Palettes and workspaces

A palette is a storage space containing a group of related musical symbols. A workspace is a collection of palettes and is docked, by default, on the left-hand side of the program window.

Display of the palettes can be toggled on or off with the menu option ViewPalettes, or by using the shortcut F9 (Mac: fn+F9).


A Workspaces is a set of palettes. MuseScore provides two preset workspaces: Basic (the default option) and Advanced (a version with more palettes and symbols). You can switch between the two by using the drop-down menu at the bottom of the workspace panel.

The names of palettes within a workspace are clearly listed under the word "Palettes." To open or close any palette, simply click on its name or the accompanying side-arrow.

animated gif showing how to switch between basic and advanced palette

Palettes in the preset workspaces cannot be added to or edited. To do this you first have to create a custom workspace (see below).

Single Palette Mode

If you only want to allow one palette to open at a time, right click at the top of the workspace and check the "Single palette" box.


To undock or redock a workspace, see Side panels.

Custom workspace

A custom workspace is created by duplicating an existing workspace and renaming it. The palettes then become available for editing:

  • Chose a workspace to duplicate. Use the drop-down list at the bottom of the workspace panel if needed.
  • Click the + button, enter a name for the new workspace and press OK. The new workspace is added to the panel.

Alternatively you can use the menu option:

  • Select EditWorkspaces, and chose a workspace.
  • Select New. Fill in the new workspace name and click OK.


Applying symbols from a palette

To view the contents of a palette, click on the palette title. A palette symbol may be applied to the score using one of the following methods:

⦁ Select one or more score elements and double click the palette symbol.
⦁ Drag and drop the symbol onto the desired score element in the staff.

For example, to add tenuto marks (—) to a selection of notes:

  1. Select the desired notes.
  2. In the Articulations & Ornaments palette, double-click on the tenuto symbol

Once added to the score, objects can be copied, pasted, and duplicated—see Copy and paste.

Palettes in the preset workspaces cannot be edited. To do this you have to create a custom workspace first.

Preset palettes (Advanced workspace)

The more fully-featured Advanced workspace contains the following palettes:

Custom palettes

Once you have created a custom workspace (see above), and providing editing is enabled (see Palette menu below), you can customise the palettes within it to your own requirements. Palettes can be created, deleted, renamed and reordered. New symbols can be added to them and existing symbols deleted.

To add an existing score element (such as a line, text, dynamic, fretboard diagram etc.) to a custom palette, press and hold Ctrl+Shift, then drag the symbol onto the palette. Symbols from the Master palette can also be added to a custom palette.

Right-clicking on the name of a palette in a custom workspace brings up a menu with a range of options:

  • Palette Properties...: This allows you to make adjustments to the appearance of the open palette:


    • Name
    • Cell Size: Width, Height
    • Element Offset: Adjusts the vertical offset of all elements in the palette.
    • Scale: Makes all palette elements appear larger or smaller.
    • Show grid: Tick this box to visually divide the palette into cells, one for each element.
    • Show ‘More Elements…’: Tick this box to create a cell which opens the Master Palette.
  • Insert New Palette: Creates a new empty palette.
  • Move Palette Up / Move Palette Down: Allows you to reorder the palettes.
  • Enable Editing: Tick this option if you want to be able to edit a palette.
  • Save Palette: Save as an .mpal file.
  • Load Palette: Load an .mpal file.
  • Delete Palette

Right-clicking on an element within a palette (if editing of the palette is enabled) brings up a menu with the following options:

  • Clear: Removes the element from the palette
  • Properties...: Opens the Palette Cell Properties dialogue:
    • Name: The tooltip that appears when you mouse over the element.
    • Content offset (X, Y): Adjust the position of the element in the palette.
    • Content scale: Make the element appear larger or smaller in the palette.
    • Draw staff: Draws the five lines of a musical staff behind the palette element.
  • More Elements: Opens the relevant Master Palette section.

Note: Changing values in "Palette Cell Properties" only affects the appearance of elements in the palette. It does not change their sizes or offsets on the score page.

Master palette

Music symbols not part of the palettes in the Advanced workspace can be found in the Master palette by pressing Z or Shift+F9 (Mac: fn+Shift+F9).

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:

  1. Text properties which have not been altered by the user will adopt the relevant, prevailing text styles.

  2. Custom text-properties—i.e. those changed by the user before saving the symbol to a custom palette—remain as customized.

When adding a line, line properties always remain unchanged (i.e. as set by the user before saving to a custom workspace, or as predefined in the Basic/Advanced workspaces).

See also

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