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. 

Using an Airturn Pedal

Using an Airturn Pedal

You can use a Bluetooth Pedal to turn pages wirelessly with unrealBook.

Setup unrealBook for the Airturn Bluetooth Pedal


Choose Settings->Network


Choose AirTurn Setup, then turn AirTurn Support ON. If you are using a BT-105/106 or Keyboard Based Pedal, make sure it is paired in the iPad Settings app first. Then based on whether you have a BT-105/106, Coda Technologies STOMP, iRig BlueTurn, PageFlip, follow these instructions.

If you have a PED, PED Pro, BT-200, these are AirDirect pedals. Follow these instructions. Note the port assignment order!

Footswitch is 1,3,2,4 in sequence on the pedalboard in Settings->Network->Airturn Switch AssignmentsUse AirDirect mode 1.

Choosing a Song/PDF File

It’s easy to choose a song/PDF file.

Press the Songs menu


Select All Files from the Songs menu.

Select a song to load


Simply press a song to load. If you press and hold on a song in the All Files menu, a small preview will appear. From this preview you can rename and delete the file.

Search for a specified song


Type into the search field to locate a specified song. You do not have to type the entire name. unrealBook can search for a subset of letters. If you make a mistake, swipe left on the search field to clear it. Swipe right to bring back the last search term. Swipe left on the file name to delete it.

Deleting a song

Swipe left on the file name in the All Files menu to delete a file.

Preview a song


Press and hold on the song name in the All Files menu to get a preview of the file. You can Duplicate, Rename and Delete the file from this preview window.

Rebuilding the All Files list

To rebuild the All Files list, pull down on it. You may have to do this after adding a PDF to unrealBook’s folder. You can also rebuild the Quick Find and any index list by pulling down on it.

Quick Find

Quick Find will display a list of files and indexes (if you have created them). This can be useful if you want to see every single song listing – but if you have lots of indexes, it can be overwhelming. In that case, using All Files and then pressing the All Indexes button may be a quicker way to switch between files and index listings. Pull down on the Quick Find to rebuild the list.


This will list files in order of newest at the top and oldest at the bottom. Useful if you have just added a few PDF files and want to remember which ones you have added recently.

Recently Loaded


This will list songs in the order they were loaded in unrealBook. This is useful if you want to see what songs you played previously. To reset the list, simply swipe left across the Recently Loaded text and press the red delete button to reset the list and start over. If you press the Save button, you can also choose to save the Recently Loaded list as a set list or as a regular alphabetized list that appears in the Songs menu.

Getting songs into unrealBook

The first thing that you must do is get PDF files into unrealBook. There are several ways to do this. Using iTunes is the main way to load a number of PDF files into unrealBook. All PDF files that are in the unrealBook Documents folder will be listed in the Songs menu. All files must be of PDF type and have a .pdf extension.

There are many ways to get PDF files into unrealBook, please access the Info & Help menu to access the support pages (must have internet connection). 

You can use iTunes, iMazing (from, email, open in…. from another program,, and Airdrop from a computer. Access the support pages for all fo the latest information.

Access the support pages (FAQ-Knowledge Base and Manual)


Access the unrealBook support page and get the latest information regarding unrealBook and iOS changes. All the latest information and questions answered.

Quick Start for – Access dropbox


You must have a account. Once you have an account, put your PDF files inside a folder. All of the PDF files must have a .pdf or .PDF extension. Choose Dropbox – Remote files from the Action menu. Log in with your dropbox name and password.

Quick Start for – download your new files


Navigate to your dropbox folder and choose Get New. All the newest files will be downloaded into unrealBook.

The Toolbar

The top toolbar is what you will be using most of the time.

Tap the center of the screen to hide and show the toolbar.

Top Toolbar

The buttons are Songs menu, Go menu, Do menu, dB (keywords menu), CD/Music menu, Draw menu, Action menu button and Settings.

The bottom toolbar accesses the set list operations.

Bottom Set List Toolbar

The buttons are: + button on the left, previous song, set list popup/chooser, next song and set list songs popup.

Tap to do something

You can tap in different areas of the screen.

Tap in the middle to toggle the toolbars. Tap in the left to go to the previous page. Tap in the right to go to the next page. Double-tap in the middle of the screen to reset the zoom to default.

**There is also a shortcut to the Songs menu. Tap the top left corner to quickly access the Songs menu.

Access the support pages (FAQ-Knowledge Base and Manual)

Access the unrealBook support page and get the lastest information regarding unrealBook and iOS changes. All the latest information and questions answered.