I have seen these diagrams in books. They display the strings of the guitar and the locations of the notes I want to present, as well as the name of the chord/scale/etc. You can see what I mean in the picture below:

Example photo

Is there a specific tool or maybe software that does this? I really don't want to do this by hand or some makeshift method because that would take way too long. I also want to know how to include these into my book. It will be an e-book for sure, just so you know, and I want to include these diagrams as well as explanations (text material) for the final package. I want it to look organized in the format of an e-book.

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    @AricFowler thanks, I have been writing for about 12 years, just now trying to use my skills to get paid.
    – Daniel
    Aug 23, 2017 at 14:58
  • I'd do a search for something like "tablature diagram software" and see what comes up. You don't mention much details here -- OS, how you plan to input the chords you want to illustrate and so on.... Aug 23, 2017 at 15:50
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    This might be better asked in the music SE as writing in the scope of this site typically pertains to books, essays, articles, lyrics and so on. Not sure if writing sheet music would be considered on topic so please correct me if I am wrong.
    – ggiaquin16
    Aug 23, 2017 at 16:06
  • @AricFowler feel free to move this if it is off-topic
    – Daniel
    Aug 23, 2017 at 16:27
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    We have questions about illustrations, charts, and equations, and I think this is equally on-topic given the book context. (We allow questions about specialized tools.) Aug 24, 2017 at 2:16

3 Answers 3


I hacked together a simple website to create chord charts online (.png and .svg images): https://chordpic.com.

The use case of this website is if you don't want a million features but just want to create some simple charts very quickly. I created this site to replace the website chordpix.com which recently went dead.

It asks you to name the chord (optional, this is shown on the top of the chart), give the starting fret (fret 1 by default), and the number of frets (5 by default).

Then you simply click on the strings to add a finger there. To add a barre chord (basically a finger over multiple strings) you can simply click and hold the mouse button and "drag" to any other string to create a bar reaching over the strings.

This is all explained in detail with animated gifs on the help page at https://chordpic.com/help

ChordPic is not as sophisticated as other tools. It will not figure out the chord or provide you with alternative chords or anything like that. The main goal of this tool is really to simply create a chord chart very easily and however you want it. It will also not prevent you from eg. putting multiple fingers on the same string. Think of it as the Notepad of chord chart editors. Yes, there's also Microsoft Word that offers you spell checking and numerous formatting options. But sometimes you just want to write some text quickly without any fancy features.

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    I like the concept, but perhaps explain more on how to use it so it's more of a "standalone" answer and not just a Link-Only answer? Aug 30, 2019 at 13:49
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    I know the link IS the point here, but giving information (like I tried to do) can help someone decide if it is the right tool for their needs. Aug 30, 2019 at 13:54
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    Welcome to Writing.SE omnibrain, glad you found us. Please check out our tour and help center. Could you please edit your answer along the lines of @April's suggestions, or in another way if you feel that is a better choice? Thanks! Aug 31, 2019 at 17:12
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    I updated my answer and tried to make it more informative and give people more information to decide if ChordPic is the tool they want to use or not.
    – omnibrain
    Sep 2, 2019 at 16:15
  • Thanks for the update! It's a much better answer now. I hope downvoters will review the changes. Sep 2, 2019 at 18:55

This may be a bit late but check out https://www.essyguitartab.com/chords. This is a free tool where you can choose from named chords or build your own and add them to a chart that you can then print or export to PDF. I'm not exactly sure of your needs but hopefully the PDFs will give you enough resolution to use the diagrams any way you need to.


There are music typesetting programs out there that let you create these types of diagrams. Most music software allows you to create TABs,but not chord diagrams. One which appears to allow both is LilyPond. I haven't tried it myself, but its website shows a picture with the chord diagrams, and it is free.

I have watched my son use professional (yet free) software that allowed you to specify page breaks in scores for different instruments, etc. but it was essentially a mark-up language. (He is away so I can't ask him what it was.)

  • Yea that sounds good. I'll check it out. I need to be able to display specific scale shapes (note locations) as well as label them and then put all together in the format of an e-book. I should update the main post to include that part.
    – Daniel
    Aug 23, 2017 at 18:42
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    I use LilyPond. It is not recommend for the casual user. It is like TeX for music scoring, and thus has an incredibly steep learning curve.
    – Rrr
    Sep 3, 2019 at 1:09
  • Because he is at the moment sitting in the same room, I asked my son and he said the program is LilyPond. He doesn't use it anymore because he uses Sibelius, a very expensive program. Sep 4, 2019 at 18:29

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