Updated 8 months ago
This page shows old instructions for MuseScore 3.
For MuseScore 4 users, see Preferences.

    You can customize many of MuseScore's default behaviors via the menu: EditPreferences... (Mac: MuseScorePreferences...).

    The Preferences dialog has multiple tabs:

    Tabs in Preferences dialog

    Reset All Preferences to Default will reset all preferences to the ones MuseScore had when you installed it. Ok will save the settings and close the dialog. Cancel will close the dialog without applying changes. Apply will make changes take effect without closing the dialog.


    General Preferences

    Here you can define:

    • Program Start: Specify whether to start the session empty or to display a score. The options are one of the following: Start empty (no score) / Continue last session / Start with new score (i.e. New Score Wizard automatically opens) / Start with score (the program default, or one of your own choosing).
      You can also choose which panels to display. This can be any combination of: Splash screen, Play Panel, Navigator, or Start Center. Also select if Tours will be active.
    • Folders: Specify the default folders for score files, style files, custom score templates, plugins, additional SoundFonts, images, and extensions.
    • Language: Choose the language used by the program. Translations may be updated from here too. Note that language translation updates can also be done via the menu: HelpResource Manager.
    • Telemetry: Tick/untick to authorize MuseScore to collect usage data. The type of data collected is listed, and updated as needed, in telemetry.
    • Appearance: Specify a dark or light theme, and the width and height of icons. Set display "Font face" and "Font size".
    • Auto Save: How frequently the program autosaves.
    • OSC Remote Control


    Canvas Preferences

    Use Canvas to set your preferred color and wallpaper for the score background and paper. The default "Background" is dark blue (RGB 20, 36, 51; Alpha 255) and the default "Paper," white.

    • Background: Use this to set the color or background around the score pages. Select "Color" then click on the bar to the right and make a choice from the color picker; or select "Wallpaper," click on the file icon and set a background image.
    • Paper: Sets the color or background of the score pages. Controls identical to "Background" (above). You can also tick/untick "Use the same color in palettes".
    • Zoom: This defines the Default zoom level and keyboard/mouse zoom precion.
    • Scroll Pages: This defines the way that the pages are laid out in the score. Choose "Horizontally" for a row layout, or "Vertically" for a column layout. To limit scrolling, tick "Limit scroll area to page borders".
    • Miscellaneous: "Draw antialiased" (the default option) makes diagonal lines and edges of shapes look smoother. "Proximity for selecting elements" controls the distance the mouse may be from an object and still act on it. Smaller numbers require more precision, making it harder to click on small objects. Larger numbers are less precise, making it harder not to click on nearby objects unintentionally. Choose a comfortable working value.

    Note input

    Note Input Preferences

    On this tab there are note input and MIDI remote control preferences. Here the following can be set:

    Note Input

    • Enable MIDI Input: Leave checked to allow MIDI input of notes.
    • Color notes outside of usable pitch range: For details, see Coloring of notes outside an instrument's range and Usable pitch range (Staff properties: all staves).
    • Delay between notes in automatic real-time mode: See Real-time (automatic).
    • Play notes when editing: When ticked, MuseScore sounds the note when it is entered or selected. Tick "Play whole chord when adding note," if you want to hear all the notes of a chord when it is added to. You can also edit the "Default duration".

    MIDI Remote Control

    Midi Remote Control allows you to use certain keys on your MIDI keyboard to enter notes and rests and to select note durations, without involving the computer mouse or (computer) keyboard. The default setting is off.

    To assign a command to a MIDI key:

    1. Ensure that "MIDI Remote Control" is checked (your MIDI keyboard should be connected before opening the program).
    2. Click the red button next to the option you wish to assign a MIDI key to: the red button now lights up.
    3. Press a MIDI keyboard key. The red button becomes unlit and the green button lights up instead. The MIDI key has now been assigned to the desired option.
    4. Repeat "2" and "3" to assign other keys.

    Once you have defined your key settings you can use the MIDI keyboard to control note input operations. You can verify your key settings by observing the MuseScore Note Input toolbar while pressing the MIDI keys.

    To temporarily deactivate Midi Remote Control: uncheck "Midi Remote Control": all MIDI input key action buttons are now greyed out. Note: Your key assignments are always saved between MuseScore sessions and are not affected by deactivation.

