Introducing Fullscreen ChordPro Song Editing With Song-a-Matic

A short video tour of Song-a-Matic’s “full screen” editing mode (full video transcript follows)

Topics:

  • Syntax Highlighting Explained
  • Help Window
  • Keyboard Shortcuts
  • ChordPro “Snippets” (EZ Autocomplete Cheats)

This is Buz, from Uke Geeks, today demoing some nifty advanced features of the song editor.

When you first open the song editor you might reasonably think that you’re restricted to using this small text box, but in fact you aren’t. If you look here, beside the “close” button you’ll see a symbol made of four arrows — clicking this expands the editor to its fullscreen mode, and this mode offers you a a much more powerful, though perhaps intimidating, editor.

The three features we’ll explore in this video are “syntax highlighting”, “keyboard shortcuts”, and “Snippets”.

Let’s begin with syntax highlighting.

You’ve probably already noticed that the song’s text is multiple colors — what’s going on is called syntax highlighting, a fancy way of saying that the editor knows the ChordPro language and will color-code important parts of your song, thus making it easier for you to zero in on the pieces you wish to edit.

song-a-matic-editing-fullscreen-syntax-highligting

So we see that the title tag, here, is highlighted differently from the song’s body. And within the song body the chord’s contrasting colors make them jump out from the lyrics.
What’s really neat about this is that, live, as we type, the color coded highlighting automatically gets applied.

If you click “Exit fullscreen” all your edits are still present in that small text box.
So we may safely edit in either place, jumping back and forth between the two modes as we please.

Let’s head back into fullscreen mode and look at what else is available here.
A big challenge for folks just beginning with ChordPro is learning all those magic statements. “How do set the song’s title or artist?” or “how do I make a chorus block?

This editor can help you do that.

Click this button on the title bar — this will slide out a panel containing help and instructions on using this editor. There’s two topics covered here: “Keyboard Shortcuts” and “Snippets”.

You use Keyboard Shortcuts all the time on your computer, for example, “Control” + “C” will copy selected text and “Control” + “V” will paste that text wherever the cursor is placed. So Keyboard Shortcuts are just key combinations that quickly do common tasks.
Back in our fullscreen editor pressing Control + F on Windows, or Command + F on Macs, will open the “Find” box. Pressing Control + F again will give is the “Find and Replace” box. Press the Escape key to close these windows.

chordpro-editor-autocomplete-show-chords

A nifty feature of the editor is pressing the Control key and the spacebar: this pulls up a list of all of the chords used in our song so far. So if we want to insert a chord here, for example, we’d press Control + spacebar and either up/down arrow through the list or type a couple letters for our chord. Once it’s highlighted press enter to insert the chord into our song.

That’s Keyboard Shortcuts, let’s look at Snippets now.

Think of a Snippet as a super keyboard shortcut on steroids. Snippets are activated by typing a short code followed by the tab key. Let’s add a title to this song be typing the letter t followed by tab. As you can see the full title tag has been inserted and we may just type to replace this highlighted placeholder text with our song’s title.

A full list of Snippets is available in this help side bar. Let’s close that for now so we have more space, and try a couple power Snippets.

Type the word “chorus” and press tab — look at the result. Both the start and end chorus tags have been added, and because we usually want to name a chorus block, a comment has also automatically been inserted.

People who like to write solo tablature will find that typing “t-a-b” followed by tab key will produce a nifty tablature block to get you started.

{music cue}

Hopefully you’ll find these features useful. In the coming weeks I’ll be enhancing the color scheme of this editor, adding a dark text on light background option, as well as some other refinements.

As always forward any suggestions or complaints directly to me.

Until then, this is Buz wishing you a terrific day of uking.

This editor is built with the terrific Ace Editor!

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