Managing Songs in OpenLP

One of the primary features in OpenLP is the ability to add, import, edit, and project song lyrics. Here’s a brief overview of how you can manage songs in OpenLP.

The Song Library

After running the First Time Wizard, the application window pops up. On the left side of the screen you’ll see the Library with several tabs labeled Songs, Bible, Images, and so forth. These tabs expand when you click them so you can see the contents. This post is about Songs, so click the songs tab. If you added the sample songs in the First Time Wizard, all the sample song titles will appear. If no, this section will be blank.

Creating a Song

Before you can project a song, you have to have it saved in OpenLP. There are several options for importing and creating songs. If you don’t already have any song resources from any other software, you’ll need to create your own songs.

At the top of the Songs Library tab you’ll see a row of icons. These will help you manage your songs. To create a song, click the sheet of paper with the green + symbol. The song editor window pops up with several blank fields. The most basic required fields are as follows, listed by their tab:

  • Title & Lyrics: title, lyrics, verse order
  • Author, Topics, & Songbooks: authors

In order to comply with copyright licensing laws, I recommend being sure to get an account with CCLI and adding the Copyright info & CCLI number for each song as well.

Adding Title & Lyrics

Filling in the title is self-explanatory. However, the lyrics can be a bit tricky at first. You’ll type each stanza (Verse, Chorus, etc.) of the song on its own slide and then add a typical verse order.

To add a slide, on the right find and click Add. A new window pops up where you can type in the stanza, line by line, and give the stanza a name. How many lines and how long are entirely up to you. The visuals will be handled by the themes, so for now you’ll just want to get the song typed in. Once you get the stanza typed, click OK. Once all your stanzas are typed in, you can fill in the verse order.

To fill in the verse order, type the 2-digit Letter-Number abbreviation next to the stanza. So if you have 2 verses, a chorus, and a bridge, your verse order might be V1 C1 V2 B1 C1 C1. Notice that every stanza has a letter and number, so even if there’s only one Chorus or Bridge slide, it’ll have a number.

Adding Authors

To add an author, simply type the name in the Author field. If you have other songs by that author, their name will pop up. If not, you’ll be asked if you want to create a new author. Then you’ll click the Add to Song button to add the author to the song.

Copyright Info and CCLI

This information can be found many places. I prefer to go straight to the CCLI website, but many other sites like PraiseCharts and MultiTracks have this information as well. One note, if you want the copyright symbol before the year, click the © beside the Copyright Information field… it’s actually a button that adds the symbol to the field.

Saving the Song

Once you have the Title, Lyrics, Authors, and Copyright information stored, you’ve got everything you need for your song. Songs have several other advanced options as well, but these are the basics you’ll need for every song. Click Save and the song is now listed in your song library.

Editing a Song

To edit a song, click the icon of a sheet of paper with a pencil at the top of the Song Library. This will pull up the same song editor window you use to create the song with all the song information ready for editing.

Projecting Song Lyrics

There are a couple different ways to project the song. One way is to project the song live from the Song Library. This is useful if, for example, the song leader changes songs on the fly to something not in the service. To project a song live from the Song Library, click the projector icon at the top of the Song Library.

You can also add the song to a service. To add a song to a service, single-click the title of the song in the Song Library. Then click the + icon at the top of the Song Library. The song title will show up in the Service Manage tab on the right side of the screen. (I’ll cover services in a later post.)

More Information and Assistance

For more information about creating, importing, and managing songs, including importing songs from other services, check out the OpenLP manual on their website, If you run into any particular issues or need more assistance, feel free to send me a message and I’ll be happy to try to help 🙂

Getting Started with OpenLP

OpenLP is an open source, feature-rich lyric presentation application. In layman’s terms, it’s free projection software with it has all the basic features as well as plenty of extras. It was designed especially for churches to present song lyrics and message slides. This makes it a great option for smaller churches with limited budgets that desire a way to project song lyrics and other kinds of images, messages, notes, etc. for services.

Getting up and running with Open LP is pretty straight-forward, but it can be a bit intimidating for the first-time user. So if you’re looking for some help getting started with Open LP, please keep reading.

Download and Installation

It’s usually best to download software from the company’s own website when possible. This is typically the most secure and up-to-date option. The OpenLP installer packages can be downloaded directly from their website,

On the website, click “Download” from the top menu. Then download the installer for your computer system. I recommend using the Direct Download option.

To install the application, find the downloaded file. There are several ways to do this, but the two most common are either double-click the downloaded file when it shows up as complete at the bottom of your browser or use your Finder/Explorer to find the file in your Downloads folder and double-click it. Then proceed with the instructions.

Setup with the First Time Wizard

To run the program, find and double-click the application icon on your desktop, in your start menu, or in your applications folder. This will launch the First Time Wizard. First, select the translation (I recommend Autodetect). Then read the directions and click Next through the wizard.

You’ll be presented with options for Plugins (leave these alone), Sample Songs (skip), Sample Bibles (skip), and Sample Themes (skip). As for the remainder of the settings, I suggest just leaving them as they are for now. When you get to the last page of the wizard, click Finish, let OpenLP do its thing. The application window will appear and you’re ready to use OpenLP.

OpenLP Manual and Assistance

If you’re looking for a more in-depth guide with visuals, head over to the OpenLP Manual at their website, which you can find at If you run into any particular issues or need more assistance, feel free to send me a message and I’ll be happy to try to help 🙂