Guitar chord diagram font

It’s Friday night, which means it’s time to party. So I made a font for guitar chord diagrams.

Why, ye ask, if Dorico already has guitar chords? Because I needed to write in finger numbers for my students, and I wanted an easier way to just add them as text objects at the beginning of a lead sheet, or on a chord exercise.

You can do barres, as well as fret indications.

It works in Dorico and Office 365 (make sure you turn on ligatures and contextual alternates). The finger numbers inside the circles are white (which makes them “color” glyphs), and I can’t seem to get that part to display in MuseScore or InDesign, or other programs like Paint (or earlier versions of Word, since Word didn’t support color fonts until 365). But everything works in those programs besides the white numbers.

Of course I can’t get it to work at all in Finale on Windows. :clown_face: I haven’t tested it in Sibelius, because I don’t have a copy, or on a Mac. If anyone is interested in trying it out, here’s the early version.


Very interesting, I could make use of this.
But after I have installed the font, started Dorico and inserted some chord diagrams I have no idea what I should do to get the finger numbers!
Would you mind to explain how it works?

Hi teacue, did you read the documentation included with the link? You type f, then the finger number.

Oops, I forgot to add one thing to the documentation: a period advances to the next string.

Hi Dan,
yes, sure I did.
I believe I must miss some basic things about where your font can be used!

In the meantime I have the feeling that the use of this font is not to edit the diagrams created by Dorico?

I tried to create text blocks and I could get some dots, but I am not able to get a grid, so I do not really understand what it is supossed to do.
I guess without some step by step instructions I cannot understand how to use your font.

Hi teacue, start with a #, which gives you a grid. Then you place the dots on it. Or ## gives a grid with no nut at the top.

Yes, this is not for editing the existing diagrams, but creating them as new text items.

I do need to make some better documentation, but I was waiting to see if it would be any use to anyone besides me. I guess documentation needs to come first…!

Hi Dan,

thanks for your answer, I understand now.

As I previously mentioned pressing # leads to nothing on my system: Windows 10 and a german keyboard.
I must try to find out which key # should be then on a german keyboard!

Hmm… that’s very odd. The character name is “numbersign.” I guess I could easily assign a different, more universal character to display the grid.

I don’t seem to be able to get the hash (“pound” sign) to work on Mac. Word 365 on Mac can’t seem to do anything useful even with All Ligatures turned on, Pages happily displays the dots but no grid, and Dorico does the same as Pages.

I’ve tried with a few different keyboard layouts, including US, and it seems to be consistent across the board.

I tried every possible key on my keyboard (direct or with shift) but there is no grid.
BTW a short look at the font in FontForge shows that both grids glyphs are not assigned to any unicode number.
Several other glyphs are also not assigned to unicode.

Curious. Apparently this is a Mac thing. Ok, I’ll assign the grid to a more benign character.

Also, there are many glyphs that are intentionally not assigned to Unicode, since they are triggered using contextual alternates. The the grid should be a single key press.

I can’t actually make it work on Word 365 (desktop) on Windows 10, either, Dan. Might you have uploaded an incorrect version of the file, perhaps? I’ve got all ligatures and contextual alternatives turned on, and yet the # character just gives me an empty space.

Very likely a cognitive lapse on my part. Don’t spend any more mental energy on it and I’ll try to correct it when I’m back at my computer this evening! Thanks for kicking the tires.

1 Like

Ok, my error. I had linked an older version of the font which required 5# for a 5-fret grid.

The link above should now be current with the documentation: # for a 5-fret grid, or ## without the nut. Sorry for the wild goose chase! Here’s the link again.




Dan’s favourite software:

The other one (it seems where this is concerned, you get you what you pay for):

Nice work Dan :wink:


Ha! Thanks Leo. And I’m thrilled to see Mac seems to have much better support for color fonts than does Windows.


OK, it’s working now :slight_smile:
But the wrong file caused me a few more white hair (not that it would really matter)!

Nice and usefull font indeed, thanks for that.

I have instantly a few features request:

  1. Roman numerals for frets and without “fr.”
  2. A way to indicate that a note is the root note (a circled dot for example)
    I always found very important to see the root note in a chord diagram.
  3. A 3-frets diagram
  4. The possibilty to position the fret number at any fret position.
    For example it makes sometimes more sense to show the fret number at the root note

Thanks for the suggestions. If it seems there is sufficient interest and donations to justify the development time, I will certainly look into adding those.

Can you give an example of what you mean for #4?

Ah, ok, I understand.

@teacue three questions:

  1. Roman numerals always uppercase? What range of numbers?
  2. Can you show an example?
  3. Would you expect the 3-fret and 4-fret diagrams to align to the top, or to the bottom? What I mean is, like this:

or this?