The Quick Start will guide you through the most important features of TabOrganizer. It is highly recommended that you print this page and follow all steps in each section.
The first step is to set the preferences for your installation. Some of the preference options are only available after a data base is open, so we will open a database and then set the necessary options. See the Preferences documentation for more detailed information.
- Select Open ... from the Files menu or click the Open button in the toolbar.
- Demo.dbk will be set in the Open TabOrganizer Database file requestor. Click the Open button. Once the database is open, notice that the currently database status is displayed in the left portion of the status bar at the bottom of the window.
- Select Preferences .. from the File menu, or click the Prefs button in the toolbar to open the TabOrganizer Preferences window.
- There are two view tabs in the preferences window, General and Program. Although nothing needs to be changed on the General view tab, change the Default Genre to either Guitar - Fingerstyle or Rock. Most of the tablatures in the demo are either fingerstyle or rock. By setting the default in advance, the genre for newly added tablatures will set to this default.
- Select the Program view tab. The path to the program that views and plays the tablatures (GuitarPro, PowerTab and/or TablEdit) has to be set, so if you have the program installed on your PC, follow steps 6 and 7 for each program
- Select the program name in the Program dropdown box.
- Click the Folder button to the right of the Program Path and navigate to where you have the program installed on your PC. Select the .exe file (GuitarPro - GP4.exe; PowerTab - PTEditor.exe; TablEdit - tabledit.exe or tefview.exe).
- Notice the %1 added to the end of the program path as you set it. Some programs require the filename to be enclosed in quotation marks. If you get a message that the program cannot find the specified file when you try to open it in the Tablatures window (next step), return to preferences and place a checkmark in the Quotes checkbox. For PowerTab, place a check mark in the Quotes checkbox. Notice that the %1 has now been enclosed in quotation marks.
- Before closing the preferences window, notice the Alternate Naming checkbox at the bottom. We will re-visit preferences in the next section to change this item.
- Close the window.
The demo only has five tablatures loaded (more will be added in the following steps), but you can many of the features on the Tablatures view tab. The Tablatures window, shows a list of tablatures in the database on the left (the explorer) and the tablature detail on the right (the view). All of the fields in the tablature detail can be changed in this window.
- The Display dropdown box at the top determines the base type of tablature that will be shown in the explorer. Select Chord and only Crazy will be shown. Select TablEdit and only Gotta Travel On will be shown. Cycle through all of the items in the Display dropdown box as desired. When done reset the Display dropdown box to All Files.
- The Filter dropdown box further limits what will be shown in the explorer. Select Learning in the Filter dropdown box. Berceuse Pour Carla will be the only item in the explorer and the detail will be displayed in the view. Notice that the Learn radio button is selected. You can use the Learn radio button to keep a list of tabs you are learning or want to learn, and the Review radio button to keep a list of the tablatures you have learned for quick retrieval.
- Select By Artist in the Filter dropdown box. The Artist auto-fill dropdown box will be displayed. Select an Artist, and only tablatures for that Artist will appear in the explorer. The By Genre, By Group and By Creator all work in a similar manner.
- Reset the Display dropdown box to All Files and the Filter dropdown box to None to display all tablatures in the explorer.
- Berceuse Pour Carla and Gotta Travel On are both fingerstyle guitar arrangements, but the genre was not set when they were entered in the database. Select each one in the explorer, then change the Genre auto-fill dropdown box to Guitar - Fingerstyle. Any item in the detail view can be changed.
- Select Crazy in the explorer. Click the View button to open the built-in text tablature viewer. Close the window when you are done.
- Depending on which programs you have installed on your PC, select one of the other songs in the explorer, then click the View button. The tablature will be loaded into the appropriate program or you will get a warning message that no program has been set in preferences.
- Return to this section after the following two sections have been completed.
There are two ways to load new tablatures into the database. If you only have a few, you may wish to add them manually using the Add Tabs window. If you have a large number, the Auto Load Tabs window will probably be more effective. Let's start by adding a tablature manually.
- Click on the Add Tabs view tab.
- Click the Next button to open a file requester set to the default new tablatures folder set in preferences.
