Reflections and Projections

Getting videos to work correctly in OpenLP using VLC.


Videos are a great way to enhance the worship experience. Sermon illustrations, home grown videos for announcements before or after a service, showing videos to help set a “mood” of worship before a service starts or through a multitude of other creative ways, videos can be effective tools for worship. OpenLP has the ability to play videos as part of the service using the Media tab. You simply add your video, or audio to OpenLP then use it as you do a song or Bible verses in your service. Easy.

If this works for you, don’t read any further, but what if you set up OpenLP and videos do not perform correctly? Actually, if videos work for you keep on reading anyway you might still need this someday. We are going to walk through a sure fire way of getting videos working in OpenLP without a lot of work.

First, lets look at how OpenLP plays videos. OpenLP uses resources already installed on your computer to play videos. That is enough detail, if you want to do an in-depth look at audio and video codecs by all means please do but just understand in theory if your computer will play a file, OpenLP “should” play this file also. Theories are great, but as with many this theory fails many times in practice. In the past the solution was to install codec packs and do a variety of other rather hackish things with hopes that videos would work. This is no longer the case, thanks to another open source project VLC paired with OpenLP 2.0.

If you have not heard of VLC lets just put it this way it is the premier media player, regardless of operating system. If VLC won’t play your file, stop, nothing will play your file. That may not be entirely the case, but chances are if VLC won’t play it nothing will. So what does this have to do with OpenLP you ask? Remember OpenLP uses resources on your computer to play videos and with VLC installed OpenLP can use this most awesome media player to take care of all of your media problems.

The first step is to download VLC from HERE. If you are running a Linux distro it should be available using your distro’s package manager. You will need version 2.0.3 or above to work correctly. Once you have VLC installed we are just about finished.

Now we need to tell OpenLP to use VLC to play all media. Don’t worry you won’t regret this and if you do you can always change this setting back. Go to Settings, then click on Configure OpenLP. You should now be greeted by a window that looks similar to this:

Configure OpenLP

Click on Media on the left hand panel to enter the media settings. You should see a list of available media players. Click on the check box to enable VLC. In the player order box, click on VLC and use the up arrow to promote it to the top of the list. You can also disable all the other media players if you wish. If you check the “Allow media player to be overridden” check box you can change the player on the fly from the Media tab in the Media Manager. This is a good option for some users, but really if you are using VLC you shouldn’t need to do this.

Media Configuration

That is it, you should now be able to play about any video you will ever get your hands on.

Note: If you install VLC while OpenLP is running you will need to restart OpenLP after installing VLC.

At Long Last, OpenLP 2.0 Has Arrived!

O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.

Psalms 96:1-2

We are ecstatic to announce the first stable release of the 2.0 series of OpenLP! We've been developing this new version of OpenLP for four years now, and this long awaited mature release contains numerous improvements over OpenLP 1.2.

New Features We Like Most

It is difficult to pick a single favourite with so many new features, so we decided make a list of our top favourites instead:

  • Support for four major operating systems - Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and FreeBSD (a first priority for many of us)
  • Better media support by integrating VLC into OpenLP (requires VLC to be installed)
  • An enormous list of programs to import songs from, so that switching to OpenLP is fast and easy (see below for a full list of supported programs)
  • More Bibles available (there are more import formats supported)
  • Remotely control OpenLP via any device with a browser
  • Android remote control app
  • Stage view
  • Show and control PowerPoint presentations through OpenLP

For a full list of features, check out our Features page.

Features You'll Know From Version 1.2

And of course most of the old core stuff works just as well as, or even better than before:

  • Presenting songs and Bible verses
  • Showing images and playing videos
  • CCLI reports

Making the switch

We all know that the worst part of switching to a new program is getting all your songs from the old one into the new one. Typically this involves a whole lot of copying and pasting between programs, or just plain re-typing songs from scratch. We realised that this is a huge pain, and so OpenLP ships with a song import wizard which can import your songs from a record number of existing applications. OpenLP will save you time and import your whole lyrics database from any of the following programs:

  • DreamBeam
  • EasySlides
  • EasyWorship
  • FoilPresenter
  • MediaShout
  • OpenSong
  • PowerSong
  • SongBeamer
  • SongPro
  • SongShow Plus
  • Songs of Fellowship
  • Sunday Plus
  • Words of Worship
  • ZionWorx

Known Limitations on Some Platforms

  • Not all versions of VLC work with OpenLP.  VLC 2.0.3 has been tested and is known to work well.
  • On Windows, OpenLP is a 32bit application and therefore only works with a 32bit VLC.
  • On Mac OS X, the only version of VLC that works with OpenLP is 2.0.3. Using an alternate version will cause OpenLP to crash.
  • Transparent themes have stopped working on Windows.

