Draw Ukulele or Guitar Chord Charts With InDesign

I love playing guitar and ukulele, but I find the chord charts found on the internet often difficult to read while playing. The chord diagrams are located above the lyrics, and I have a hard time reading both lyrics and chord diagrams.

I prefer my chord diagrams intermingled with the lyrics.

Enter PePcon 2016 in San Diego, in June 2016. That was a lot of fun! If you can make sure to enroll for PePcon 2017. It is the one single conference I revisit every year.

One of my favorite segments is the CreativeWow! session, where software developers try to impress graphics designers, editors, and other Creative Cloud users.

To show off this year, I built a script that allows InDesign to create chord charts for ukulele or guitar. These chord charts are inserted into the lyrics as anchored frames.

The script also allows transpositions.

This is handy if you want to play the songs a little bit lower or higher, or if you want to print baritone ukulele charts instead of soprano ukulele charts, because baritone ukuleles have a different tuning.

The script is well documented, and should be open to enhancements and tweaks by a moderately experienced scripter.

I’ve used the MIT license, so you’re free to modify and use the script for any purpose.

To install: download the following file:


Decompress, and install it into InDesign’s Scripts Panel folder. Read the instructions below to see how you can do that.


To find the Scripts Panel folder, launch InDesign, then navigate to the Scripts Panel via the Window – Utilities – Scripts menu.


Right-click the User item on the panel, and select Reveal in Finder (on Mac) or Reveal in Explorer (on Windows).


You should now see a folder called Scripts Panel which is located inside an outer folder called Scripts.

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 11.27.04 PM

Make sure to navigate into the Scripts Panel folder. Resist the temptation to put the script in the Scripts folder; that won’t work. It needs to go into the Scripts Panel  folder.

Use your favorite decompression tool to decompress the downloaded Strings.zip file.

On Mac you can normally double-click it to decompress.

On Windows, you can step ‘into’ the ZIP archive.

Once you see the Strings folder, drag it into the Scripts Panel folder


Switch back to InDesign. The Strings subfolder should now become visible inside the User folder on the Scripts panel.



Go find the ‘SampleTemplate.indt’ file, open it.

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 11.37.48 PM

Now run the Strings.jsx script by double clicking it on the Scripts panel in InDesign.


Read the ReadMe.txt for more info!

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