,

You can find a detailed explanation of the chordpro format as supported by SongBook here. A sample song is available in menu Help - Sample Song.

Cloud Sync

You can synchronize your song collection across devices using Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive (consumer only), or Nextcloud. Install the respective cloud sync app from their web site, then select directory SongBook (upper case S and B) in Dropbox/My Drive/OneDrive/Nextcloud as your song directory (with the "..." button next to the category dropdown). Link SongBook Android or SongBook iOS with your cloud account in Settings. See this video for details.

Song List

Songs are structured in categories. Categories are similar to folders on your computer. You can group songs in categories to help you organize them e.g. by genre or difficulty. Just like folders on your computer, deleting a category will delete all songs in it. In addition, songs can also be organized in playlists and filtered by tags.

Entering a letter will jump to the first title/subtitle starting with that letter.

You can mark songs that you've already played via the context menu (or Ctrl-Space). Marked songs are displayed in grey. Marking also applies to all playlists in which the songs appear. When you restart the SongBook application, all songs are unmarked again.

Note: you can show/hide the Song List via View - Song List.

Song View

The song view displays the current song with lyrics and chords. Click on a chord to look up the chord definitions. Chord, lyrics and tab font and color can be changed in Tools - Options - View. You can also quickly increase/decrease the font size with Ctrl +/- or Ctrl+Mouse Wheel. When you select View - Zoom - Auto-Zoom, SongBook will try to show the song as large as possible so it still fits on the screen without scrolling.

To reset the font size select View - Zoom - Normal.

Select View - All Song Chords to get an overview of all chords that appear in the current song. Initially, the most simple fingering of a chord is displayed (the one in the lowest fret). Click on a chord to cycle through all definitions.

You can switch off display of chords or lyrics with View - Hide Chords or View - Hide Lyrics, respectively.

Full Screen Mode

To make maximum use of screen real-estate, SongBook can display a song in full screen mode where the whole screen is used to display the song. Menu and toolbar will be hidden. Additionally you can hide the song list to the left with Ctrl+L.

To switch off full screen mode, type ESC.

Song View in Full Screen ModeAuto-Scrolling

To start automatic scrolling, select on View - Auto-Scroll or press key F5 or use the Play button in the toolbar. Use the Save button in the auto-scroll popup to save the current total playing time in the song (with the {time: } directive) so it will be preset the next time you select the song.

You can optionally insert {pause: x} directives somewhere in a song, where x denotes a pause in seconds (e.g. {pause: 20} to pause for 20 seconds). When the line with this pause statement reaches the top of the screen, auto-scrolling will pause for this amount of time. You can also put that directive at the top of the song to delay the auto-scroll start.

The Windows screensaver is suppressed while the song is auto-scrolling.

Transposing ScreenTransposing

With menu Tools - Transpose or the transpose buttons on the toolbar, SongBook lets you transpose a song to a different key by automatically adjusting all chords. Use the "All b" and "All #" menus to convert all # chords to their b equivalent or vice versa. The transposition is only temporary. To permanently change the tune, select menu Tools - Transpose - Save Transposed.

You can use menu Tools - Transpose - Capo to define a fret for a capo. This works just like a transpose down the same number of steps, but will show a Capo: ... indicator at the beginning of the song.

The transpose menu lets you convert song chords into the Nashville Numbering System which will convert all chord names into numbers 1,2,3... This only works if a key is set in the song (with Set Key from the menu). If a song is already in Nashville Number format, you can convert it back into regular chords (again based on the defined key). Chord lookup will also work for Nashville numbers.

Note that if the song contains special chord definitions, these will usually no longer be valid after transposing.

Link With Music

If you want to play along with a music background, you can copy a music (MP3) file into the SongBook directory and link to it with menu Tools - Music - Link with music. Use Tools - Play Music to play the linked music with a built-in mini music player. Music linked this way will also play in SongBook Android, iOS or Mac OS X. Songs that have linked music are marked with a ♫ symbol in the song list.

Alternatively, you can insert a link to an arbitrary file into the song (drag the file from Explorer into the song editor), then click the link to open the associated program. This will only work on Windows, though.


If Adobe Acrobat Reader is installed, SongBook can also display PDFs. Note that PDFs cannot be edited, tagged or transposed. Zooming, scrolling and keyboard shortcuts are limited by the Acrobat Reader control. To go out of full-screen mode while viewing a PDF, press Alt-F4.

