Singing The Faith Importer

The Methodist Church of Great Britain authorised a new Hymn book called Singing The Faith in 2011. Some of the words are revised from those in Hymns and Psalms, so it is important to be projecting the expected words. There is an electronic version available from, which runs only on Windows and needs a licence key to activate. It only produces output as Text, RTF, Word and PowerPoint, of which the most useful version from an OpenLP point of view is Text.

The Text files it produces are fairly basic, although the Song Import Wizard - using the Generic Document/Presentation importer makes a fairly good job of many of them.
I have started a Singing The Faith Importer, following

The plan is to deal with simple cases simply using the exported text files, and to add heuristics via a hints file to deal with all the cases where the import fails.


  • Hi John!

    Great to hear that you have started looking into this! We love contributions :smile:
    Do note that the guide you're looking at is a tad old, so it might not be 100% accurate.
    If you haven't done so already, I would recommend that you check out the code from the current development branch so that you don't get surprises when trying to add it later.
  • OK, I have checked out the development branch, and got it running in my Debian unstable test VM, with python3-pyqt5.qtwebengine from experimental, and other python3 packages from sid. My importer, which I copied and updated a little from my main system running Buster, with the packaged openlp (replacing and adding now runs with the development code. I have not used Bazaar before, so not sure where to put my updates so they dont interfere with the main trunk (I assume there is some equivalent of a git fork and merge). I could add some description to the page to describe the hints file and importer if that would be useful
  • Bazaar is like a simpler version of Git. This should help you with how Bazaar works: Then just use the wiki to guide you through how to contribute.
  • I have uploaded current work in progress to

    It works for a percentage of Singing The Faith songs, but the test fails, even though importing the test Hymn looks OK when imported into OpenLP and appears to project OK..

  • Good to see progress on this! Maybe you should propose a merge request to start the review process?
  • I have proposed a merge request - the importer is a work in progress, though an increasing percentage of cases are dealt with via a hints file.

    I have not included the hints file in the brz merge, as I am not sure that it sits properly in the OpenLP code base. It might be better being considered as external data. It may be that the best place to document the hints file would be in the Wiki - under a description of the importer, and possibly put the latest version of the hints file there too.
  • The format of the hints file is now available at
    I am working through, examining the output of the importer to check that, in combination with its hints file, it produces projectable output.

  • The initial version of the Singing The Faith Importer for OpenLP can now be run in a VirtualBox Virtual Machine under Windows.  In the Virtual Machine you run a Debian Installation of OpenLP 2.4.6, patched with the Importer. I do not recommend using this route for projection, but you can export Hymns from Hymnview on a Windows machine, use the Virtual machine to import them, and then export them as OpenLyric, and import them on your standard Windows install of OpenLP to project.

    To do this proceed as follows (Note that this is an outline, rather than full step-by-step guide, but all the major pieces are well described on the internet, The software is freely and legally available, so feel free to try it.

    1. Download and install VirtualBox from
    2. Download Debian Buster from You will want the 'amd64' netinst CD
    3. Run VirtualBox and Create a Virtual Machine - call it 'Debian OpenLP' - the type of the VM will be automatically set to Linux and sensible defaults set.
    4. VirtualBox will ask for an Installation source - select the CD Image you downloaded.
    5. The Debian installation should proceed - you will be asked for a root password - this is to create an Administrator password for your new Virtual Machine. It has nothing to do with any Windows passwords. Similarly you will be ased to create a user - again for the Virtual Machine, not for Windows.
    6. Once created the Virtual Machine will reboot and you will log in using the user password you invented.
    7. Start a 'Terminal' session - this may need some Googling
    8. In the terminal - the $ and # signs are not typed - they show roughly what the computer will type to prompt you, lines where I have started with a hyphen describe what is going on.
    9. $ /bin/su -
    10.  - the computer will ask you for the root password you set when you created the Virtual Machine - you now have administrator access.
    11. # apt-get install openlp
    12. - This installs the Debian version of the OpenLP program
    13. # cd /usr/share/openlp/openlp/plugins/songs/lib
    14. # mv
    15. # wget
    16. # cd importers
    17. # wget
    18. # exit
    19. - you are back to being a normal user without Administrator rights
    20. $ mkdir STF
    21. $ cd STF
    22. $ wget
    You will now have a version of OpenLP running under Linux - inside your Windows system.  If you put files which you have exported from the Electronic Version of Singing The Faith into the STF directory, along with the hints.tag you should be able to convert them into, in most cases, an song which can then be exported from your Linux copy of OpenLP and imported again into the Window copy of the program you use for live services.  For the importing and exporting you could use VirtualBox shares, or Dropbox, or upload from the Windows system to a Google Drive, or Microsoft Cloud (as long as you can access these via a web browser.
    I recommend shutting down the VirtualBox system when you are not using it for conversion to save system resources.

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