    Notes: (1) The "Clear" option turns off all the green buttons for the current MuseScore session but all the user-recorded MIDI key settings are retained and will be reloaded on the next session. (2) A MIDI key setting that is activated cannot afterwards be turned off, and the green button will always remain lit: however it can be overwritten with a different MIDI key by using the red button again. (3) If the same MIDI key is accidentally assigned to more than one option, then all the associated green buttons remain lit although only one will work. To fix, see "(2)".


    Score Preferences

    Score preferences include:

    Default Files


    • Show MIDI controls in mixer: Enable this option to show MIDI controls by default in the mixer.


    I/O Preferences


    A known bug of musescore 3.6.2: After changing settings inside this box, you must press Restart Audio and MIDI Devices to apply the change, using Apply or OKbutton alone will not apply the change.

    API and Device:

    • For output of analog audio generated by musescore, select your built-in speakers/headphones, USB headset, wireless, etc.
    • Common API options available on windows:
      • MME: widely supported by softwares because it was released in 1991.
      • WASAPI: aim to provide lower latency than MME, preferred for recording.
      • DirectSound: a DirectX-related Interface of WASAPI.
    • To delegate the musescore's audio output routing to the Windows "Control Panel" > "App volume and device preferences" > "Musescore Output" option, select "DirectSound" as API and then select "Primary sound Driver" as Device.
    • If you need low latency, try 3rd party drivers such as ASIO4ALL.

    MIDI Input, MIDI Output and MIDI Output Latency :

    • For input and output of MIDI data, also see Mixer.
    • To simultaneously input notes and receive audio generated by musescore with your MIDI device, you need to select the correct MIDI Input and MIDI Output options (on Windows MIDI Output might be "MMS<device name>") and close and reopen musescore to apply the settings.

    Jack Audio Server

    Check these options as required if using the JACK Audio Connection Kit.

    Audio Engine

    In case of lost communication between your audio device or your MIDI keyboard and MuseScore (no sound output or MIDI action), click on Restart Audio and MIDI Devices to restore them.


    Import Preferences

    These settings determine how files from other sources are imported:

    • Style Used for Import: Use either the built in MuseScore style or a style you choose (see Load/Save Style)
    • MusicXML: Set the MusicXML import options
    • Character Set Used When Importing Binary Files: Character Set used for Binary Files (Guitar Pro and Overture character sets)
    • MIDI: Define the shortest note when importing MIDI files
    • When opening scores from older MuserScore versions: When enabled, you will be prompted if you want to apply the new default engraving and style settings or not when opening a score created with a version before 3.6.


    Export Preferences

    These settings determine how various files are exported from MuseScore:

    • PNG: PNG/SVG image resolution (in DPI) and whether to use transparent background.
    • MIDI: Whether to expand repeats in exported MIDI files.
    • PDF: PDF resolution (in DPI).
    • Audio: Set audio sample rate, MP3 bitrate, and whether to "normalize" exported audio.
    • MusicXML: Whether to export the layout and how to export system and page breaks to MusicXML.


    Shortcuts Preferences

    This tab lists all the commands in MuseScore and any keyboard shortcuts associated with them. Shortcuts listed in preferences also appear next to their associated commands in the menus.

    Note: Some shortcuts, including default ones, may not work with some keyboards.

    • To search for a particular command: Enter its action name in the "Search" box near the bottom of the window.

    • To create a new shortcut for a command:

      1. Find the relevant command by doing either:
        a. Use the Search box near the bottom of the window, or
        b. Clear out the Search box, and then browse through the list.
      2. Click to select it and then click Define...; or double-click it.
      3. Enter the new shortcut using up to four keys. Press Clear if you need to re-enter the shortcut.
      4. Either press Replace to change the existing shortcut; or press Add to keep the old shortcut and add the new one.
    • To reset a shortcut to its system default: Select a command in the list and press Reset Shortcut to Default.

    • To save the shortcuts list: Press Save and save to a file name of your choice.

    • To load a saved shortcut list: Press Load etc.

    • To clear all shortcuts for an entry: Select the entry and press Clear.

    • To print out the shortcuts list (incl. export to pdf): Press Print etc.


    Update Preferences

    This sets whether MuseScore will check for updates and extensions at startup.

    Updates may be checked manually in HelpCheck for updates.


    Advanced Preferences

    Allows you to control specific settings for "application, "export", "i/o" and "user interface", as well as color settings.

    See also

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