UKEPIX for Beginners

When I wrote UKEPIX, many computer users had experience with MS-DOS and programs that operated by using command lines. However, with the proliferation of personal computers over the last few years, such users are now the exception rather than the rule. In order to make UKEPIX accessible to a wider audience, I've written these installation and operating instructions. My goal is to make them bullet-proof. If anything is unclear to you, please contact me. I'll help the best I can and I'll modify the instructions based on your input.

You're probably now wondering where you can get song files for UKEPIX to work its magic. I create most of mine by typing them, but any source of text files such as most OLGA (OnLine Guitar Archive) will work with at most minor touchups. The most important thing is that the files be text (also known as ASCII). The Notepad and WordPad utilities that come with your computer can be used to create text files. You can also type lyrics into your word processor (such as MS Word) but be sure to save them as Text files. When you save, go to the "Save file type" box and select any of the many text file types (but not rich text). Save them to the directory that contains UKEPIX. When you construct your files, be sure to use a fixed width font such as Courier. If you use a proportional font such as Times Roman, chords will not be aligned properly in the output file.

Minor but important point: Because of the way the program was written, input files cannot be named as freely as Windows allows. The program states names must be of the form X.Y where X is no longer than 8 characters. This is a lie. The X portion can be longer, but please use only letters, numbers, and underscores. Do NOT use embedded spaces!!! The Y portion of the name should be no longer than 3 characters. "txt" is just fine.

Windows causes some confusion over file names by failing to display the .Y portion of file names for many file types. I recall one occasion helping a user who had inadvertently, we discovered, been creating files with names of the form song.txt.txt! To display your files' full names, go to My Computer on the desktop. Then, from the View menu go to Options and click on "Show all files". Unclick "Hide MS-DOS file extensions for file types that are registered and click on Okay.

Please let me know if you encounter any roadblocks. Now that you're up and running, you can experiment with UKEPIX's options. They allows you to specify your uke's tuning, which determines how the chord diagrams are drawn (the default is GCEA). They will even let you transpose a tune to a different key automatically without having to change the chord names yourself!


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Copyright © 2001 Gerard E. Dallal