- Open the first tablature shown (Bouca Dance.gp4). The left section of the window will be filled in with the information that could be extracted from the tablature file, and the right section of the window will be initialized for a new tablature. They are separated by descriptive labels in the center. The background for the song field in both sections should be changed to a light tan color. This tan background color indicates the source and destination for data to be copied.
- Click in the song field in the left section. If the song title needs editing, it can be done now. The entire song name should be highlighted, so click the ABC button to change it to upper case. The click the Abc button to return it to proper case. You will normally not have to do this. as all information extracted from a tablature is automatically converted to proper case.
- Click the Copy button to copy the song name from the left section to the right section.
- Press the Enter key on your keyboard and a warning message will appear informing you that the song name is not in the database. Click to Yes button to add the song.
- The New Song window will appear and you will have a second chance to edit the song name. Press the [Enter] key until the Artist background color in the left section is turned to the tan color.
- Although the Artist displayed in the left section is already in the database, we will copy if from the tablature. Click into the Artist field in the left section to turn the background color to tan. Then click the Copy Button to copy the artist to the right section. If you know that the artist is already in the database, you can also type into the Artist field in the left section, and within a few keystrokes, the name will appear in the auto-fill dropdown box. Press the [Enter] key to advance to the Creator field.
- I happen to know that the tab was created by Michel even though the left section does not show his name in the creator field. We also know his name has been added to the database, right? Well let's see. Start typing his name in the Creator auto-fill dropdown box in the left section to see if it is found. After a few characters have been entered, press the [Enter] key. A requestor will appear informing you that the name is not in the database. In fact, the name is in the database as an artist, but not a creator. The two different designations exist to keep the size of the auto-fill dropdown boxes to a minimum. Answer No to the requestor, then press the [ESC] key to return the field to the default value.
- The Creator name in the left section is blank, but the name is in the artist field. Click the Copy button to enter the name into the Creator auto-fill dropdown box in the right section. Press the [Enter] key and the name in the database will be changed automatically to be both an Artist and a Creator. Note: you can copy from any left section field to any right section field. Again, the tan background color indicates the souce and destination fields when the Copy button is clicked.
- If you set the Default Genre to Guitar - Fingerstyle in preferences in the first step then this field will be automatically set. If not, selected Guitar - Fingerstyle.
- Click in the composer fields in both sections, and then click the Copy button. This is all the information that we have so this tab is done.
- Click the Next button and load the next tablature. This will save the tablature, rename the tablature we just added, save it in the proper program folder and prepare both sections foir the new tablature. Notice the lower right portion of the status bar tells you how many more tablaturess are remaining to be added.
- Continue adding all of the tablatures until the folder is empty.
When you add money_for_nothing.tab and sultans_for_swing.tab you will notice that the left portion consists of only one text area. Test tablatures have no standard for the required information, so you will have to search through the text to find the song titles, artists, etc and do any editing that might be required. When you find the songs name, convert it to proper case, remove the "_" characters, etc. then copy to the proper field in the right section. The song names should be Money For Nothing and Sultans Of Swing respectively. The artist for both is Dire Straits, and the genre set to Rock or whatever you wish. The Clean ASCII And Chord Tabs step will show you a method for easily preparing text tablatures for better entry into the database.
When you are done adding the tabs, return to the Tablatures view tab and notice that the newly added items in the explorer all have the new tablature icon (the checkmark). If you select New in the Filter dropdown box, only the newly added items will appear. If you click the Clear New button, the new tablature icons will be removed for all items in the explorer. If the explorer is blank when you clear the new tablature icons, don't be shocked!! Set the Filter dropdown back to None and all items will appear.
With some experience you will find that you can add tablatures very quickly using this method, but there is a better way when you have a large number of tablatures to add to the database. Let's proceed to the next step to see how it works.
Auto Load Tabs
The previous section led you through the manual entry of tablatures, now you will learn how to auto-load them. Before you proceed, be warned that the auto-load will add large numbers of tablatures very. very quickly. At the same time, the results is entirely dependent on how well the tablature files are documented. Therefore it is wise to to a little preparation before you load the tablatures.
