Praise with Songview

Create musical programs for worship services and other presentations with this free tool.

When you think you've seen every variation on music management software, along comes a new one like Songview. It's a free "worship song display" program, though you provide the songs. It includes a slideshow and PowerPoint presentation maker, and a built-in Bible feature that can access a wide range of texts. It automatically produces a song use history for CCL licensing and offers congregation alerts, fade in and out, and slide editing during live displays, making it ideal for clergy and lay users who prepare worship services and programs. It's easy to learn and free, too, so anyone can use it.

Songview's interface is sparse but quite efficient, making subtle use of color to distinguish the tabs in its left-hand console, for instance, for Slideshow, PowerPoint, Numbers (songs), Titles, and Bible. We could store and recall entries via a series of numbered buttons at the bottom of the console as well as edit slideshows, song data and credits; set preferences; import and export songs; and other tasks. We clicked Import Songs, which opened a wizard that let us select song sources from a truly extensive drop-down list of sources for religious, liturgical, spiritual, gospel, and other types of music, and even convert some files directly from the wizard. The Slideshow tab offered a variety of stock images of nature, rosy clouds, and other such fare.

The Help file didn't open from the interface in 64-bit Windows, a common glitch with an easy fix from Microsoft, though we wish more software that claims 64-bit compatibility actually lived up to it. Songview's fully indexed Help file offered lots of detailed entries illustrated with screenshots, but the program also presents considerable information in text balloons and other pop-ups, and we never felt confused or lost.

Songview isn't an MP3 player or iTunes clone with a religious theme, though it does blend some of the features of DJ software and mixers with tools for creating and editing visual presentations. With a foot in several camps, it manages to bring together a range of features and tools that make it easy to create music programs for worship services and other purposes.

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