I want to make a printable document with some song lyrics with chords. Preferably printable as a booklet.

I have previously been-copy pasting into word, and printing. So far I have found three options:

  • Latex, with the Songs package.
  • OpenSong, free song book program.
  • Word, and some elbow grease.

I have some latex experience and will try out the songs package. I do dislike that it will be hard for non-sciency friends to help out, and the output could be sexier. SongBook seems optimized for screen showing hymns (not my purpose). Word seems to require a lot of work to get a good looking result.

Do you have any other suggestions?

  • My purpose of this: make a booklet of previous songs sung at a yearly get-together as well as writing down songs I play on the guitar (I am forgetting songs that I have been singing :( ).
    – Petter TB
    Aug 7, 2017 at 19:47

1 Answer 1


I would suggest taking a look at LilyPond it is one of the best music typesetting packages available:

  • Free, Gratis & Open Source
  • Cross Platform Windows, Linux & OS-X
  • Includes multiple types of music notation from Gregorian Chants to full orchestration, including cording.

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You can even find a recipe for creating a booklet at https://github.com/noteflakes/lilypond-cookbook/wiki/Creating-a-booklet

  • It seems a bit heavyweight for my purposes, I don't need sheet music (and don't really read sheet music). Snippets of tablature could be useful, tho. How is the output formatted? PDF single pages? I couldn't find it on the website. Thanks! :)
    – Petter TB
    Aug 8, 2017 at 6:18
  • You can, I believe, have fret board and lyrics only I believe - I am not a music expert so can't be sure, lilypond.org/doc/v2.18/Documentation/snippets/fretted-strings is worth a read. Output is any of pdf, ps or png. Postscript & PDF files are multi-page by default but there are tricks to generate multiple pdfs for different parts, etc. You might also like the Frescobaldi GUI frescobaldi.org Aug 8, 2017 at 7:17
  • Could I have lyrics with chords above them? Like the sample chordbooks here: songs.sourceforge.net/docs.html
    – Petter TB
    Aug 8, 2017 at 9:00
  • 1
    Fretboard + lyric, or fretboard only, will be useful some of the time for some songs, but I would love to be able to simply have the chords + lyrics, or only the lyrics, most of the time. Less is more when you scan through the song for a second after 4 beers.
    – Petter TB
    Aug 8, 2017 at 9:02
  • 1
    I suspect that you can have either - might be worth asking on the mailing list lilypond.org/contact.html - or searching &/or asking on music.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/lilypond Aug 8, 2017 at 12:51

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