General style: Measure

    General style: Measure

    Style → General → Measure allows you to adjust the distance between various items within measures.

    Note: As you shrink or expand distances between notes and rests, MuseScore will always attempt to keep the elements within each measure relatively spaced according to best engraving practice. In other words, you may specify a certain amount of space between notes, but MuseScore will not apply your change in such a way as to make all notes perfectly equidistant—there will always be less space to the right of shorter notes than longer notes. In addition, elements attached to notes or rests such as fingerings, dynamics, lines, and so forth, will be moved along with the notes or rests they are anchored to when you make changes, so you need not worry about readjusting them separately.

    All settings related to measure width and note spacing are minimum values. Measures are automatically stretched, if necessary, to justify both margins.


    All the parameters here use the staff space unit of measurement, abbreviated sp. The staff space is the vertical distance from one individual line in a staff to another (so a five-line staff is four staff spaces tall). As the same unit is also used for horizontal measurements, in some cases you may need to rotate the staff space distance 90 degrees in your mind. Measuring using the staff space unit enables proportional scaling of everything in the score if you change the size of the staff. See Page settings: Staff space/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 Barline to note distance (below).
      Note: Changes to an individual measure's Stretch (under Layout → Increase Stretch, Decrease Stretch) are calculated after, and proportional to, the global Spacing setting.

    • Barline to note distance
      Sets the distance between the barline which begins a measure and the first note or rest in that measure. For the initial measures of systems, which start with clefs instead of barlines, use Clef/key right margin (below).
      The following two options set the distance between barlines and specific elements that may come between a barline and the first note in a measure, independent of the Barline to note distance setting.

    • 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.

    • Barline to accidental distance
      Sets the distance between a barline and an accidental placed before the first note in a measure.

    • Note to barline distance

    • 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 key signature and the clef preceding it.

    • Time signature left margin
      Sets the distance between the time signature and the key signature or clef preceding it.

    • 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.

    • Multimeasure rest margin
      Sets the distance between a multimeasure 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.