How things work – Bookmarks, indexes, TOC

Every now and then someone wants to know about how to handle their PDF files – specifically PDF books etc…. Let me try and explain….

For simple one song per PDF, there are no problems. You search for them by name, call them up and add them to set lists. There are no problems with this.

The problems occur when there are two or more songs in a PDF. The user wants to access the songs as if they were individual songs.

The biggest problem is that the PDF file usually has absolutely no info about what it contains.

Some people say – why not do a text search? This doesn’t work for a large majority of PDF files. They are images and don’t contain text.

There are several ways unrealBook tries to help:

Bookmarks: Creating a bookmark will make a file that “points” to a page in a PDF. You can search for these bookmarks and add them to set lists just like any other file. The disadvantage is that you need to create a bookmark for every song you have.

Table of Contents (TOC) in a file via the Go Menu: This works for dialing up songs in a PDF. The advantage is that it’s built into the PDF. The disadvantage is that hardly any PDFs have a table of contents in them. You can create your own Table of Contents using an app like PDFOutliner. BTW: Table of Contents are also called “Outlines” in PDF speak. As of unrealBook 1.93 you can create an index from the table of contents.

Indexes: This is the ultimate solution for being able to dial up any song in a PDF. Index files (.csv) allow you to create a file that describes a PDF book in a way that you can call up songs by a user-defined name and easily add them to set lists. In addition, you can reference ANY PDF in an index. You can make your own custom lists that point to any file and page. Disadvantage is that you need to create this with a spreadsheet app but once you create it, it’s done and works great. Once an index (.csv file) has been created, copy it into the unrealBook documents folder like any other PDF and rebuild the All Indexes list by pulling down on it. The newly added index will appear in the various index lists.

Read about how to create an index.

Create index with Excel

Create index using the Index Editor

Basically there are 2 main ways to access songs; by filename or by index. That’s why you can call up All Indexes from the All Files menu.

In addition, Quick Find merges the two methods into one large list.

Here are some indexes for real books which are found on the internet. They may work right away. Some might need to be adjusted for your copy of the Real Book. Copy the files into your unrealBook documents folder like any other PDF.

Problems and Solutions

Problems and Solutions

Problem: unrealBook is acting strange – something used to work, now it doesn’t.
Try to completely quit unrealBook.  Try and run unrealbook again.

You want to be able to remember the songs that you played in a large pdf book and want to quickly access those songs again. 

Solution – use Bookmarks.
Select Add Bookmark from the Do Menu. Name the bookmark. Now the bookmark will appear in the main song list like any other file. Choose it to load the book and go directly to the song. 

Solution2 – use Export Pages.
Tap the Action Menu and choose Export Pages. The advantage of export pages over a bookmark is that Export Pages creates a new file that may load faster.

You need to quick way to recall songs that you need on the gig tonight. 

Solution – Use the set list feature in the Do Menu.
Create set lists using the set list feature and use the set list song popup to quickly access any song in the set list on the fly. 

You need to quick jump to another page due to a d.s. or to coda mark. 

Solution – Use the Hot Spot feature in the Do Menu.
Create Hot Spots and assign the page to jump to. 

You have a large “real book” type PDF with hundreds of pages. People are calling out songs on the fly. You need a way to get to the index page fast and a way to jump to the correct page number. The problem is that the page numbers don’t match what the PDF is telling you. Page 1 visually is really page 6 due to the cover page and notes. 

Solution – Use the Go Menu buttons.
Turn to the index page and hit the M+ button in the Go menu. Now any press on the M button will take you quickly to the index page. Now go to the first page that shows Page Number 1 visually (which could be page 6 etc….), now press the Set Page 1 button, now when you type any value into the Page: [] field, the correct page will be brought up. (Note: this will not work for PDFs with negative page offsets) 

Solution2 – Create an index for the PDF. Although this requires work ahead of time, you can create a searchable index for any large PDF in unrealBook.

You need to put a note to remind yourself to press program 8 on your keyboard during a section. 

Solution – Use the Add Text button in the Do Menu.
Select the Add Text button in the Do Menu and then press any where in the score. Now type in “program 8” and hit return. The note is placed on the score and automatically highlighted. 

You need to skim through a book quickly. 

Use the Go Menu -10, -2, -1, +1 +2 and +10 buttons to jump through the document quickly along with the Go Menu slider. 

You need to send someone a PDF or an annotated version of the current PDF. 

Solution – use the Action menu.
Press on the Action menu and choose from the various email choices. WARNING: do not choose Email ALL Screen Shots with a huge file because there is a limit to the maximum size and attachments that most email systems can handle. Use this for a maximum of 10 pages. 

