The Paperless Hymnal® - Frequently Asked Questions
File information
Using TPH
Equipment and Software

History of The Paperless Hymnal

Q - How did The Paperless Hymnal come into being?

A - In 1999, Roger Price became the minister at the Hyde Park Church of Christ in Austin, TX. Roger wanted to project slides during his sermons and with the help of several individuals, funding for the projector, screen and PC were obtained. The elders suggested to the music minister, James Tackett, that the words to the songs also be projected. James preferred that music also be projected, but such a program was not available at the time. Out of necessity, he started making his own slides for the songs being sung during their services. Making slides by scanning the songs from hymnals was ruled out because of lack of clarity and proper slide transition limitations. New artwork produced in Finale was the solution. It was much more time consuming, but the results were professional, consistent and adaptable. As others saw what Hyde Park was doing, a potential market was found for a full product. The first two volumes were published looking much like what you would see in a hymnal. Starting with Volume Three, the slides were changed to show only one stanza at a time with much larger font. A commercial font used in the advertising industry was found to be the best for clarity and readability. The first two volumes were also reformatted to show the new larger print. The phrase "paperless hymnal" was first used in a description of the product given by Joe Ed Furr, director of the Singing School at Abilene Christian University. The name stuck and is now the name of the company. "Paperless Hymnal" and the logo were filed with the Patents and Trademarks Office and have obtained the Registered status.

Introduction to The Paperless Hymnal

Q – Why is there a Paperless Hymnal?

A – Many churches are now using presentation software to project the lyrics to songs.  The Paperless Hymnal projects both the lyrics and the music to songs, allowing singers to read the music for their parts and help them learn new songs quicker. This influences the beautiful harmony we have always associated with our singing.

Q – Does everyone like The Paperless Hymnal?

A – No. Some people will always prefer having a book in their hands. Some will not like the change. Some churches have too much effort and time invested in their “lyrics only” methodology to consider allowing their members easy access to the music. It's interesting to note that it isn't just the techies who like The Paperless Hymnal. Many of the older generation have expressed their appreciation for its advantages. They no longer have to hold a heavy songbook and they can read it better.

Q - Does The Paperless Hymnal have any aids to help song and worship leaders?

A - Yes. We publish an Excel spreadsheet with topical, song and scripture indexes that contain songs from many hymnals besides those found in The Paperless Hymnal. This spreadsheet is available by clicking here for anyone to download and use. It is always in the process of being updated. Also, let us know what you think of the file and we welcome your suggestions.

File information

Q – What is The Paperless Hymnal?

A – TPH is a set of PowerPoint files. Each file is a song in PowerPoint format, ready to use in a presentation.

Q – What is PowerPoint?

A – PowerPoint is software published by Microsoft that allows slides stored on a PC to be displayed by way of a video projector.

Q – Can I use The Paperless Hymnal with other presentation software besides PowerPoint?

A – TPH is only tested with PowerPoint. However, any presentation software that will show PowerPoint formatted slides will be able to use TPH but it is not our intention to test or support these other programs. We have customers that use EasyWorship and MediaShout and report satisfaction.

Q – Will The Paperless Hymnal work on Mac’s as well as PC's?

A – Yes.

Using The Paperless Hymnal

Q – How do I use The Paperless Hymnal?

A – Once TPH has been loaded on your computer, songs can be copied into the presentation being put together for a song service.

Q – Must our church get a CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing International) license to use The Paperless Hymnal?

A – No. TPH is like any other hymnal you would buy for your church. The copyrights have already been paid by the publisher - us. Much of the cost of TPH goes to paying these copyright fees. If your church already has a CCLI license, your CCLI number should NOT appear on the slides used with TPH. This said, if you make copies of a song in our FullSong directory (which shows the entire song), a CCLI license would apply, just as it would in making copies from a paper hymnal.

Q – Why do some companies require a CCLI license to use their product?

A – If you see other products on the market that require a CCLI license, question it. CCLI licensing does not apply to products being sold. CCLI only applies to material being produced by a congregation - for congregational singing purposes only. All publishers must obtain permission to publish any copyright protected song and pay the required fees before they can sell that song in their product. We are upfront with copyright administrators when we request a contract. They understand that our customers will be displaying the songs in their services, just as they would be reading that same song from a book.

Q – Can we use The Paperless Hymnal with other “lyrics only” song slides?

A – Yes. TPH slides and “lyrics only” PowerPoint formatted slides can be mixed. Let us know which songs you are using in lyric only form and we will consider publishing those songs in future volumes.


Q - Why do you publish The Paperless Hymnal in volumes?

A - Volumes are published as the artwork and copyright permissions for about a hundred songs become available. This allows churches to make a smaller up front investment and add to that investment as volumes are published. This also allows the publisher a chance to include new and popular songs in a timely fashion. The Paperless Hymnal will always be an unfinished work. If The Paperless Hymnal was a single product, it would (1) quickly become dated, just as all hymnals do, (2) we would be limited to only those songs in the product as published, and (3) we would not be able to include many of the songs that our customers request.

Q – How often will The Paperless Hymnal publish a new volume?

A – It is our plan to publish a new volume of 100 songs every year. We do not offer a subscription service but will let registered users know when new volumes are available. You can always check our web site for new volumes.

Q – How are the songs chosen for The Paperless Hymnal?