Song Edit

You can edit songs or add new songs. The Edit - Chordpro menu lets you easily enter the most common chordpro control statements. There you can also find keyboard shortcuts for faster input. When you've selected some text, the chordpro control statement (e.g. [] or {c: }) will be inserted around the selection. If you apply [] on a line with multiple words, each of them will treated as a chord and wrapped in [].

To move a chord definition like [Am] to a different text position, double-click on it to select it, then cut/paste it at the new position.

You can easily apply chords from one verse to another with Copy Chords/Insert Chords from the context menu, see this video for details.

Use Edit - Chordpro - Convert Tab To Chordpro to convert the current song or selected text from tab format (where chords are on separate lines above the lyrics) into the compact chordpro format used by SongBook. If you select exactly two lines of text, the first line will always be treated as chords, i.e. wrapped with [] and inserted into the second line.

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To further organize your song collection, you can assign arbitrary tags to any song. Klick the Tags button in the main song list screen to filter songs by tags. When you remove a tag, the song is not deleted. However, if you delete all songs that contain a certain tag, that tag will disappear from the list of tags. Unlike with categories, songs can have several tags assigned. In the song, tags are stored with a {tag: xx} directive.

Playlists (Set Lists) 

Playlists are collections of songs for a special purpose, e.g. for a concert, or for practising. Playlists contain references to songs (by title/subtitle, independent of their category). You can add songs to multiple playlists, and one song can occur multiple times in one playlist. The playlist dropdown box will show the number of songs in that playlists in parentheses.

To add songs to a playlist, right-click on a song in the list and select Add to Playlist... Note: To add multiple songs at once, select them with Shift or Ctrl+Mouse-Click before you choose Add to Playlist...

To create a new playlist, right-click on a song in the song list, and select Add to Playlist... - New Playlist...

To change the order of songs in a playlist, select Move Up/Move Down from the context menu.

To remove a song from a playlist right click on the song in the playlist and select Remove...

Playlists can automatically transpose songs to different keys. To store a different key for a song in a playlist, open the song from the playlist (not from the song list), then transpose it as usual, but do not save the transposed song. If a playlist song has a different key then the original, the key will be shown inverse in the list.

Note: Playlists contain only references (title and subtitle) to the real song. If you delete the song, it is not automatically removed from the playlists.

You can add notes to playlists via the context menu, e.g. "Break" or a short story to tell between songs. These notes are displayed and edited just like normal songs, but are only stored in the playlist.

Chord List ScreenChords and Instruments

SongBook comes with comprehensive chord libraries for guitar, ukulele (C and D tuning), mandolin, piano and others. To see the chord view, click on a chord in a song, or select Tools - Chords...

Chords are sorted by base pitch (tone) and name. Each chord can have several variations. SongBook knows about identical pitches (e.g. C# = Db).

By default, SongBook displays the most simple variation (lowest base fret, least number of fingers) in the All Song Chords window. If you always prefer a certain variation, you can mark it as favorite. If you want a different variation for a certain song, you can define the chord variation in the song.

You can add your own chords (File - New Chord...) or change existing chord definitions by clicking on it. Own and favorite chords are saved in a file <instrument>.chords.txt in the song directory. You can edit it with a text editor. If you want your extra chords appear in the built-in SongBook chord libraries, please send us this file.

Right-click on a chord to find identical chords (with different names) or to add this specific chord definition to the song.

To remove a custom chord from the database, click on it to edit and select Remove...

To change the currently used instrument, select it from the Instruments menu. This instrument is used for all chord lookups.

Chord Edit ScreenChord Edit

You can change any chord in the chord database. Select the base fret in the dropdown to the right, then click on the finger boxes. If a string does not sound (is muted), select the x above the string.

The added chords are saved in a file <instrument>.chords.txt in the documents folder. You can edit it with a text editor. If you want your extra chords appear in the built-in SongBook chord libraries, please send us this file.



You can try SongBook Windows before you buy it. When you continue to use SongBook after an initial trial period, you must purchase a license key. Licensed users will receive free updates and support.


Do you have a song that is not rendered correctly? Is an important chord missing in the chord database? Please let us know.

Version History

Special thanks to Kenny Song and Laurence Esterhuizen for their work on the chord databases and numerous valuable suggestions.

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Last Update: 2024-02-29