Connect text file data to a graphic layer

Titler Live can display information from nearly any source that can create and update text files. When a variable in a graphic is connected to a text file, Titler Live automatically displays information from the text file as the text file is updated. If a text file includes multiple lines of information, Titler Live displays each line in succession. You can include text file data in graphics for lyrics, quotes, lists, and more.

Creating graphics for text files to connect to

  1. Open a new or existing project in Titler Live's playout interface.
  2. Complete the steps in one of the following sections to add a Graphic Layer to the Layers Workspace.

Create a custom graphic

    • Choose File > New > Graphic from the top menu bar or choose a graphic template from the Graphics Library and drop on the Layers Workspace panel Screen_Shot_2021-10-26_at_5.02.53_PM.png
    • Click the Edit Graphic button in the Preview panel. The graphic opens in the Designer.
    • Add text objects, animations, and more to create the graphic's overall look and feel.

Important! The graphic must include at least one text variable for each type of text file data that you want to display in the design. Later, you will connect each text variable to a text file. To add text variables, see Create variables in graphics. 


Create text variables

Text variables can be names, titles, or any other alphanumeric information.

  1. Select an object with text in the Designer's canvas or timeline workspace.
  2. Click the Properties > Layer > Motion & Data tab.
  3. Mark the Text Variable checkbox in the Variable Settings section.

    Note: This checkbox is already marked if you added this text layer as a text variable, as described in Add and modify text layers.

  4. If you plan to connect the text variable to a data controller, select a data controller from the drop-down list below the Text Variable checkbox and on the left. Otherwise, if you plan to manually enter data for the text variable, select None or leave the selection blank.
  5. In the drop-down list below and to the right of the Text Variable checkbox select a name for the variable.

    Tip: To create a new variable name, double-click the name that is already selected in the drop-down list, enter a name, and press TAB to save the new name.


Later, after you finish customizing the design and close the Designer, if you want to connect your graphic to a data source and drive data to the text variable, see one of the articles in the Connect data to Graphic Layer section of our help center.


For more information about creating and customizing graphics, see other articles in the Create and import graphics and Customize text, objects, and scenes sections of our help center.

6. Click the Keep changes  button in the bottom-right corner of the Timeline panel to save the graphic to your project's current session and close the Designer.

Tip: To reuse the graphic in future projects, save the graphic to the library or save the graphic to your computer.

Create an XML map file

Titler Live uses an XML file to map text files to variables in custom graphics, and to name the inputs and variables that are visible in the Layers Properties and Preview panel.

Complete the following steps if you are creating a custom graphic with a new Text File Reader input.

1. Create a new document in a text or XML editor and enter the following markup.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
 <input name="enter a name for this input" action="enter update or alert">
 <file parse="enter s, $, or d">
 <variable name="enter a name for this variable" pos="0" />


The following table describes the acceptable values for all bold items in the markup above.

Tag and Attribute Value Result

input name

alphanumeric text

The Text File Reader input's name appears in the Data Source drop-down lists (Layers Workspace and the Layer Properties panel) and in the Preview panel.

input action

alert or update

Alert: Titler Live re-caches the graphic and automatically broadcasts the graphic for 8 seconds when the source text file is updated.

Update: Titler Live re-caches the graphic when the source text file is updated, but does not automatically broadcast the graphic.

file parse

s, $, and/or d

(s = string, up to 255 characters, $ = dollar amount, d = number)

Titler Live interprets and formats text file data according to the parse value.

(To parse one or more text files, see the markup examples in the steps below.)

variable name

alphanumeric text

The variable's name appears in the Layer Properties Preview panels.


The following example shows how the markup may look for a subscriber alert overlay that displays the names of new subscribers.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<input name="Subscriber alert" action="alert">
<file parse="s">
<variable name="Name" pos="0" />
  • If your custom graphic includes multiple variables that you want to connect to different types of information from one or more text files, complete the following steps:
    1. Add a variable name tag for each additional variable.
    2. Add a file parse value for each additional variable name tag. Enter each file parse value in the same order as the variable name tags.

The following example shows how the markup may look for a tip alert overlay that displays the names of donors, their tip amounts, and custom messages.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<input name="Tip alert" action="alert">
<file parse="s$s">
<variable name="Donor" pos="0" />
<variable name="Tip" pos="0" />
<variable name="Message" pos="0" />

2. Save the document with an XML extension. (Depending on your text editor, you may need to save the document as a TXT file and manually change the TXT extension to XML.)

3. Create a new .txt file with the variable input that will be linked and changed during broadcast.

Connect XML and TXT file to a Graphic Layer

1. Select the new graphic in Titler Live's Layer Workspace (if it's not already selected), then choose Select a data source > General > Text File Reader > New Input in the Data Source column.


2. Select the XML file you previously created, then click Open.

3. The name of the graphic will be labeled on the third tab of the Layer Properties panel, click the File not set link, select the text file, and click Open

Repeat this step to connect a text file to each variable that you want to include in the graphic.


      • If you previously connected a text file data source to a graphic and want to use that data source, you can select it from the Select a data source > General > Text File Reader menu.
      • To remove a data source from a graphic, Select a data source > General > Text File Reader > and choose None in the Data Source column.
    • Continue to the next step.


4. Click the Link Data button in the Preview panel to view the Text File Reader variables. (If the variables aren't visible, expand the Text File Reader list.)

5. Click and drag a Text File Reader variable onto an object in the graphic. Repeat this step for each variable that you want to include in the graphic.


Tip: To remove an input from a graphic layer navigate to the Preview panel. Click the link data button, then right click on the data source name and choose Remove input.

The text file's data is now visible in the graphic.


As your data source updates each text file, the graphic automatically shows the latest information.

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