Some guidelines to follow:
- Limit the number of tabs to be loaded to 20-25.
- Group them around a common theme if possible (same artist, same creator, sane genre) if possible or at least primarily one of those.
- Pre-set the theme(s). For instance, if you have a group of tablatures that are the same artist and same genre, preset both items before you start the load. The steps below will show you how to do this.
- Save the tablatures in a temporary folder rather than the normal program storage folder. A review process explained in the following steps will then save them to the proper program folder.
By following these guidelines, you will create a very clean database and reduce the possibility of adding garbage !! Remember Garbage In, Garbage out. Now let's Auto-load some tablatures.
- Click on the Auto Load Tabs view tab.
- Set the Source Folder by clicking the Folder button, then navigating to the AutoLoad folder in the requestor that opens.
- If you added all of the tablatures in the NewTabs folder in the previous section, proceed to the next step. If not, go back and add those tablatures until the folder is empty or temporarily copy them to another folder. The NewTabs folder Should be EMPTY.
- Set the Copy To Folder by clicking the Folder button, then navigating to the NewTabs folder in the requestor that opens. If you leave this field blank, the tablatures will be saved in the appropriate program folder and we do not want to do this right now. When you become more experienced, you can save them to the program storage folder if you wish, although you are advised not to do this.
- Even though the tablatures in the AutoLoad folder are not grouped around a common theme, preset the Default Artist to Michel Dalle Ave and the Default Genre to Guitar - Fingerstyle. In both cases, select the item in the corresponding dropdown box. By pre-setting the artist, if no artist is found in the tablature file, the default will be used, and all tablatures will be loaded with a genre of Guitar - Fingerstyle.
- The Default Creator should be set to Unknown and the Default Group to Other. If not set them accordingly in their corresponding dropdown box.
- Click the Start button.
- That was fast !! In the text areas at the bottom, the results of the auto-load is displayed. The left text area shows the tablatures that were loaded, while the right text area shows those that were not with a short description of the reason. In this case, they are all text tablatures and a valid name could not be located. We'll address these in the next section.
- At this point, the tablatures have been loaded to the database, but they have not been stored in the final program storage folder. Instead they have been saved in the NewTabs folder.
- Click on the Add Tabs view tab. We will now review the auto-load and make any needed changes that are required.
- Click on the Next button and load tab named Copper Kettle-02.tef from the NewTabs folder. Normally, you would just select them in order, but we will look at this tablature first, then you can review the rest of them.
- Now the added wrinkle to the Add Tabs from the previous section. Click the Find button, and the tablature that was auto-loaded into the database will be found and displayed in the right section of the window.
- Notice that the artist is Michel Dalle Ave rather than Chet Atkins. Why? Well we set the Default Artist in auto-load to Michel and no artist was found in the tablature file itself, so some changes need to be made.
- The Song should be highlighted in the right section, so press the [Enter] key to advance to the Artist auto-fill dropdown box.
- Click the Composed By textfield in the left section of the window to highlight Chet Atkins.
- Click the Copy button to copy it into the Artist auto-fill dropdown box in the right section.
- For this tablature, no other information is readily available, so we have it entered as best it can.
- Now, go back and review all of the other tablatures by clicking the Next Button followed by the Find button to locate the auto-loaded tablature in the database. Make any changes you feel are needed. On some you will need to change the artist, some the genre, and some may just need some suitable changes to meet your desires. When done, Click the Tablatures tab view, and do any of the steps in the Explore Tabs section.
Unfortunately, text tablatures do not have a well defined structure for identifying the song name, artist, composer, etc., they are merely a free form text file. To facilitate entering them into the database, this utility was developed. It modifies the tablature by adding a header to the files that can that can then be used in the Add Tabs or Auto Load Tabs windows. When you did the Auto Load section of this quick start, there were four tablatures that could not be loaded, so let's see what can be done to enter them into the database.
- Click on the Utilities view tab.
- Select Clean Text / Chord Files in the Select Utility dropdown box.
