Screen readers

    MuseScore 4 supports the following screen readers on each operating system:

    • Windows 10 and 11: Narrator and NVDA
    • macOS: VoiceOver
    • Linux: Orca

    Speech with JAWS is mostly working, but the output is not as complete as it is with Narrator or NVDA.

    Speech on Windows

    If screen reader speech output stops working for you at any time, try pressing Alt+F to focus the File menu, then press Esc twice to return to where you were in the app, at which point speech should work again as normal. It can be necessary to do this if you start the screen reader after MuseScore is already running, for example.

    Speech on macOS

    VoiceOver's Quick Nav mode must be turned off while using MuseScore 4. You can toggle Quick Nav on or off by pressing the Left and Right arrow keys simultaneously while VoiceOver is running, or you can disable Quick Nav from within VoiceOver Utility > Commanders.

    MuseScore's interface is navigable with the tab cursor and with VoiceOver's own cursor. In general it's best to use the tab cursor because this matches the interface on other platforms, and as such is the interface described in most documentation and tutorials. VoiceOver's cursor can be used to reach areas of the application that are not yet accessible via the tab cursor. When using the tab cursor, remember to use the arrow keys as well as Tab for navigation (see Navigating the UI).

    Speech on Linux

    On Linux it is necessary to start the screen reader running before you launch MuseScore, otherwise accessibility features will be disabled to save system resources. If you forget to do this, simply exit MuseScore and launch it again. The same is true of all Linux applications built on the Qt framework.

    Orca is the most feature-complete screen reader available for Linux. Orca is built into the GNOME desktop environment, so it is recommended that Linux users with accessibility needs use a distribution based on GNOME or one of its derivatives.

    Keyboard access

    Keyboard navigation in MuseScore 4's user interface (UI) relies on the arrow keys in addition to the tab key. Press the tab key to cycle through each control group, then use the arrow keys to navigate to individual controls within the group. This new system of navigation allows you to navigate to anywhere in the interface with far fewer keypresses than if the tab key was used to access every individual control, as is commonly the case in other applications, including previous versions of MuseScore. The new navigation system is still being refined, and feedback is welcome in the Development Forum.

    In addition to the arrow keys and tab, there is a new F6 shortcut that will take you between different panels within the program. Here is how the navigation shortcuts work together to create a hierarchical system of navigation:

    • Up, Down, Left and Right arrow keys: Move focus from one control to the next within a control group (e.g. navigate between buttons in a toolbar).

    • Tab and Shift+Tab: Move focus out of one control group and into the next one (e.g. navigate between toolbars).

    • F6 and Shift+F6: Move focus between panels and large sections of the UI (e.g. navigate from toolbars to the Palettes or notation view).

    By default, the grave accent key ` (sometimes called "backtick") can be used as an alternative to F6 for navigation between panels. Grave accent is found above the Tab key on most QWERTY keyboards. If it's not there on your keyboard, consider changing this shortcut in Preferences to set it to whatever key is above Tab on your keyboard, as it can be convenient to have the navigation keys located close to each other.

    Once you have navigated to a button or control, in most cases it can be activated by pressing the Spacebar, Enter or Return key. Within lists and other item views, Spacebar is often used to select items rather than to activate them. Once selected, certain items can be deleted by pressing the Delete key, or modified by tabbing to other UI controls that become active once something has been selected. For example, this approach can be used within the Instruments panel to remove instruments that you have previously added to the score.

    Navigation within the score (i.e. inside the "Notation view") is much the same as it was in MuseScore 3. Here are the shortcuts that are of particular value to accessibility users:

    Shortcut Action
    Alt+Right and Alt+Left Move to next or previous element. These shortcuts enable you to visit all kinds of notation elements, not just notes and rests.
    Alt+Up and Alt+Down Move to note above or below. These shortcuts enable you to move between individual notes in a chord, and also to reach notes and rests in other voices and in other staves.
    F2 or Alt+Shift+E Edit selected element. This is the keyboard equivalent of double-clicking on an element with the mouse. It enables you to edit text objects, including lyrics, dynamics, and tempo markings. It also enables you to adjust the length of line elements such as hairpins, slurs, and voltas (use the Tab key to change which end of the line you are adjusting). When you are done editing, press Esc to return to Normal mode.

    Other aspects of keyboard navigation are described on pages throughout this handbook.

    Video tutorials

    The following accessibility tutorials are designed to get you up and running with MuseScore, using your keyboard and screen reader. They don't cover every aspect of the program, but they should give you a solid foundation that will enable you can take full advantage of the rest of this Handbook.

    Video Description
    Installing MuseScore This video covers the installation of MuseScore on Windows, including Muse Hub and Muse Sounds. The process is similar on macOS and Linux, although on Linux you need to install Muse Hub and MuseScore separately.
    Score setup This video covers the initial setup of your score, including choosing instruments and selecting the key and time signature and other settings.
    Entering music This video covers basic note input.
    Adding markings This video covers adding markings such as dynamics to your score, by using the palettes.
    The user interface This video walks through the main window of the program, so you can understand where all the different panels, toolbars, and controls are, and how to reach them by keyboard.