Cheat Sheet for most commonly used USFM codes (with examples?)

Is there any chance that someone has developed a “cheat sheet” for commonly used USFM codes used in RAB/SAB? I have the VERY LONG PDF document of the USFM codes, but very few of them apply in RAB. There are also a few not mentioned there (\video \img) that exist and can be used in RAB.

If one does not exist, can someone please put together a short document listing out the codes, how they should appear in RAB, and maybe even some examples?

The USFM guide is long but is good if you get used to its layout. It has examples.

The documentation for RAB has examples. Don’t forget to look there, it has examples.

Here is a quick cheat sheet without examples.

RAB SFM cheat sheet


  • \id Not displayed. Information about what is in the file. Metadata
  • \h or \toc2 The wording that appears in the book list selection menu
  • \toc3 The abbreviation that appears in the Book grid selection menu

Pages and Chapters

  • \c or \page Use to separate material into different chapters or pages


  • \s1 section header or for songs a song title
  • \b a blank line
  • \p a paragraph with indented first line
  • \pi an indented paragraph with indented first line
  • \pc paragraph centered
  • \pmr paragraph right aligned, Used for chords in song books
  • \m a paragraph no first line indent
  • \mi an indented paragraph no first line indent
  • \q1 used in songs for song verse, indented with first line hanging indent
  • \q2 used in songs for song chorus, more indented with first line hanging indent


  • \video URL to video on internet
  • \img file name of image to go at top of page
  • \fig filename.jpg\fig* used for inline picture insertion
  • \fig |filename.jpg||||Caption here|\fig* used for inline picture with caption.
    • \fig DESC|FILE|SIZE|LOC|COPY|CAP|REF\fig* Full specification from USFM reference.
  • [Hyperlink text](linklocation) used for internal or external hyperlinks. Borrowed from Markdown.

Character markup

  • \v used to number the verses in a song, the number is out side of the indent.
    \q1 \v 1 First line of verse one
  • \bd bolded words\bd* bold words
  • \it italicised words\it* italicised words
  • \rem Not displayed. Comment line for your use

Ian, THANK YOU! This is exactly what I needed! I was developing my own, but realized that there were things I did’t know how to do. This lists all of them in a concise and easy to understand way. I’ll be translating it into Spanish for the workshop we have coming up in Mexico next month. Again, thanks!

Thanks for this, Ian. I have produced a draft version of this list in French, and it is available here:

Is the cheatsheat complete? or supplementary.

Is USFM 2.4 the officially supported version? More precisely, are \fig ||||| \fig* tags supported or would I need \fig \fig*

And are tables supported?

I have tested both \fig tags and both of them work when inserted in a Word document. In fact, the second \fig tag puts really nice captions under the images.

I can’t speak to the tables question.

Yes \fig DESC|FILE|SIZE|LOC|COPY|CAP|REF\fig* is also there if you want a caption. I used the abbreviated form as this is RAB not SAB. Many are not comfortable with SFM markup so I chose the simpler version.

I’ll add it in like this: \fig |filename.jpg||||Caption here|\fig* as a minimum for including caption for the image.

This link is now broken, but I found this:

Also, this link with the same information. I imagine it will be maintained. It’s also easier to navigate, for those with good internet:

I found \s2 to be handy for song header information.

\v caused the verse number to disappear for me, so I’m going to use \s2 for verse numbers too.

I modified the div.s2 heading properties in the Text Styles tab to get this look (see below).