The Powerful Input Palette (Part 1)

All set and ready to go? Here’s your ultimate cheat sheet to notation!
Where’s …? How can I enter …? Where do I find …?

Do you really know the input palette? It’s FORTE’s greatest and most practical asset. Each and every possible element for your score is here. It’s about time for a detailed portrait. And to show you everything there is to know about it. As you already know, the input palette has 10 different tabs.

The first and most important tab is called “Notes”.
When you open FORTE, you‘ll be seeing exactly this picture:

In the upper half there are the notes, note heads, accidentals, ties and slurs as well as the tool for triplets and tuplets. We don’t have to tell you anything about the notes. You know quarters, 8th notes and dotted half notes like the back of your hand.
But did you know that the symbol at the utter left – “Quarter over 8th note rest” – allows you to switch between notes and rests? On very rare occasions, you may want to edit a rest manually. Another interesting button is next to the 128th note: You can change the shape of the note heads here. This feature is helpful if you‘re writing notation for drums and percussion or shape notes for your choir.

Next to the accidentals (bb, b, natural, # and x) you find an empty bracket. If you’d like to remind of a certain accidental, you use this bracket to write reminders or “courtesy accidentals”: Click on the accidental, then click on the brackets. The cursor turns into a reticle and you’ll place it on the desired note.The symbol on the utter right is the tool for tuplets. You’ll need it if you want to enter triplets. Or those beautiful 18-tuplets that you find in Chopin’s oeuvre. We made a video for you to show you how to use this tool.

If you look at the virtual keyboard in the lower half, you’ll find little black arrows at the left and right side of the keys. You’ll reach the other octaves here. If you’d like to enter chords, click on the chord symbol at the lower right edge of the virtual keyboard. Another click on the symbol deactivates the chord input again. Please note: if you’re writing chords often, because you’re writing for a choir or for the piano, it’s important to use the correct voices. Here’s a tutorial video for you how to work with several voices.

Accents & Techniques

This tab offers you accents, techniques and (since FORTE 8) fingering. If you linger over an unknown symbol with your cursor, its name or explanation appears (mouseover). The input of all these elements is the same: select the element and place it on the desired note (the cursor turns into a reticle). You can edit all elements in their respective properties window: right-click on the symbol. If you wish to change the position of the element, press ctrl and keep ctrl pressed while using the arrow keys ← and → for repositioning.
Please note: combined fingerings (such as you may need for guitar music) will be available in an upcoming update.


This tab contains the elements for dynamic markers (who would have guessed that?). The static symbols (mf to pppp) are written into the score just like the accents we talked about in the paragraph above. Those symbols indicating a development (cresc to >) are written with a starting and an ending point. It’s worthwhile to check out the properties window of these elements as well. Maybe you’d like to make some adjustments or edit the appearance.


If you want to edit the tempo of your music, here’s your go-to tab. The element “Quarter equals 60” is best edited in the score: right-click and properties, then go to “Performance”. If you select the Italian label “Andante”, a menu opens below:
By clicking on the arrow head, you’ll get the whole choice from Larghissimo to Prestissimo. If you like, you can add more text to the single word, say “ma non troppo” for example, before writing it into your score. Using the properties window again, you can adjust the performance or the position, if you like.

So, that’s it for the first part of the portrait. The next part will cover text, LYRICS and chords.
How did you like this article?
We’re looking forward to your comments!

20 replies
  1. George T. Marshall
    George T. Marshall says:

    I found this very helpful. Although the palette of notes is very similar to what came before there are some troubling differences. Your demos and instructions help a lot to overcome these difficulties, and give me confidence to continue composing! GTM

  2. Patrik Karlsson
    Patrik Karlsson says:

    I still want to push the recordbutton and insert notes in real time. AND i want to edit notes via my masterkeybord. Why must that so difficult??
    You have the tech why don’t use it??????
    Yes i know Forte is a notationprogram but why don’t use those options?
    With best regards

    • FORTE Team
      FORTE Team says:

      Dear John,
      thank you for your question.
      Double barlines are in the barline properties.
      (Mark a barline – right click – properties).

      Kind regards,
      FORTE Team

  3. sp4musi
    sp4musi says:

    Forte 8 is great! I love the new way to input songs. Your article is great for people who have not had any experience with previous programs.

  4. Charlie
    Charlie says:


    I have the free download as I don’t expect to write a lot of music – although you can never be sure!

    Having just transcribed a song using your software – a fairly strightforward process – and I have a couple of questions:

    Is there any way I can add a measure to the end of a line i.e. make the first line have five bars instead of four? This is because there is a pickup bar at the beginning of the verse which effectively pushes the last bar onto a new line. The line after that is the start of the chorus and, again, the last line is pushed to a new line. This has also had the effect of making the last bar of the verse and the last bar of the chorus occupy a complete line.

    Is there a solution please?

  5. Mark D, Morris
    Mark D, Morris says:

    Forte 8 is great! i love the new way to input songs, your way of making human understand is great for people have not had any exprience with previous programs.

  6. Mark D, Morris
    Mark D, Morris says:

    thanks so much, i would like for forte to help me with lesson, through my email, thank for your help so much i’m enjoying the program, thanks


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