What is UkePDF?

UkePDF is a graphical program for most computers (Mac, Windows, Linux, etc.) that converts song lyrics & chord names into PDFs like those found at DoctorUke and our own handouts page. Here's a screenshot:

Chords in square brackets (e.g.: [Am]) get turned into ukulele chord diagrams above the lyrics.


Download UkePDF software here. You must have a computer capable of running Java. On most computers (Windows 8+ & Mac 10+), double-clicking the JAR file will run the program.

How To Use

Enter some lyrics in the top pane (this is the source file). Add chords in square brackets (like [C]) right before the place where the chord changes. Hit the "Refresh PDF" button to view the output in the bottom pane.

You can download this sample input file (Folsom Prison Blues), and then hit the "Open Source File" button to load it. Hit "Refresh PDF" to see the output in the bottom pane.


Title & Artist information
Add the following to the top of the source file to specify a song title and artist:
[$title=Folsom Prison Blues]
[$artist=Johnny Cash]

Indented Sections
Typically, chorus and bridge sections are indented. Use the following section wrapper to indent the contained lines:
[section start;Chorus:;36.0]
These two lines will be indented by half an inch (72 points = 1 inch).
It will have a label above it that says "Chorus:".
[section end]

Chord Definitions
If you want to define your own chords, add lines like this to your input:
[define C2=C:5,4,3,3]
Then you can use the new chord [C2]. "C" is the chord label, and the numbers are the g-, c-, e-, and a- string fret numbers. Use a fret number of -1 to put an X in the chord diagram.

Section Labels
If you want to add a label (displayed in bold) you can add this:

Tab Sections
To add a section of monospaced font (great for tablature, but doesn't have to be tablature) you can do this:
[tab start]
Folsom Prison Intro Riff:
[tab end]

Page Break
If you want to add a page break you can add this:
[page break]

Tips & Tricks

Pressing <Ctrl> + Enter will quickly refresh the PDF view (this is the same as hitting the "Refresh PDF" button).

Pressing <Ctrl> + d will delete a line of input.

Drag and drop selected text to move it easily within the input pane.

Hold <Ctrl> while dragging & dropping to copy the selected text.

Right-click in the top pane for a menu of quick codes to add:

Use the "Save PDF" buttons to save a PDF that you can share with the world.

Use the "Save Source File" buttons to save the content in the top pane (so you can change it later).

Change the window width to change the output view zoom.

Drag the pane separator to give more or less room to the output view.

Questions? Problems?

Email with comments, questions, problems. Feel free to send cash if this program is saving your sanity from Microsoft Word hell.  =)

Ukulele Robot,
Nov 20, 2015, 8:55 AM
Ukulele Robot,
Jan 2, 2021, 12:13 PM