Chord charts are central to any worship team. They serve as a roadmap, help you get through an arrangement from start to finish. They are the bridge between “We don’t know this song” and “Let’s lead this song on Sunday!”
But more often than not, chord charts are neglected and under-utilized, becoming a sub-par substitute for what they could be: a well-designed, accurate guide that aids your worship team to lead the song well.
For most people, though, creating accurate & detailed chord charts sounds impossible. You might have no idea where to begin, or what would actually be valuable to your worship team members. But with Planning Center’s tools, a better chord-chart experience may be more attainable (and pain-free) than you think!
One quick way to instantly level-up your worship team’s chord charts within Planning Center: Stop using un-editable PDFs, and start using dynamic text.
You’ve been there. You downloaded a chord chart for your new song, but there were several chords you wanted to add (and several you wanted to delete!).
But instead of getting out a big black Sharpie and some white-out, try importing chord charts into Planning Center using dynamic text.
What is “dynamic text”, you ask? In simple terms, Planning Center uses simple coding that allows you to type in your chord chart with plain text, and change it instantly with a few keystrokes.
Making small changes to a chord chart is invaluable as a worship leader. Maybe you want to add a chord at the end of a verse, or make a note to hold for 2 bars before going into the bridge. With an inflexible chord chart PDF, it’s difficult to make these small changes. But with dynamic text, you can do it instantly and effortlessly!
You can go about this two different ways: You can save time by going through online third-party vendors who supply chord charts as TXT files, meaning they’ve already done most of the hard work for you (for not much more than just a couple dollars). Or if you like the homemade variety, all it takes is some simple typing tricks and you’ll be set to go.
There are many tricks one can use in dynamic text (more on that in next month’s article!), but the simplest (and most often used) trick of dynamic-text chord-charts is to abandon the old practice of typing the chords on a text-line above the lyrics, and instead attach the chords to the lyrics on a single line of text.
Take a look at the screenshot. All the text is in a single line, and the chords are placed directly in front of the specific lyrics you want the chord to appear above. All you do is use the straight brackets ( [ and ] ) to enclose the chord, and don’t add any extra space-bar spaces. It’s that simple, and it makes the chord chart instantly cleaner and easier to follow!
The head that [Gb]once was [Bbm7]crowned with [Ab]thorns
It now doesn’t matter if you need to move this chunk of text somewhere else on the chord chart – because you’ve typed in the chords according to dynamic-text rules, the text will be perfectly formatted no matter what.
Some of the most beautiful things about dynamic text is that it keeps your chord chart clean and accurate. If you want to delete chords, it takes just a couple clicks. If you want to add chords, it takes just a couple more clicks!
Most importantly, all dynamic text is transposable. Which means if you play a song in five different keys, one keystroke will change that chord on every key you make available in Planning Center. Talk about easy shortcuts! Plus, you don’t have to wonder if your chord charts are right or not. All you need to do is make sure one chord chart is correct (the master dynamic-text), and all the others will follow.
And just like that, you’re turning into a Planning Center Pro. Your team will definitely thank you! More to come. See you next time!