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Understanding USFMs – Intro (1.2.1)

In this video you learn all about how Paratext uses special tags called USFMs. The tags

  • provide the structure of the document by identifying the start of each book, as well as the sections within them.
  • help you navigate around the translation using Bible references.
  • facilitate the appropriate formatting of the translation by the typesetter according to what each bit of text really is, such as a heading, chapter number, or something special in the Bible text itself such as poetry or a quotation.

USFM stands for Unified Standard Format Marker.

USFMs always start with a backslash, then a code, then a space. (e.g. \ft )

With the exception of a closing marker which ends with an asterisk and doesn’t need a space.

  • The most common USFMs are:
    \p (paragraph)
    \c (chapter)
    \v (verse)
  • The latest USFM standard is online -
    then click on USFM documentation and USFM documentation again a second time.
    or go directly using this link