A Palette is a folder containing musical symbols which can be applied to the score. Musescore's default palettes contain collections of related symbols, but you can customize palettes to display almost any kind of symbol, line or text. Palettes form the main part of a workspace.
Musescore comes with two sets of preset palettes: a Basic and an Advanced set (contained in similarly-named workspaces). But that is only the start. You can add your own symbols and text either to the existing palettes or to palettes you create in new workspaces. In other words, you can customize each workspace to exactly meet your particular scoring needs. See Customize palettes.
View or hide the Palette area
The default position of the Palette area is to the left of the document window. To view or hide it:
- From the menu, select View → Palettes, or use the keyboard shortcut F9.
To undock the Palette area:
- Click the double-chevron symbol (circled in the image above), or double-click the top bar of the panel.
To re-attach the panel, double-click on the top bar again. See Side panels for more information.
Open/close a palette
- Click on the arrow next to the palette name, or double-click the palette name (in versions prior to MuseScore 3.3, click once on either the arrow or the palette name).
Symbols assigned to the palette are shown in a grid below the palette name. If you have customized one of Musescore's default palettes, clicking More will show any symbols you have deleted.
Single Palette mode
If you only want one palette open at a time, click the ... button at the top of the workspace and check the Single Palette box. Any opened palette will now close when you open a different one.
Apply symbols from a palette
Versions 3.4 or above
- Select one or more score elements, then click the desired palette symbol. Or, drag and drop the symbol onto the desired score element in the staff.
Versions prior to 3.4
- Select one or more score elements, then double-click the desired palette symbol. Or, drag and drop the symbol onto the desired score element in the staff.
If you are dragging a symbol to the score and decide you don't want to apply it, press Esc.
Tip: To prevent accidental rearrangement of contents during use, right-click a palette name and uncheck Enable Editing.
You can search for symbols or palette names by typing in the Search box at the top of the list. As you type, symbols and/or palettes with names matching your keystrokes are displayed below, updating continuously as your typed input changes. Displayed symbols can come from any palette, which makes this a powerful way to locate symbols without visually searching through various palettes .
Symbols can be applied directly from the search results as described above.
To restore the list of palette names, which is temporarily hidden by the search results, click X in the search box.
Anything added to the score from a palette can be copied, pasted, and duplicated: see Copy and paste.
Apply the last selected item
Assign a keyboard shortcut key to "Apply current palette element" in Preferences: Shortcuts. After you use the mouse to click on a palette item to apply it to the score once, you can select any other score elements and repeatedly apply the same (last applied) item by pressing the shortcut key.
Customize the palette list
Change the order of palette names in the list
- Drag the name of a palette up or down to any desired position.
Create a new palette
- At the top of the palette list, click Add Palettes→Create custom palette. Or, right-click anywhere on the list of palette names and choose Insert New Palette.
- Type the name of the new palette in the Create Palette dialog.
See Customize palettes to learn how to add symbols to the new palette.
Hide a palette from the list
Hiding a palette depends on whether it is one of Musescore's default palettes or one you created yourself using the method above.
To hide a Musescore default palette:
- Right-click the name of the palette you want to hide and click Hide Palette.
To hide a palette you created:
- Right-click the name of the palette you want to hide, click Hide/Delete Palette, then click Hide in the dialog.
Show a hidden palette in the list
- Click Add Palettes at the top of the palette list and click Add beside the palette name.
Delete a palette
Only palettes you created yourself can be deleted.
- Right-click the name of the palette you want to delete, click Hide/Delete Palette, then click Delete permanently in the dialog.
You cannot delete Musescore's default palettes. If you don't intend to use a default palette, hide its name from the list instead.
You can modify any Musescore default or user-created palette. Symbols may be added or deleted and layouts can be rearranged.
From MuseScore 3.3 onwards, all preset palettes in the Basic and Advanced workspaces can be customized directly (if you are using a previous version you will need to create a new workspace first).
Before customizing a palette:
- Right-click on the palette name and make sure that Enable Editing is checked. It is automatically checked for new palettes you create yourself.
- Make sure the palette is opened.
Add an existing score element to a palette
- Press and hold Ctrl+Shift (Mac: Cmd+Shift), then drag the score element from the score onto a palette. The score element could be a symbol, line, text, dynamic, fretboard diagram, imported image etc.
Add a symbol to a palette from the Master Palette
- If the Master Palette is not visible, select View → Master Palette from the menu, or use the keyboard shortcut Shift+F9 (Mac: fn+Shift+F9).
- Drag the symbol from the Master Palette window onto a palette.
Change symbol order in a palette
- Drag the symbol to the cell in which you wish to display it. Nearby symbols will automatically move to make space available.
Change the position and size of a symbol in a palette cell
- Right-click the cell and click Properties. The following dialog is displayed:
- Name: The tooltip that appears when you mouse over the cell.
- Content offset X, Y: Adjusts the position of the symbol in the cell.
- Content scale: Makes the symbol appear larger or smaller in the cell.
- Draw staff: Draws the five lines of a musical staff behind the symbol.
Note: Changing these values only affects the appearance of symbols within the palette. It does not change their sizes or offsets on the score page.
Remove a symbol from a palette
- Right-click the symbol and click Delete. Or, select the symbol and click the trash icon to the right of the palette name.
The More command functions differently in a user-created palette. It displays one palette at a time from the palette list, allowing you to add symbols from that palette by dragging or by selecting an item and clicking Add to. Use < and > to step through the palettes in the list.
The following menu appears either by right-clicking the name of a palette or by clicking the ... to the right of the name:
- Hide Palette: Removes the name of the palette from the list of available palettes.
- Hide/Delete Palette: Allows you to either hide or permanently delete a palette you created yourself. Shown in place of the above menu item.
- Insert New Palette: Creates a new empty palette. Identical to Add Palettes→Create custom palette.
- Enable Editing: Allows you to modify the contents and layout of the palette.
- Reset Palette: Discards any customizations made to a palette and restores its default contents and layout.
- Save Palette...: Saves the current palette as an .mpal file.
- Load Palette...: Loads a palette from an .mpal file and displays the palette name in the list.
Palette Properties...: Displays the following dialog, where you can adjust the appearance of a palette:
- Name: The name shown in the palette list.
- Cell Size: Width, Height: The dimensions of each individual cell in the palette.
- Element Offset: Adjusts the vertical offset of all symbols in the palette.
- Scale: Makes all symbols in the palette appear larger or smaller.
- Show grid: Draws a border around each palette cell.
Behavior of applied text and lines
If the symbol you are adding to the score from a palette contains a text element (e.g. staff text, dynamic, fingering, volta etc.), then properties such as font type, font size, text color and alignment will adapt according to the following rules:
Text properties which have not been altered by the user will adopt the relevant text styles.
Custom text properties—those changed by the user before saving the symbol to a custom palette—remain as customized.
By contrast, the line properties of lines applied from a palette always remain unchanged (i.e. as set by the user before saving to a custom workspace, or as predefined in the Basic/Advanced workspaces).