What Makes OpenLP So Awesome?

The number one thing we are proud of is that it is free software, and is licensed under the GNU General Public License. This means that OpenLP is and always will be free. Not only free in that you don't have to pay for it, but also you can freely download the source code and add your needed feature or let someone else do it for you. Furthermore, as long as there is at least one developer who needs improvements in OpenLP, the project will not fade away, like a number of commercial solutions have, leaving you with a program which will not run on your current operating system and all your songs locked away in a now-useless database.

In short, even if your church's budget is not that tight, there are plenty reasons why OpenLP is still a winning solution.

Where Do I Start?

Wow, you made it all the way down here without rushing off to download OpenLP? Impressive dedication! Well, go ahead and download OpenLP now!

If you are new to OpenLP, take a look at our list of video tutorials done by members of our community. A good video to start with is the Getting started with your service in OpenLP tutorial. If you get stuck, or want to learn more, we have a user guide (currently still being worked on) to show you how to do the most common tasks in OpenLP, and a reference manual which contains everything you'll ever need to know about OpenLP.


Last, but not least, I want to thank all the folks who have managed to make OpenLP 2.0 a reality. I would not have been able to accomplish such a huge task by myself. So, to the core team, Tim Bently, Jonathan Corwin, Andreas Preikschat, Martin Zibricky, Stevan Pettit, Wesley Stout, John Cegalis, Philip Ridout and Mattias Põldaru, and to all the others who have contributed to OpenLP, I want to say a big THANK YOU. You guys have been awesome, and I really appreciate all the hard work you do. It is often a thankless task.

In His name,
Raoul Snyman
OpenLP Project Leader

A minor Faux Pas, and some web site down time


It seems that we made a bit of a miscalculation, as some of us thought that the 1st of December was a Sunday. Only once we were getting closer to the release date did we realise that it was a Saturday!

Site Maintenance

So, we're still releasing OpenLP 2.0 this weekend, just on Sunday the 2nd of December, rather than Saturday the 1st. Are you ready for version 2.0?

In semi-related news, we'll be running some maintenance on the web site this weekend just before the release. So don't panic if see a "website under maintenance" page, the web site will be ready for the release on Sunday!

Last Call for Translators!

Translate OpenLP

Update: Instructions on how to test your translation out have been added to the bottom of this blog post.

This is the final call for all translators. If you wish to have OpenLP in your langauge you need to have completed the translation of OpenLP on the Transifex site *by midnight UTC (GMT) on Friday the 23rd of November 2012*.

Because we believe strongly in quality over quantity at OpenLP, we will not be including any translations that are incomplete into the final build. This means that if you want your language to be part of the final release of version 2.0, you need to make sure it is 100% done by the end of Friday the 23rd. This deadline also gives you just over a week to complete any outstanding translations.

Currently, the following translations are more than 85% complete, but still need some work (ordered from most complete to least complete). My estimate is that none of these should take longer than an hour to complete.

  1. Afrikaans
  2. Dutch
  3. German
  4. Hungarian
  5. Japanese
  6. Polish
  7. Spanish
  8. Greek
  9. French
  10. Danish

The following translations are between 20% and 65% complete. Unless these are worked on this week, they probably won't make it into the final release of OpenLP.

  1. Russian
  2. Finnish
  3. Slovak
  4. Bulgarian
  5. Italian
  6. Chinese (Taiwan)

Lastly, the following translations are less than 10% complete. If any of these translations makes it into the final release, I will be very surprised. These translations seem to have been abandoned by their translators.

