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Chord/Manual Input

When this command is selected:

To enter chord symbols directly into your score, click the beat to which you want to attach a chord; a blinking cursor appears above the note. Type the chord’s root, suffix and alternate bass note, if any. When you’ve completed one chord, press the space bar to move quickly to the next note to continue entering chords; Finale displays the fully formatted chord after you enter it. (See the Keystroke table for a summary of the available keystrokes for entering chords and what they do.)

When you type chords directly on-screen (or type them in the Chord Definition dialog box), Finale follows some simple conventions to interpret what chord symbol was entered. A chord symbol is made up of one or more of the following parts: root, suffix, and alternate bass. Although you are not required to enter all parts of a chord symbol, Finale interprets the chord symbol’s root, suffix and alternate bass, in that order.  

First, enter the root with any alterations (sharps or flats). For example, type “Eb”, “F” or “G#” (SHIFT+3) to enter an E, F or G chord, respectively. Second, enter the suffix; Finale will look at the suffix characters you type, if any, and try to find a matching suffix in your document (all suffixes in your document appear in the Chord Suffix Selection dialog box). Last, Finale will check whether the chord should display an alternate note in the bass; enter a slash (/) or an underscore (SHIFT+hyphen) to display the alternate bass next to or below the chord symbol, then enter the alternate bass note with any alterations (sharps or flats).

For example, enter an FMaj7 chord simply by typing “Fmaj7”; press the spacebar to enter your chord and move to the next note. Entering chords with alternate bass notes is simple too; add a Cmin7/B chord simply by typing “Cmin7/Bb”. Finale knows that you want a flat when you type a lowercase “b”, and that you’d like an alternate bass note when you type the slash. (Finale also intelligently handles alterations in suffixes.) If you prefer to put the root “over” the alternate bass, type “Cmin7_Bb” instead—Finale intelligently determines the difference and displays the chord the way you want it.

Here are more tips:

Tip. When you create your own suffixes, add characters to the suffixes in the order you’d say them out loud—it will make typing chords easier in the long run. Whatever you enter (whether it follows convention or not), Finale will faithfully match the characters in the order you type them with the order they were created in the Chord Suffix Editor dialog box.

Use these keys to perform the indicated actions when you type chords into the score:




Accept changes to the selected chord


Discard changes to the entered chord

spacebar, SHIFT+ right arrow

Move to next entry

SHIFT+spacebar, SHIFT+left arrow

Move to previous entry


Move to next measure


Move to previous measure


Move to the next chord on the same entry, or get ready to create a new chord


Move to the previous chord on the same entry


Display flat symbol (f)

# (SHIFT+3)

Display sharp symbol (s)

o (lower-case letter o)

Display diminished symbol ()

% (SHIFT+5)

Display half-diminished symbol ()


Put alternate bass note next to the chord root

_ (SHIFT+hyphen)

Put alternate bass note below the chord root

| (vertical bar)

Put alternate bass note below and to the right of the chord root


Move to previous character in the chord


Move to next character in the chord

Letter with and without shift (press shift for uppercase display)

Display corresponding pitches for the root (A, B, C, D, E, F, G) and alternate bass notes (a, b, c, d, e, f, g)

, (comma)

Distinguish the chord root from the suffix

:# (colon number)

Display the chord suffix assigned to a specific slot number in the Chord Suffix Selection dialog box

:0 (colon zero)

Display the Chord Suffix Selection dialog box, where you can choose any suffix


Display the fretboard assigned to a specific slot number in the Fretboard Selection dialog box (must follow the suffix)

Finale displays the diminished and half diminished symbols only when Substitute Symbols is selected in the Chord menu, and Finale finds a matching chord suffix. For more information, see Substitute Symbols.

See Also:

Chord symbols

Chord tool



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