A – We try to publish the most popular songs in use by churches today. Our customers are encouraged to give us their list of songs that they want to see included in The Paperless Hymnal. When more than one request comes in for a song, we start looking for a good arrangement and start checking ownership and the licensing process. When we know that a song can be published, we produce the artwork. When enough songs are ready, we send out request for contracts. As soon as we have in the required number of contracts, we publish the volume.

Q – Why don't you publish a set of songs that match a particular hymnal?

A – A hymnal is a copyrighted collection of songs. We don't have the right to copy someone else's book. That doesn't mean that at some point we will not partner with a publisher to provide the slides for their songbook, but it would not our product. Besides, one of the advantages of The Paperless Hymnal is the fact that our product is not limited by the number of songs that can be printed between two pieces of cardboard.

Q – How can we obtain files in 16X9 format?

A - If you are a Paperless Hymnal customer, you can update your files one of two ways:
1) Purchase an additional volume/s
    You will get the additional volume in both 4X3 and 16X9 formats
    You will get copies of your original purchases in both 4X3 an 16X9 formats
2) Purchase a replacement CD/DVD/USB Drive
    You will get a new set of files for less than the cost of a single volume
    You must email us at to arrange to do this

Q – My PC doesn't have an optical drive. Can we get files on a USB Drive?

A - You, you can request your files be send on a USB Drive. There is an additional but reasonable price for the drive.

Equipment and Software

Q - What equipment is necessary to use The Paperless Hymnal?

A - At a minimum, you will need a PC (or Mac), a projector and a screen. The PC or MAC can be running any current operating system. You will need a program that will display PowerPoint files and having PowerPoint isn't a bad idea to put your presentations together even if you are using another program to display the presentation files. Adequate memory usually isn't a problem when showing PowerPoint. It takes about 400 Mbytes of disk space to store the first eight volumes of The Paperless Hymnal and about 1MByte of disk space to hold each presentation. It is reported that our files work fine with Microsoft Vista and MAC users report no problems.

For best results, the projector should be able to resolve 1024X768, be set to 1024X768 and the PC video should be set to 1024X768.

Q – Can we show The Paperless Hymnal on our present projection system?

A – That depends. If you have a good bright projector and a large screen, it most likely will work.

Q – How large should our screen be to use The Paperless Hymnal?

A – A good physical check is to take a your regular book hymnal, go to the back of the auditorium, open it up to a song and hold the hymnal up in front of you as if the song was being projected at the front of the auditorium. Pick out points at the front of the auditorium that correspond to the left and right edges of the song. Measure the distance between these two points at the front of the auditorium to find the horizontal dimensions for a properly sized screen.

Q – Can our church get professional help in choosing a projection system for our building?

A – There are many audio/video companies in the business of helping churches with their video and audio needs. They can work with you in your present building or from the planning stages for a future building.

Q – Does Microsoft PowerPoint come with The Paperless Hymnal?

A – No. PowerPoint must be purchased separately.

Q – What operating systems and PowerPoint versions is The Paperless Hymnal tested on?

A – TPH is tested on Windows XP and on Power Point 2002 & 2003. Customers report that Vista works well, but we do not use it because of the file differences. Some Vista customers have reported that at times some staff lines do not show up. For Vista users, we suggest that you save your PowerPoint files as an older version that has an extension of ppt instead of pptx.

Q – How can I keep up with new offerings from The Paperless Hymnal?

A – If you are not a registered user, you can check this web site from time to time. This is our tool to let the world know about what is going on with TPH. Registered users of TPH get emails from us, notifying them of new offerings, as well as updated files that may have corrections.

Purchasing The Paperless Hymnal

Q – How can we “test drive” The Paperless Hymnal before we commit to a purchase?

A – This web site has over seventy songs that can be downloaded and are free for you to use without any further permission from us. Just copy these songs into your presentation and give them a try.

Q – How can we purchase The Paperless Hymnal?

A – You can order from this web site or from any of our resellers. We accept checks or can bill your church but only our resellers can accept credit cards at this time.

Q – Will The Paperless Hymnal consider customizing songs for our church?

A – Run it by us and we will consider it, but there is no guarantee that we will have the time or resources to do custom work. Such work would be done on a per hour basis and such custom work would remain the property of TPH and would possibly be used in future volumes of TPH.

Q - How is The Paperless Hymnal shipped?

A - We ship The Paperless Hymnal USPS Mail unless asked to do so otherwise. Shipping is charged to the buyer if not sent regular or media aail. The files arrive on a CD or DVD, or USB Drive if requested.

User Support

Q – Does The Paperless Hymnal provide support to its customers?

A - Yes. We are only a phone call away at 512-785-9303 or you may Email us at

Q – How may I stay apprised of new products from The Paperless Hymnal?

A - All registered users receive a monthly newsletter by Email updating them on progress of new volumes.

Q - What if I find a mistake in one of the songs?

A - Please let us know by going to our Correction Form. Fill it out and we will make the correction, post it on our web site and let all our registered uses know that the corrections is available by way of the monthly newsletter.

Q - I don't get the monthly newsletter. What do I have to do to get it?

A - All you have to do is register. You will need to know the serial number from your last Paperless Hymnal CD. Using our registration form is easy and painless. Afterward you will receive monthly updates and news.

Q - I am registered but do not get the monthly newsletter.

A - 1) We might have failed to place you in the distribution list. 2) You might have changed your email address and didn't let us know? In either case, please fill out our registration form again. 3) You might have your email set up to not accept any "spam emails" from any source. Our monthly email may look like spam to your email program. To correct this, place "" in the contact list of your email program.