Layout and formatting options for the score are accessed from the Format menu.
This section lists the main commands and dialogs affecting score layout. Other formatting options are covered further down the page (but for text, see Text styles and properties).
Page Settings: Adjust the overall dimensions of your score such as page size, page margins, and scaling.
Increase/Decrease Layout Stretch: Adjust the score spacing by stretching or squashing selected measures.
Score: Set overall score details, such as music font, display of multi-measure rests, and whether to hide empty staves.
Page: Adjust staff and system spacing, score and lyric margins etc.
Measure Style: Set the measure spacing, which affects the number of measures per line.
Sizes: Set the default size of "small" and grace notes, small staves and small clefs.
Add/Remove System Breaks: Set the number of measures per system.
Breaks and spacers: Apply system, page or section breaks. You can also add extra space between particular systems or staves where needed.
The Style submenu contains dialogs which allow you to adjust the global formatting of many score elements. To open Style:
The Style dialogs are as follows:
To open the Score dialog, select Format→Style…→Score.
This dialog allows you to set global properties, such as the music font, display of multimeasure rests, whether or not to hide empty staves, swing playback etc.
Musical text font: Choice of display in Emmentaler, Bravura, Gonville or MuseJazz fonts.
Display in concert pitch: Tick this option to display the score at concert pitch. If unticked the score is displayed at written pitch.
Create multimeasure rests: Tick to display multimeasure rests.
Hide empty staves within systems: This option saves space by hiding those staves in a system which consist of only empty measures. Used for condensed scores.
Don't hide empty staves in first system: Always display staves in first system even if they consist of empty measures.
Display note values across measure boundaries: A feature useful for notating early music. See Unbarred notation.
Hide instrument name if there is only one instrument: You don't usually need to display the instrument name in this case.
Swing settings allows you to control the degree of swing for the whole score.
If you prefer to set swing on the score page, see Swing.
To open the Page dialog, select Format→Style...→Page.
This dialog allows you to adjust the overall layout of your score by changing the spacing of margins, systems, staves, lyrics lines, and frames. You can also control the display of key signatures, time signatures and clefs.
The diagram below is a guide to various parameters under the control of this dialog:
Music bottom margin: The distance between the bottom staff line of the last staff on the page and the bottom page margin.
Staff distance: The space between staves which are not part of a grand staff (see below).
Note: To alter the space above one particular staff see Extra distance above staff (Staff properties).
Max. system distance: The maximum distance allowed between one system and the next.
Vertical frame top margin: The default margin height above a vertical frame.
Vertical frame bottom margin: The default margin height below a vertical frame.
Last system fill threshold: If the last system is longer than this percentage of the page width, it gets stretched to fill that width.
The following check boxes allow you to control the display of clefs, time signatures, and key signatures—including the courtesy kind.
To open the Sizes dialog, select Format→Style...→Sizes.
Sets the proportional size of "small" and grace notes, as well as small staves and clefs. Changing this would be unusual.
To open the Header, Footer dialog, select Format→Style...→Header, Footer.
This allows you to add header and footer text using meta tags (see Score information)—such as page numbers, page headers, copyright information etc. For example, you can create different Headers and Footers for even and odd pages, such as putting page numbers on the right for odd-numbered pages and on the left for even-numbered pages.
If you hover with your mouse over the Header or Footer text region, a list of macros will appear, showing their meaning, as well as the existing meta tags and their content.
To create a header or footer for an individual part, that part needs to be the active tab. To create a header or footer for a score with linked parts, make sure the main score is in the active tab.
To open the Measure Numbers dialog, select Format→Style...→Measure Numbers.
This allows you to specify whether measure numbers will appear in the score, and, if so, at what intervals. You can also set the font properties.
To open the System dialog, select Format→Style...→System.
This dialog allows you to adjust certain properties of all systems.
See also Brackets.
To open the Clefs dialog, select Format→Style...→Clefs.
Chose the style of the default tablature clef: Standard or Serif.
To open the Accidentals dialog, select Format→Style...→Accidentals.
Allows you to specify how the score displays key signature accidentals at key changes. See Naturals on key signature changes.
To open the Measure dialog, select Format→Style...→Measure.
For details, see Measure.
To open the Barlines dialog, select Format→Style...→Barlines.
Other properties allow you to set the thickness of "thin," "thick" and double barlines, the distance between double barlines, and the repeat barline to dot distance.
To open the Notes dialog, select Style→General...→Notes. The dialog can also be opened direct from the score by right-clicking on any note and selecting "Style…"
Here you can adjust the distance and thickness of note-related objects (stems, ledger lines, dots, accidentals). Changing these would be unusual.
To open the Beams dialog, select Style→General...→Beams.
This allows you to set the overall properties of note beams in the score:
Ticking the Flatten all beams option means that all note beams will be horizontal only—not sloped.
To open the Tuplets dialog, select Format→Style...→Tuplets.
Vertical Distance from Notes:
Horizontal distance from notes:
To open the Arpeggios dialog, select Format→Style...→Arpeggios.
Here you can change the distance to note, line thickness, and hook length of the following arpeggio and strum symbols:
To open the Slurs/Ties dialog, select Format→Style...→Slurs/Ties.
To open the Hairpins dialog, select Format→Style...→Hairpins.
Here you can set the default properties of hairpins (crescendo and decresendo lines):
To open the Volta dialog, select Format→Style...→Volta.
Here you can set the default properties of voltas:
To open the Ottava dialog, select Format→Style...→Ottava.
Here you can set the default properties of ottavas (octave lines):
To open the Pedal dialog, select Format→Style...→Pedal.
Here you can set the default properties of pedal lines:
To open the Trill dialog, select Format→Style...→Trill.