You need to delete a file/bookmark or rename a file. 

Solution – use the Do Menu->Manage Files command.
Choose the Manage Files command in the Do Menu and select, then rename/delete your file. 

Connecting two or more iPads via Wifi

Connecting two or more iPads via Wifi

You can connect two or more iPads via Wifi so that one iPad can control multiple iPads (File loading and page turns).

Connect your iPads to a router or phone acting as a wifi hot spot

Use the Settings app on each iPad to connect to the same wifi network. The wifi router you connect to does not have to be connected to the internet. The wifi network can also be a phone with the hot spot feature turned on.

In the iPad settings app, make sure unrealBook is enabled under settings app->Privacy->Local Network->unrealBook

Set one iPad as the server.

Turn on Server Mode in the settings->Network window. Note the http:// address string. It will be the name of the iPad – for the name of the iPad omit any apostrophes in the name. If you want to share your files with slaves – you can turn Share Files ON. However, the slave iPads will be able to keep the files you share so use this feature wisely.

For each iPad you want as a slave, turn on slave mode and make sure the IP address string is the same as displayed in the server.


That’s it. Now the slave will follow the server when files are loaded and pages are turned. NOTE: please make sure the slave http:// address matches the master!

If it doesn’t work, see this debugging page:

Debug Server/Wifi

Asking for files that you don’t have on the slaves


You can have the slave ask the master for files that it doesn’t have. Any files not found will be automatically loaded from the master. The files are retained in the slave. You can find this option in settings->globals->functions.

Using the identity string


If you enter an identity string, your iPad can load alternate files from the main server. This is useful if you want to load alternate versions of PDF files. For example Bb parts or keyboard parts, or drum parts etc… All you have to do is type in a string for the identity. In the above picture, the identity string is -Bb-. When the server tells the slave to load a file, for example a file call test.pdf, the identity string will be appended and the filename will be test-Bb-.pdf. If the file is not found, unrealBook can try and load the file name as-is. If you want this, set if ID file not found, try to load received filename to ON.

Identity string as -Drums-


In the above picture, the identity string is -Drums-. This means any file that any file that the slave tries to load has the string “-Drums-” appended to the end. So test.pdf will be test-Drums-.pdf. So if you create a separate file for your drummer, all you have to do is add the string -Drums- to the end of the name.

Using an iRig Blueboard Pedal

Using an iRig Blueboard Pedal

You can use an iRig Blueboard pedal to control unrealBook wirelessly. There is no setup to do in unrealBook unless you have turned off MIDI Recv in the Settings->Global->More Options… The default setting is ON. Make sure the Blueboard is paired to the iRig Blueboard app on the iPad. You will need to pair the Blueboard to the iRig Blueboard app every time you turn it on

MIDI Recv must be set to ON


Go to Settings->Global->More Options… and make sure that MIDI Recv is set to ON. (This is the default).

Many fun options with the Blueboard

If the Blueboard is set to PROGRAM CHANGE MODE the following is possible.

BANK 1 – Program changes 1-4
The 4 buttons from left to right
Find, Music Player start/stop, Previous Page, Next Page

BANK 2 – Program changes 5-8
Find, Set List Song Popup, Previous Page, Next Page

BANK 3 – Program changes 9-12
Do Menu, Previous Page, Next Page, Find

BANK 4 – Program changes 13-16
Previous Page, Next Page, Music Player start/stop, Find

If the Blueboard is set to CONTROL CHANGE MODE, the buttons are completely programmable for control changes. This will allow for maximum flexibility!
Set the buttons in any order to these control numbers:

Controller number – function

0 – Find
1 – Pause/Continue player
2 – Previous Page
3 – Next Page
4 – Set List song popup
5 – Goto menu
6 – Do menu
7 – Quick Panel
8 – Previous File in set list (defaults to page one)
9 – Next File in set list (defaults to page one)
11 – Activate a visible Hot Spot, or double tap to jump to a specific Hot Spot. (iOS7 and above)
13 – Jump to the location of a Hot Spot set to controller 13 (iOS7 and above)
14 – Jump to the location of a Hot Spot set to controller 14 (iOS7 and above)

To set your BlueBoard to controller mode, run the BlueBoard app and press MENU on the top right.


Then choose Settings.

In the Settings window, set the BlueBoard to CTRL CHANGE (control change mode)



Assign the buttons

Once the Blueboard has been connected, the controller numbers will appear below each button. To change the numbers, simply tap on any of them and choose a new number and press done. The above picture shows the BlueBoard set to previous page, next page, hot spot jump for controller 13 and 14.