Configuring Frescobaldi

This chapter documents how to configure Frescobaldi for your needs.

The Settings Menu

The Settings menu has options to show the full path of the file currently being edited in the window title bar or just the filename, to show or hide the toolbar and to switch the Frescobaldi window to full screen mode.

The Tool Views sub menu lets you alter some settings of the tools in the sidebar docks of the Frescobaldi window. (Note that you can right-click on the tabs in the sidebar docks for more tool options.)

Finally, Frescobaldi has the usual menu entries Configure Shortcuts..., Configure Toolbars... and Configure Frescobaldi....

The Settings Dialog

General Preferences

Here you can set some general preferences to influence the behaviour of Frescobaldi and LilyPond:

Save Document when LilyPond is run

If checked, Frescobaldi will save the document (if modified) before running LilyPond.

Let LilyPond delete intermediate files

If checked, Frescobaldi will run LilyPond with the delete-intermediate-files option, so that e.g. PostScript files are deleted after the PDF file has been generated.

Run LilyPond with verbose output

If checked, Frescobaldi will run LilyPond with the verbose option, displaying more information during the compile process.

Remember cursor position, bookmarks, etc.

If checked, Frescobaldi will save the cursor position, bookmarks and some view settings for a document when it is closed. This meta-information is retained for one month.

Disable the built-in PDF preview

If checked, the built-in PDF preview will be disabled. This is useful if you prefer an external PDF viewer (e.g. Okular).

LilyPond version number to use for new documents

Here you can set which version number you want Frescobaldi to insert by default with the Insert LilyPond Version command or the Score Wizard. Choose one of three options:

Use version number of installed LilyPond

Frescobaldi will use the version number of the installed LilyPond by default.

(Frescobaldi determines the version by running lilypond -v and looking at the first line of the output.)

Use version number of last convert-ly rule

Frescobaldi will use the version number of last rule of the installed convert-ly program by default. This is useful if you just want your document to conform to the latest LilyPond syntax without requiring the most recent available version.

This makes document exchange easier. E.g. when you use \version "2.12.2", another user's LilyPond version 2.12.0 might complain about your document's version being to new, even though there are no syntax changes and the older LilyPond would just compile the document fine.

(Frescobaldi determines the last convert-ly rule version by running convert-ly --show-rules and looking at the last line that starts with a version number.)

Use custom version number

Enables you to explicitly specify the version number you want to use by default for new documents.

Note that the Score Wizard is able to adjust its output depending on the version you specify in the Score Wizard. It is therefore possible to write documents for older LilyPond versions, although in general using the most recent stable LilyPond release is recommended.


Here you can specify the paths to use for different commands. Normally you would just leave the defaults, but if you have multiple versions of LilyPond installed, you can specify which one to run by entering the exact path.

Note: If you change the path to the lilypond command, be sure to also point the convert-ly command to the same directory.

You can also set a default directory for all your LilyPond documents, and provide the URL or path to the documentation for the built-in LilyPond documentation browser.

Finally, at the bottom of the Paths section, you can configure a list of directories to search for hyphenation pattern files that can be used to break lyrics into syllables.

Frescobaldi currently does not include hyphenation pattern files by itself, but it can use the hyphenation patterns that are often installed with programs like, KOffice, Scribus or in specialized packages like myspell.

If Frescobaldi doesn't find any hyphenation files, while you're sure you installed some of the software mentioned above, try to find out where those files are in your file system, and list the paths in the text entry. If your operating system supports the locate command, you can open a terminal and use a command like this to get a list of paths that you can simply paste in the text entry to have Frescobaldi find all installed pattern files:

locate *hyph_*.dic | sed s,/[^/]*$,, | sort -u


locate *hyph_*.dic | xargs -n1 dirname | sort -u

Editor Component

Here configuration options can be set for the KatePart editor component that is used by Frescobaldi. Documentation for the editor component can be found in the manuals for KWrite and Kate.

Configuring Point & Click

Point & Click is a LilyPond feature that embeds clickable URLs in the PDF output. Those URLs contain the source file path and line and column numbers. Clicking on those clickable objects lets the cursor in Frescobaldi jump to the corresponding position in the source document.

If all is well, Point & Click should "Just Work"™. But this section is here to help you setting it up in the case it doesn't work by default. Point & Click in Frescobaldi is handled differently in KDE 4.1 and KDE 4.2.

In KDE 4.1, you need to install the lilypond-kde4 package. This contains a program that handles the textedit: service. If point and click still does not work, check if Frescobaldi is tied to the text/x-lilypond MIME type in the KDE System Settings (File Associations).

In KDE 4.2, the Point & Click URLs are handled by Okular itself. When you install Frescobaldi, on its first run it autoconfigures the Okular part to run Frescobaldi when a Point & Click URL is clicked. But if for some reason this didn't happen, you can configure Okular manually to run Frescobaldi. Right-click the PDF preview tab and choose Configure Okular... (or use Settings » Tool Views » Configure Okular...) to open the Okular settings dialog. There, under Editor, you can configure a custom editor command. Enter the following command and click Ok:

frescobaldi --smart --line %l --column %c

(The smart option tells Frescobaldi to translate cursor positions according to changes in the document. This way, Point & Click URLs remain working, even if you change the document without updating the PDF preview.)

Note: Point & Click URLs enlarge the PDF output documents significantly. It is therefore better to build PDF documents in publish mode when you want to distribute them (via e-mail or the World-wide Web) to others.

Warning: In KDE 4.2, Okular's built-in Point & Click support sometimes doesn't work if the path of your LilyPond source document contains spaces or accented characters. This is due to Okular not fully understanding the way LilyPond encodes URLs.

Highlighting and indenting

Frescobaldi uses the LilyPond syntax highlighting and indenting algorithm from KDE's editing component KatePart. By default, indenting is switched on, using spaces, and the indent-width is 2 spaces. (Using spaces for indenting works better with Point & Click in some cases.) For most LilyPond scores this indent-width will look good, and in some places this is currently hard-coded in Frescobaldi (e.g. the default snippets in the expand dialog).

You can configure other indent settings using kate variables in your document, or globally by setting kate variables in the LilyPond Kate mode. Setting variables in the document is described in the Kate manual. Setting variables globally for the LilyPond Kate mode is described in the Kate manual under "Modes & Filetypes."

Last modified: 4 mar 2009