  1. Korean
  2. Latvian
  3. Romanian
  4. Albanian
  5. Chinese (China)
  6. Korean (Korea)
  7. Spanish (Chile)

Current Status of OpenLP Translations

Testing Out Your Translation

To test your translation out, do the following:

  1. Make sure you are running the latest nightly build
  2. Install Qt Linguist Windows and OS X users can download Qt Linguist from here: Ubuntu, Fedora, and other Linux and Unix users can install Qt Linguist from their package manager
  3. Download the language file from Transifex
  4. Open it in Qt Linguist
  5. Open the File menu, select "Release" and save the resulting release file with only your language code as the file name (see Transifex for your language code)
  6. Copy the release file to OpenLP's i18n directory Windows: C:\Program Files\OpenLP\i18n or C:\Program Files (x86)\OpenLP\i18n Mac OS X: /Applications/ Linux: /usr/share/openlp/i18n/ *BSD: /usr/local/share/openlp/i18n/
  7. (Re)start Openlp and select your language

Media Kit Updated

Just a quick note to say that the media kit has been updated, the release date of OpenLP 2.0 in the media kit needed to be changed in light of the recent decision to postpone the release. Additionally, we've added another wallpaper.

You can download the media kit either as a zip file, or a tarball.

Update: We've just updated the media kit again, this time adding a set of example blog posts for those folks who want to blog about OpenLP but are unsure of what to say.

Version 2.0 Release Postponed

OpenLP version 2.0

As many of our users know, we've been aiming to make the final release of OpenLP 2.0 this coming weekend. After much thought and consideration, we have decided to postpone the release till the end of November.

When releasing software there comes a point where you need to decide whether or not it is good enough to be released. With OpenLP we had a look at the number of major, minor and trivial bugs outstanding and made the decision that it is not quite good enough for a final release. We would rather release OpenLP when we are happy with the quality of the software than with a bunch of glaring bugs we could have fixed if we waited just a little bit longer.

Don't forget that this gives everyone an extra couple of weeks to translate OpenLP, find more bugs, or just promote it in your Church circles.

See you at the end of November!

Update: After some discussion the development team has decided to release OpenLP 2.0 on the 1st of December 2012.

Let's Get Translating!

Translate OpenLP

Our non-English users would have noticed that some of them can use OpenLP in their own language. Now, I am an English speaker, so I don't have any issues using OpenLP as-is, but I can imagine that it would be way better to be able to use OpenLP in English if it were only available in another language.

The good news for our non-English users is that we already have a number of languages which are 100% (or close to 100%) translated. Unfortunately, the bad news is that not all the translations are complete, so there are still English words creeping through in a few translations. Additionally, in order to produce a top-quality final version of OpenLP, we'll be dropping any incomplete translations from OpenLP when we release it in 2 weeks time.

Here's the break down of the different translations we currently have:

Current Status of OpenLP Translations

Helping out with these translations is easy! Just go to Transifex and register, then go to the OpenLP project page, and then request to join a language team. Once you've been added to that team you will receive an e-mail notification, and all you need to do is login and start translating! It couldn't be simpler!

Translations need to be completed by midnight Tuesday, 23rd October UTC.

Media Kit Now Available!

OpenLP Media Kit

As promised (though more than a few days), I've created a basic media or press kit. I'll add more to the media kit as time goes by, but I wanted to get something out there now so that folks can start promoting OpenLP on their own sites and blogs.

In the initial version of the media kit, you'll find the following:

  • An OpenLP branded wallpaper in the follwing display ratios: 16:10, 16:9, 4:3 and 5:4.
  • The OpenLP icon in the following sizes: 16x16, 32x32, 48x48, 64x64, 128x128, 256x256 and 420x420.
  • An 80x15 badge for your website.
  • A project summary document for a quick blurb on websites.
  • Sample interview questions and answers for anyone who wants to interview the team (or wants an interview but doesn't want to actually interview us!).

As I gather more items, I'll add them to the media kit, so be on the look out for more updates, including more wallpapers and website badges.

For Windows uers, and those who like zip files, you can download, and those who prefer tarballs can download OpenLP-MediaKit.tar.gz.

Now go forth and multiply!

Gearing Up For The Final Release

Gearing Up For OpenLP 2.0

Those who hang around here regularly will know that we plan to release the final version of OpenLP 2.0 at the end of October. As one can imagine, with such a momentous release we'd like to make a big noise about it. Because OpenLP is open source, it is primarily driven by its users, whether they are developers, or just folks that hang out in the forums and want to help out in whatever way they can. With the upcoming release of version 2.0, we are going to need lots of help from YOU. Here's how you can help:

Web Site

We are in the process of completely rethinking the web site and making it more product-centric. We want to include some new elements in the site that we haven't relied on in our marketing previously.

