Slow/Large PDF files

This article will tell you how to make your super slow OR super large files work with unrealBook. This will make them smaller and faster to load.
This article assumes you are using a Macintosh.

If you have a Macintosh, try this small app I wrote (download then unzip, then run). Drag all your slow/large PDF files onto this app. It will prompt you for a destination folder, then it will process all the PDF files that were dragged onto the window. There will be some cases where the PDF might become larger (not many) but they will all turn well in unrealBook.

Here is the app download link.

If your iPad is an older one (iPad 2 or iPad mini first version), it will help immensely with page turns and will eliminate multiple pages being turned when one foot press was made.

You can also use smallPDF which is an online site. Excellent in making your PDF turn faster.

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.

Airturn PED Pedal info


  1. Turn on the PED.
  2. Press and hold the MODE button. The red
    LED will flash once per second from 1 to 6
    flashes. The number of flashes corresponds
    to the same MODE number. Be sure to count the flashes.
  3. Release the MODE button following the number of flashes that reflects the desired MODE. The blue and red LEDs will flash together the number of times indicating which MODE has been set.

Example: To set MODE 2 hold the MODE button for 2 flashes of the red LED, release and both LEDS will flash 2 times to confirm the MODE 2 setting.

Note: Once the MODE has been set, it will remain the same until it is changed following the above steps.

Reset pairing:

Pairing must be reset whenever switching from one device to another or when switching between MODES 1 and 2.

With the PED powered on, press and hold the power button for six seconds. After two seconds, the PED will appear to power down. Continue to hold the power button. At six seconds both LEDs will blink three times. After the third blink release the power button. The device has been reset. Remove any old pairing from your host computer and then turn on the PED to pair again with the desired host computer.


Note: This MODE is for PED-APP-Direct apps only.

  1. Power on the PED.
  2. Be sure the PED is in MODE 1.
  3. Go to your app and find the Bluetooth setup screen.
  4. Find the PED in the device list and tap on it.
  5. Tap on the Pair option in the dialog box.


Open your computer’s Bluetooth Setup dialog:

iOS – Select Settings>Bluetooth and turn on the Bluetooth if it is off. When the PED is discovered, it will appear in the list of devices. Tap on the selection. A dialog box will then appear. Tap on Pair.

Android – Select Settings>Bluetooth and turn it on if it is off. Make sure your device is set to discoverable. Then tap the SCAN button. When the PED appears, tap to pair.

PC – Select Control Panel, My Bluetooth Devices. Select “Add a device”. Click next and complete pairing.

MAC – Select Apple, System Preferences, Bluetooth and turn on Bluetooth. The PED will appear in the Devices window

iOS/iPadOS 15 so far


unrealBook works with iOS15 for the most basic functions.

MIDI has been tested and works as it always did.

Bluetooth master/slave seems to have issues – while I have made changes, this feature could be on the way out. I recommend Airdrop and Wifi for master/slave. A portable Wifi router is good enough.

More Functions

Settings>Global>Functions>More Functions

Accept multiple files without renaming: If you are airdropping a bunch of files, you can send multiple files to unrealBook. It will accept all the files overwriting any duplicates. Use this with caution. When this is enabled, the rename window will not appear. If this is off, only one file will be accepted at time and the rename dialog will appear.

Insert songs at top of setlist: When inserting songs into a set list, add them at the beginning instead of the end.

Show waveform with linked audio when this is on, a small waveform will appear to the right of the song listing in the all files popup.

Auto hide toolbars when this is on, the toolbars will hide after 5 seconds of non use.

Don’t offset toolbar lower at top when this is on, the top toolbar will be position at the highest point of the screen that it can be.

Use old drawing routines – (Non Apple Pencil) this is the default and is on. If you have a faster iPad, you can turn this off and the drawing will appear smoother when drawing with fingers.

Do not use audio in background when this is on, all audio will stop when unrealBook is put in the background and should give you better standby battery life.

Apostrophe and sorting

The “smart” keyboard for the iPad Pro seems to type in a different apostrophe character than the iPad itself. This can result in weird sorting problems. To fix this, use the on screen keyboard or set the Smart Keyboard “U.S. International – PC”. Set this in the settings app of the iPad under Hardware Keyboard.