Layout and formatting
For MuseScore 3 users, see Layout and formatting
You've finished your score and you want to print it out. However, you want improve how it looks. This handbook page describes many different ways, and how they work together.
Ways to affect layout
- Layout → Page Settings. Change global settings such as page size, how big a "space" is (under "Scaling"), and how big page margins are. Space is used in other settings (example: "5.0sp"), so changing "space" will change most other settings.
- Layout → Add More Stretch, Add Less Stretch. Stretch or squash measures you select specifically.
- Style → Edit General Style → Page. Change global settings that affect how close staves are, how close systems are, how much margin lyrics get, and so on.
- Style → Edit General Style → System. Fix the number of measures per system, or the measure width.
- Style → Edit General Style → Score. Affect score details like whether there are multimeasure rests or empty staves are hidden.
- Style → Edit General Style → Measure. Set measure spacing, key to controlling number of measures per line.
- Palette / Breaks & Spacer. Break a line at a particular measure, a page at a particular line, or add space between measures.
- Style → Edit General Style → Sizes. Set the proportional size of "small" and grace notes. Changing this would be unusual.
Layout / Page Settings
Scaling / Space - This is the size of the space between 2 lines of a staff. Since notes fit in that space, it also controls the size of note heads. Since music is proportional to notes, this also affects note stems, accidentals, clefs, all kinds of things. It also shows up as sp in many other settings (example: system distance "9.2sp"). So, as you change the "Space" parameter, many other settings change proportionally. For this reason, it is also sometimes called "scaling."
Changing the scaling may not change the number of systems per page because of the "page fill threshold" (see below). To see the effects of changes to scaling without interference, set the "page fill threshold" to 100%.
Note: there is also a scaling parameter in Edit → Preferences → Score → Scaling. That sets the global preference for new documents, but does not change the current score.
Layout: Add More Stretch, Add Less Stretch
You can select measures, then widen them so fewer are on a line ("Add More Stretch"), or squash them to fit more on a line ("Add Less Stretch").
Style / Edit General Style / Page
- Music upper and lower margin - Space before and after the first and last staves on a page.
- Staff distance - Space between staves within a system.
- Accolade distance - Space between the staves of a multi-staff instrument like piano.
- System distance - Space between systems.
- Lyrics upper and lower margin - Space before and after the first and last lines of lyrics.
- V-frame upper and lower margin - Margins for a vertical frame (for example, the box containing the title and composer info).
- Page fill threshold - If the page is fuller than this, system space is ignored, and everything is stretched to fill the page. So 100% prevents any stretching.
- Last system fill threshold - If the last system is larger than this percentage of the page width, the last system is stretched to fill the page width.
Percentages in a threshold are percentages of the full page height or width. So a page fill threshold of 70% means stretch of things to fill the page, if it is more than 70% full.
Style / Edit General Style / System
Style / Edit General Style / Score
Here, you can cause the creation of multi-measure rests and hide empty staves. This can affect score size greatly.
Style / Edit General Style / Measure
Set measure spacing as well as margins. The measure spacing is key to controlling number of measures per line. Changing the other settings would be unusual.
Palette / Breaks & Spacer
Using this palette, you can choose where you want page breaks or line breaks. Some people do this first, and some save it until the end, after modifying the global settings.
To put a page break, drag and drop the page break symbol to a measure. To put a line break, drag and drop the line break symbol to the last measure you want on a line. If you want the same number of measures for several systems, select them and use Plugins → Break every X measures. If some measures end up alone on the line, reduce the scaling, or use Layout → Add More Stretch, Add Less Stretch.
See also Break or spacer .
Style / Edit General Style / Sizes
Set the proportional size of "small" and grace notes. Changing this would be unusual.