One of the things we want to display on the new site are testimonials from users of OpenLP. If you use OpenLP, and like it, please either post your testimonial in the forums or e-mail it to support (at) and we'll include it on the new site. Be genuine in your testimonial, mentioning what you like about OpenLP and why you use it. Don't be too shy of pointing out one or two things that currently irritate you about OpenLP, honest testimonials give a far better reflection than purely positive ones.

To be completely honest with you, hearing of a megachurch using OpenLP does far more for OpenLP's reputation than a small church. We will display all testimonials with equal status regardless of the church size, but we'd love to have some from the bigger churches out there.

We also want to show off photographs of OpenLP in action. If you have a high quality photograph of OpenLP in use in your church, we'd like to use it on the site. We have a couple on our Facebook page, but we want more and we want better ones. The minimum requirements for photographs are 5 megapixels on a proper digital camera, not a mobile/cellular phone. These too can be e-mailed to us at the address listed above.

Please be aware that not all testimonials and/or photographs will necessarily be accepted. We are looking for top quality content for our site, and if yours doesn't make the grade we won't include it. If you really want yours included, contact us and find out why it was not accepted, and we can work with you to bring it up to the inclusion standard.

User Guide

OpenLP User Guide

We're still looking for people to write and/or translate the user guide. It is already laid out, it just needs content. You don't need to be a developer to write it, we will help you get set up. The user guide uses a formatting system called reStructuredText, in a similar vein to Markdown or wiki formatting.

If you'd like to help out, please contact us at that same e-mail address, or via the contact page, and we'll get you up and running in no time at all.

Fixing Bugs

Bug Fixing

Of course we're still fixing bugs in OpenLP. If you come across any, please make sure to e-mail a full bug report to bugs (at)

If you encounter the error window, you *MUST* either use the E-mail button to e-mail us directly, or use the Save button to save the report to a file, and then send us that file. If you just send us an e-mail saying that an error occurred, we can't help you, or figure out what the bug is. The information in that error window is vital.

If you try to do something and it doesn't work, but it doesn't show the error window, please make sure you can reproduce the bug (can you do it again and again?) and list in as much detail as possible the steps you took to reproduce it. Also include which version of OpenLP, which operating system and its version, your distro and your desktop environment if you're using Linux, your graphics card, and any other information you think is important. For example:

Action Performed: I tried to add a new theme.

Expected Result: A new theme listed in the theme manager.

Actual Result: After running through the Theme Wizard successfully, my new theme did not appear in the theme manager. It did appear after restarting OpenLP though.

Steps to Reproduce:

  1. Click on the New Theme button in the Theme Manager.
  2. Run through the creation process, selecting any combination - this bug affects all of them.
  3. At the end of the process, click the finish button.
  4. Notice that the new theme is not visible in the Theme Mananger.
  5. Restart OpenLP and see the new theme.

Computer Details: Kubuntu Linux 12.10 (beta), LibreOffice 3.6, nVidia GeForce 5600, VLC 2.03

Before you submit a bug report, please search through our existing bug reports and make sure you're not reporting one that already exists. Additionally, we need to be able to reproduce your bug before we'll add it to that list, so your bug may not show up for a day or two. Relax, as long as you sent it to bugs (at), we have it and are looking into it.


OpenLP Tutorials

We are also still looking for more tutorials for how to use OpenLP. If you've written a blog post, we'd love to link to it. If you've recorded a screen cast, let us know so that we can include it in our playlist on YouTube. If you've written up a PDF or some other document, we have plenty of space to host it - e-mail it to us and we'll put it up.

If you have any other bright ideas on how to show people how to use OpenLP, we're very much open to them!


Blog About It

Lastly, we need to generate buzz! If you have a blog, please blog about us. If your church has a web site, see if you can link back to our site. If you have a podcast or a vodcast, please feature us - we welcome interviews! Of course you can also find us on all the big social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+.

We'll be releasing a press kit in a few days with helpful information and useful buttons and icons for people to use on their web sites and in their blog posts.

Any Other Help

If you think you can help us in another way not listed here, please contact us and let us know your ideas - we're always open to more ideas.