- Set the Source Folder by clicking the Folder button, then navigating to the AutoLoad folder in the requestor that opens. The Destination folder is set to NewTabs by default so no change is needed.
- If you had a group of text tablatures by the same artist and/or creator, you could set the Default Artist or Default Creator to the desired name. These would then be automatically added to the new header. In this case we do not have that situation, so leave them both set to Unknown.
- Click the Next button and select the first tablature in the file requestor that opens. It should be Mister Bojangles.
- The tablature is now displayed in the text area at the bottom of the window. Notice the header which includes the Title, Artist, Transcriber (Creator), Composer, Album and Copyright.
- What has to be done is to scan the tablature for any or all of these items, then do a copy/paste operation. Locate and highlight Mister Bojangles, then either click the Copy button or use the keyboard shortcut [Ctrl]-[C] to copy it to the clipboard.
- Move to the top the top of the text area then click somewhere to the right of Title:
- Now click the Paste button or use the keyboard shortcut [Ctrl]-[V] to paste from the the title from the clipboard into the header.
- Repeat steps 8-9 for the Artist (Chet Atkins), Transcriber (John Doe) and Composer (Jerry Jeff Walker)
- You can also copy and paste the email address at the end of the Transcriber. Make sure you leave at least one space between the name and email address. If an email address is detected in any tablature, it will be added to the name table when the name is added.
- Click the next button to save this tablature and open the next one.
- Repeat steps 8-9 for each tab in the AutoLoad folder copying as much information in each tab that you can find.
- When you have cleaned all four tablatures, you can either use the Add Tabs or Auto Load Tabs of this quick start to add them to the database. If you use the Auto Load Tabs, be sure to set the source directory to NewTabs.
TabOrganizer has a built-in procedure for creating and archive of your database at any point in time, This step will create zip files of all of the program storage folders as well as creating a backup copy of the database itself. All files are named with the date of the archive added as a suffix to the file name so they are easily identified. Now create an archive.
- Click on the Utilities view tab.
- Select Create Archive in the Select Utility dropdown box.
- Set the Destination Folder by clicking the Folder button, then navigating to the folder of your choice in the requestor that opens. As an alternative you can create the archive in the default zip folder.
- Click the Start button.
- The results of the archive is displayed in the text area at the bottom of the window.
- Copy the newly created files to an alternative storage device, CD-Rom or other hard drive.
- Click the Destination folder button to see the files that were created.
The built-in zip utility is very handy for creating zipped files to send to you friends. Here are the steps.
- Click on the Tablatures view tab.
- In the explorer, click on a song name, then click the Zip button to add it to the zip list. Repeat for three to four tabs.
- Click on the Utilities view tab.
- Select Zip Files in the Select Utility dropdown box.
- The text area at the bottom of the window shows all files in the current zip list. They are also in the Files To Zip dropdown box. If you want to delete one of the files, click the Delete button to the right of the dropdown box.
- Set the Destination Folder by clicking the Folder button, then navigating to the folder of your choice and entering a file name in the requestor that opens. As an alternative you can create the archive in the default zip folder.
- Click the Start button.
- Oops, we wanted to create individual zip files. Click the Individual radio button.
- Click the Start button and individual zip files are created.
- Click the Destination folder button to see the zip files that were created.
You have now experienced the most important features of TabOrganizer and should be able to gather some of your own tablatures and add them to the database. The demo version of the program is limited to 50 tablatures, so you should be able to add around 30 of your own. Before you leave the Quick Start, let's try one more thing. Remember when you did the preferences section, you were told to take notice of the Alternate Naming checkbox? Well let's go and change the setting and see what happens.
- Select Preferences from the File menu or click on the Prefs button in the toolbar.
- Click on the Programs view tab.
- Place a check mark in the Alternate Naming checkbox.
- Read the warning message that appears, then click the Yes button.
- A File Format Change Status window is displayed. Click Start and all file names in the program storage folders will be changed to the new format. Scroll the text area to see how the names were changed.
You can change back and forth as you wish, however, it is best to choose one of the formats for your permanent naming convention. You be the judge as to which you prefer.
Thanks for taking the time to go through the Quick Start, good luck and most of all have fun.