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User Interface

Some of these settings take effect only after re-opening a window.

Select your language or the language you are able to sufficiently understand. This preference is read form the operating system at installation, but can be altered at any time.
Choose among several color themes.
Tool Tips
Brief pop-up help that shows up when you move the mouse over a control or area of the user interface. For more comprehensive help, open the Embedded Help browser.
Local Menu Bars
On macOS the main menu bar appears at the top of the screen. Enable this if you want it to appear at the top of each window, which is common on Microsoft Windows and has some advantages when you have many windows open at the same time.
Native File Dialogs
If you experience issues with file dialogs provided by the operating system, you can disable this to use custom dialogs provided by Synfire.
Disable Widgets in Background
On macOS it is common to gray out widgets when a window isn't in the foreground. Disable this if you can do without this visual feedback and get a faster response.
Reset Dismissed Warnings
Show all warnings again, even if you have dismissed them in the past.
Reset Playhead on Container Selection
Move the playhead to the beginning of a container when it is selected.
Reset Playhead on Parameter Data Selection
Move the playhead to the last selection established in a Parameter View (with a little pre-roll).
Select New Container After Creation
Immediately select a newly created container.
Don't merge Adjacent Equal Chords
Allow repeated instances of the same Harmonic Context to appear in a progression.
Edit Keyboard Shortcuts
Open a dialog for editing keyboard commands.


The installation and configuration folders can't be changed retroactively.

Synfire saves your preferences, setup, templates and racks in this folder. The original settings are kept in the installation folder where they are protected from being accidentally overwritten.
This where your racks, settings, arrangements, progressions, palettes and other documents go by default.
Number Of Backups
The number of recent saves to keep, in case you need to revert to an earlier version.
Automatic Backup
Save a backup of the currently open arrangement every couple minutes that you can recover from in case of a crash.
LilyPond Engraver
Installation path and command line options for invoking LilyPond notation export.


Configure three command lines for processing exported notation files.

  1. Convert: This command runs a program on the file exported by Synfire. This may be a command line utility that renders a PDF, JPG or other format from the exported file.

  2. View: This starts a program to display the output generated by the conversion program or the exported file directly. For example, this may be a PDF viewer or a notation software that can open the exported file directly. This command is only run when you enable it.

  3. Debug: This starts a program that can be used to examine the exported file, for example with an XML editor. This command is only run when you enable it.

The following variables are defined as placeholders for the command line templates.

The absolute file name of the exported file with directory and file extension.
The name of the file without the file extension and directory path, e.g. Lullaby.
The file extension of the file, e.g. .ly or .xml including the dot.
The directory of the exported file, without a trailing slash.
A series of command line options specific to the format, e.g. --dvi --backend=tex. These are provided automatically depending on your output format selection. If you need different options, you can add them to the command line template directly (LilyPond only).
The file extension of the output format, e.g. .pdf, including the dot (LilyPond only).
Full absolute file name of the file created by the conversion program, i.e. the PDF, JPG or whatever is being compiled (LilyPond only).
Full absolute file name of the log file created by the conversion program (LilyPond only).
CAUTION: The Convert command blocks Synfire until it has completed. If you open an application with a user interface rather than a command line utility, you should do that with the View command.


Several values to use when they are not available from context. They are mostly used to render previews for chords, scales and other basic objects.
Preview (Outlet)
A global preview progression used to render phrases that don't provide their own Harmony.
Tolerate Triple Sharps/Flats
Allow three accidentals to occur with notation export and with internal calculations. Default is disabled.
Use German H for B and B for Bb
Enable only if you need to comply to German notation traditions. Read more on this here.
Personal Fretboard Preferences
Synfire remembers the last used fingering patterns for every chord you selected on the String Instruments panels for guitar, bass, violin, etc.

Scale Selection

Global Scale Selection Preferences that are copied into every new document by default.