Mechanics of Hymn Renewal

So you've decided to use "renewal" lyrics for non-copyright protected hymn.  You've settled on your updated lyrics.  Now you face the task of effectively communicating those lyrics to the congregation.

Your options will vary depending on your worship techniques.  In some fellowships, the congregation is often provided only with music showing the melody -- or are not provided with music at all.  In these traditions, there should be little problem in just printing out the new lyrics.

For those churches using songbooks or slides (words and music), the options are more limited.  Really, the only option is to provide an insert with the new lyrics or the new lyrics integrated into the music.  How is that done?  Read on.

If you have access to and skill with Finale or another music publishing program, you can republish the words and music in an integrated format.  But this takes substantial time even for skilled users of this software.  Hymns and hymn slides, moreover, generally require the most expensive version of the program so that measures can be broken to match lyrics, etc.  A much simpler way is to use PowerPoint (or comparable software) to manipulate an already available image of the hymn.  Such images may be found online, you may scan in an enlarged hymn page to create a new .pdf, or you may used purchased slide/hymn images from Paperless Hymnal (recommended), Taylor Publishing or other providers.  You will then essentially be just annotating these images with your new text.  The steps are as follows:

1.  Import/copy an image of the hymn into PowerPoint.  You may need to change the aspect of the slide to portrait from the landscape default.  Expand your image to fully fill the slide, thereby also increasing the space between the staffs where existing lyrics are printed.

2.  Go to INSERT.  Then choose TEXT BOX and click on the space between the staffs in the first line of the song.  Go ahead and type a few characters to preserve the box.  (You will see these characters superimposed and clashing with the already-existing lyrics.)

3.  On the Toolbar, go to the "SHAPE FILL" icon (if necessary, switch to the format menu) and stipulate a WHITE fill for your text box.  YOU WILL NOW SEE THE BOX OVERWRITING THE EXISTING LYRICS AND YOUR NEW TEXT ALONE WILL BE VISIBLE.

4.  Proceed to type in your new lyrics.  Expand your box with extra spaces/returns if needed to fully obscure the prior lyric.  You will need to size the font appropriately so that your line(s) will fit appropriately in the gap.  In general, a tall, narrow font will be best.  Arial Narrow is often a good choice and is widely available.  If reformating a song-book style presentation, use returns to put all verses of each line of the song in the same box.

5.  Try to ensure that your text box does not overlap the low alto/high tenor notes.  In some situations you may also need to alter the characteristics of the text box.  You may wish to alter text alignment (top, middle, bottom) or may wish to alter spacing so that there is less space above and below the characters you are typing (cf. esp. the "CUSTOM" spacing that allows you to substantially reduce the space between lines down to the point where lines will overlap if your font is too large for that setting).

6.  Insert as many additional text boxes as needed, one box filling each space in the midst of the standard SATB double staff.  NOTE:  Once you have properly formatted just one replacement line, you can generally COPY that text box and then reposition it elsewhere in the presentation as needed.  All that will then be necessary will be to edit the content of the text box, which is relatively easy.  Remember also that when you copy and paste a text box in the same or similar slide, it will often completely overlap the original box and will then need to be dragged off that location to be visible.

THE ABOVE TECHNIQUE works especially well if you are projecting songs by way of two-line slides.  You will generally find there is ample space to add new lyrics (and cover up the older lyrics).  You will generally not be able to reproduce exactly the proprietary fonts used by these publishers -- and these fonts have the tall, narrow shape that may permit more characters per inch than you can attain using Arial Narrow.  It will therefore be best to replace each entire line of a song in which a change is being made.  Once the box is in place and your text is entered, use the space bar to add spaces between the words/syllables so that they align with the notes.Remember also that duplicative chorus slides need only be "renewed" a single time.  COPY those renewed slides and insert them wherever the chorus repeats, deleting the old slides.  If editing multiple slides, remember that the "COPY" function will also duplicate the original position within the slide.  Thus, a COPY of a first line text box will PASTE into about the same spot on all subsequent slides.  A COPY of a second line text box will likewise PASTE into about the same spot on all subsequent slides.  Remembering this will save some time in repositioning.