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ABC notation to PDF Mac OS X service

An automator service for turning a text file containing ABC music notation into a PDF. Requires abcm2ps and ps2pdf.


  1. Build and install abcm2ps and ps2pdf, e.g. brew install abcm2ps ghostscript using Homebrew
  2. Download the Make PDF From ABC workflow
  3. Move Make PDF From ABC to ~/Library/Services/


  1. Right click on any plaintext file containing valid ABC -- multiple tunes is fine
  2. You should have a Make PDF From ABC contextual menu item (right at the bottom)
  3. Click it.
  4. Wait a few seconds and you should get a PDF file of the same name as the plaintext file. You might see a .ps file pop up for a second -- this is a transitionary file inbetween ABC and PDF.

How it works

The automator workflow is really just a wrapper for some bash, which just goes through the list of files presented to it by the automator workflow and runs abcm2ps and pd2pdf.

The bash is here -- it should be really easy to customise/improve, so please do fork if you have other needs! Sorry it's inside a nasty workflow, I shall probably re-write it as an applescript at some point to make customisation easier.