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Changes to Documents on iOS

Started by arlo, March 31, 2020, 05:28:24 PM

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If you use document formats other than PDF

Apple has announced that it is dropping support for its original document viewing framework in December 2020, leaving a newer framework that only displays PDFs. If you are using Word, RTF, Pages, Keynote or PowerPoint files in Set List Maker, you should start thinking about converting those files. Here's a step-by-step:

  • Collect the documents you need to convert. If you don't already have these in a folder on your computer, you can copy them out of the app's data directory. For iOS, you'll need to use iTunes File Sharing, or Finder file sharing on Mac OS Catalina. For Android, you can use a file management app or USB file transfer.
  • Convert the files to PDFs. You can use this free, online tool. Just drag your documents to the web page, click Convert, and click Download. (You should probably start with a small number of documents at a time and progress to larger batches if it works well.)
  • Copy your new PDF files back into the app. You can use the same method you used in step 1. You will need to do this on each of your devices.
  • Open Set List Maker and export a backup of your database. Then for Word files, you can click Help > Utilities > Replace Word Files With PDFs. This will update your songs to link to the PDF files instead of the Word files, preserving annotations. For other document formats, you will need to edit each song to remove the link to the old file and add a link to the new file.
  • When you're done, you can remove the unsupported files from the app's data directory. However, you should keep the original files that you converted to PDFs. To edit your documents in the future, you will need to edit these original files, then export the updated file as a PDF and copy the updated PDF back into the app.

Instead of converting to PDF files, you can copy and paste the contents of your old files directly into the Lyrics field of your songs. Pros and cons are listed here:

Or if you've considered migrating to BandHelper, you could do that now and the document update process will be easier. After exporting your Set List Maker databases into new BandHelper projects, and converting your files to PDF format, you can batch upload your new PDFs on the Repertoire > Documents page of the BandHelper website, and they will sync to all your devices.

If you want to try the new document viewer

While implementing the new document framework, I also implemented new frameworks for displaying photos and videos. After some initial hiccups, these new frameworks are working well, and you can switch to them for testing or regular use by turning off Help > Utilities > Use Old Document Viewer. The new viewer offers these advantages:

- Faster document display on iOS 11+
- More accurate paging through multi-page documents on iOS 11+
- Ability to save a zoom level for photos
- More reliable video display and control
- Ability to play a video on the main screen and an external screen simultaneously with the document-only external setting

Differences and disadvantages are:

- Pagination in a 2-column display moves two pages at a time (e.g., instead of changing from pages 1-2 to 2-3, it changes from pages 1-2 to 3-4)
- Saving a zoom position with the 2-column display is not supported, because it zooms both columns together
- Documents will have a gray border on iOS 10 and earlier

You can ask general questions here, but if you see any problems using the new viewer, please submit a help ticket.

Update Sept. 20, 2020: The app versions released today turn on the new document viewer for everyone by default. If you still need to use the old viewer because you have not converted to PDFs or because you are seeing a problem with the new viewer, you may switch back by turning on Help > Utilities > Use Old Document Viewer. However, if you are still using old file formats, remember to update your files by December; and if you are experiencing a problem, please contact us so we can address it.

Update May 9, 2021: The app versions released today remove the old document viewer, so there is no longer a way to view the old file formats in the app. None of the app stores allow downgrading to older app versions. You will need to convert these documents to PDFs or use the built-in Lyrics field as described above.


Here's an easy, free, web-based tool that converts Word, RTF and PowerPoint files to PDF:

Just drag and drop multiple files onto the web page, then click Convert, then click Download.