Here you can set the default placement of Trill lines:
To open the Vibrato dialog, select Format→Style...→Vibrato.
Here you can set the default placement of Vibrato lines:
To open the Bend dialog, select Format→Style...→Bend.
Here you can set the display properties of Bends. This includes the line thickness, arrow width and font properties.
To open the Text Line dialog, select Format→Style...→Text Line.
Here you can set the default placement of text lines:
To open the Articulations, Ornaments dialog, select Format→Style...→Articulations, Ornaments.
This dialog allows you set the default placement distances and size (as a percentage) of articulations and ornaments.
To open the Fermatas dialog, select Format→Style...→Fermatas.
This dialog allows you set the default placement of fermatas.
To open the Staff text dialog, select Format→Style...→Staff Text.
This dialog allows you set the default placement and autoplacement properties of staff text.
To open the Tempo text dialog, select Format→Style...→Staff Text.
This dialog allows you set the default placement and autoplacement properties of tempo text.
To open the Lyrics dialog, select Format→Style...→Lyrics.
To open the Dynamics dialog, select Format→Style...→Dynamics.
This dialog allows you set the default placement and autoplacement properties of dynamics.
To open the Rehearsal Marks dialog, select Format→Style...→Rehearsal Marks.
This dialog allows you set the default placement and autoplacement properties of rehearsal marks.
To open the Figured Bass dialog, select Format→Style...→Figured Bass.
This allows you to set the default font, style, alignment and position of figured bass.
To open the Chord Symbols dialog, select Format→Style...→Chord Symbols.
This section allows you to adjust the format and positioning of chord symbols:
To open the Fretboard Diagrams dialog, select Format→Style...→Fretboard Diagrams.
This section allows you to adjust the format and positioning of Fretboard diagrams.
To open the Text Styles dialog, select Format→Style...→Text Styles.
This dialog allows you to set the formatting of all text styles. Individual text styles can also be set from the Inspector.
Any changes made in the Style dialog are immediately applied to the score, but can be rescinded at any time by pressing Cancel—which also exits the dialog. Press OK to save your changes to the score and close the window.
If you are making formatting adjustments in an instrument part, use the Apply to all Parts button to apply all changes to all parts in the score.
See Page settings.
This tool adds or removes system breaks over all or part of the score:
Chose Format→Add/Remove System Breaks…. The following dialog appears.
Chose one of the following options:
Used to increase, decrease or reset the horizontal spacing of notes within selected measures.
To reset stretch to the default spacing of 1:
See also Measure Properties: Layout stretch. This allows you to set the stretch more precisely.
To reset all text styles to the "factory" default settings:
To restore beams to the mode defined in the local time signatures:
See also Beams.
The Reset Shapes and Positions command restores the default positions, note stem directions and shapes (slurs, ties etc.) for selected score elements. To apply:
To load a customized style:
All existing styles in the score should update automatically.
To save a customized style:
Note: You can also define a preferred style for scores and parts in the Score section of MuseScore's Preferences.
To open the Measure dialog, select Format→Style...→Measure.
This allows you to adjust the distance between various items within measures.
If you change a measure style property, MuseScore automatically adjusts the score to maintain the correct spacing between notes and rests according to best music engraving practice. It will also correctly reposition any elements attached to notes or rests, such as fingerings, dynamics, lines etc.
All settings related to measure width and note spacing are minimum values. Measures are automatically stretched, if necessary, to maintain existing page margins.
All the properties listed below use the staff space (abbreviated to "sp") as the basic unit of measurement. See Page settings: Scaling for more details.
Minimum measure width: Sets the minimum horizontal length of measures. In measures containing very little content (e.g., a single whole note or whole measure rest), the measure will only shrink as far as this minimum.
Spacing (1=tight): Condenses or expands the space after notes or rests. This setting thus affects not only space between notes but also between the last note and the ending barline. For the space between the beginning of the measure and the first note or rest, see Note left margin (below).
Note left margin: Sets the distance from the start barline to the first note.
Barline to grace note distance: Sets the distance between a barline and a grace note that occurs before the first actual note in a measure (independently of the "Note left margin" setting).
Barline to accidental distance: Sets the distance between a barline and an accidental placed before the first note in a measure (independently of the "Note left margin" setting).
Note to barline distance: Sets the distance from the last note to the following barline.
Minimum note distance: Specifies the smallest amount of space MuseScore will allow after each note (depending on other factors, more space may be allowed).
Clef left margin: Sets the distance between the very beginning of each line and the clef. (This option is rarely needed.)
Key signature left margin: Sets the distance between the beginning of the measure and a key signature.
Time signature left margin: Sets the distance between the beginning of the measure and a time signature (if there is no time signature in between).
Time signature to barline distance: To be added
Clef/key right margin: Sets the distance between the material at the beginning of each line (such as the clef and key signature) and the first note or rest of the first measure on the line. (Note that, although not named in the option, if a time signature is present, it is the element from which the spacing begins.)
Clef to barline distance: Sets the distance between a barline and a clef change preceding it.
Clef to key distance: Sets the distance from the clef to a key signature following it.
Clef to time signature distance: Sets the distance from the clef to the time signature following it (if there is no key signature in between).
Key to time signature distance: Sets the distance from a key signature to the following time signature.
Key to barline distance: To be added..
System header distance: To be added ...
System header with time signature distance: To be added ..
Multimeasure rest margin: Sets the distance between a multi-measure rest and the barlines on either side.
Staff line thickness: Sets the thickness of the lines of the staff, which allows you to make the staff thicker and darker, if you need greater visibility on your printouts.
Note: Changes to an individual measure's Stretch (using Format→Stretch → Increase/Decrease Layout Stretch) are calculated after, and proportional to, the global Spacing setting.