Palettes: How it should work

• Feb 15, 2012 - 13:49

The current nightly build has a new feature named "Custom Palettes". The implementation is quite complete and need testing! Several users requested a way to add their own symbol in palettes, to delete some symbol or palette they don't use etc..., the custom palette facility has been developped with these use cases in mind.


Palettes or Palettes panel
The 1.x palettes panel is placed by default at the left side of the screen. The palette panel is undockable and you can relocate it to the other side of the screen. Drag the title bar of the palettes panel to undock and move it. Right click anywhere in the palettes panel and you can activate a single palette mode. Single palette mode will close all the other palette when you open one palette. By default this is deactivated and you can open several palettes at the same time.

A palette is one of the box in the palette panel. By default the first one is the Grace note palette. A palette has a name, located in the title bar. Clicking on the title bar, open and close the palette.

When a palette is open, it contains several cells. A cell is one "box" in the palette. All the cells in a palette have the same dimension. A cell contains an element that you can drag in the score or insert by selecting an element in the score and double click in the palette. A cell can also contain an image in SVG, PNG or JPG. Note that SVG being scalable, it's the best

Master palette
The Master Palette is accessible from Display -> Master Palette. In this palette, you will find all the symbols built in MuseScore. If you messed up your Palette Panel or you miss a symbol in a default palette, you can get symbols from there.


On Windows, hold click for a second on a palette title bar to access the palette menu.

  • You can move a palette up or down, and delete it
  • You can also save a palette and load a palette
  • You can change the palette name, the dimension of the cells, the scale of the symbol in the cells, if you want the cells to be separated with visible grid,... in Palette properties.
  • You can switch on and off edition mode for a palette. If a palette is not in Edition Mode, you can't remove, delete or move content.

You can right click on a given cell to clear it. You can also change the properties of a given cell, name (appears in tooltip), offsets and scale.

Add content to palette cells

You can add content in palette cells from different sources. The palette should be in edition mode.

  • From the current score: Use Ctrl + Shift + drag to drag something from a score to a palette cell
  • From any palette in the palette panel: Just drag
  • From the master palette: Just drag
  • From your system file explorer/finder/internet browser, you can drag any image in SVG, PNG, JPG. SVG is the best format since it will scale nicely.

How to create the best possible SVG files to use in palette

  • 10 pixels = 1 spatium. Spatium unit is the space between 2 lines of the staff. So if you want a squared symbol of the size of the staff, make it 40x40pixels. (5 lines in staff -> 4 spaces). If you choose to make your symbol non spatium dependent while in the score via the inspector, 10 pixels = 10mm.
  • All the content must be inside the viewport of the SVG
  • Transparency is supported. Use it for background.
  • For quality/resizability no bitmaps should be used. Don't embed bitmaps in an SVG file, it defeats the purpose of using SVG in the first place.
  • Qt and thus MuseScore, only supports the static features of SVG 1.2 Tiny. ECMA scripts and DOM manipulation are currently not supported.


Any change in the Palettes Panel is current selected profile. You can have different Palettes Panel by creating several profiles. For example, before making any changes to the Palette Panel, go to Edit -> Profiles -> New Profile, enter a name. Change your palette as you want. To switch to back to the default Palettes Panel, go to Edit -> Profiles -> default


The text above explains how Custom Palettes should work in MuseScore. Go ahead, test it! and report any bug you encounter.


In discussions with Thomas Bonta and Werner Schweer, I have created the following Handbell-specific symbols for testing. Please let me know if these are a useable size/format. I now have a baseline for modifications so changing should be trivial.

Using the "" document as a guide, many of the symbols are already accessible in text form using "chord Name" or "Staff/System text" such as: "BD" Brush Damp, "CD" Controlled Diminuendo, "HB" Hand Bells, "HC" Hand Chimes", "HD" Hand Damp, "LV" Let Vibrate, "Mallets" Mallets, "opt." Optional Notes, "PL" Pluck, "R" Ring, "RB" Rim Brush, "RT" Ring Touch, "SB" Singing Bowl, "SK" Shake, "TD" Thumb Damp, "TLD" Table Land Damp, "TPL" Tap Pluck, and "vib." Vibrato.

Others are already accessible using the existing palate(s) such as: Notehead Shapes (using diamonds), Rolled Chord (using glissando), Trill (using tr), and Voice Leading Lines.

The symbols I have included for the new pallet are: Damp Sign, Echo, Gyro, Belltree, Hand Martellato, Mallet On Suspended Handbell, Mallet With Handbell On Table, Mallet Lift, Mallet Roll On Suspended Handbell, Mallet Roll With Handbell On Table, Martellato, Martellato Lift, Muted Martellato, Enclosures For Optional Notes, Pluck Lift, Selective Damp For Chord Tones and single notes, Shake, and Swing.

Thank you for working this for us!

In reply to by Jaredone

As describe in the initial post of this thread, the new "custom palettes" feature applies to the "nightly builds" - that is, the experimental versions of 2.0 - not to the current version 1.2. The 2.0 version is presumably still many months away from release. You are welcome to click the "Development" link in the menu at right and download it, but again, this is all experimental - you wouldn't want to use it for "real" work.


Context: trunk r. 5330, compiled with Qt SDK (Qt lib 4.8.0) under Win 7.

I started working with custom palette and, basically, things do work. However, I found this oddity:

SVG images, when inserted in a palette, are scaled to a square. The attached image compares the original proportion of a few SVG symbols I made (as shown by dropping in MuseScore 1.1) and the 'squared' proportion in a trunk palette.

If the symbols are dragged from the palette to a score, they retain the squared proportion they have in the palette.

So, have SVG drawings to be square in origin, to be suitable for palette insertion? Is this by design?



Attachment Size
trunk-palette-squared_symbols.png 21.07 KB

Another detail:

Assuming I add to a palette the symbols A, B and C (in that order).

If I delete symbol B (let's say I made a mistake) and try to insert symbol D in the empty place ('hole') left by B, D is added at the end, after C.

Only by deleting all symbols following the 'hole', the 'hole' can be used. In practice, new symbols are always inserted at the end of the palette, never in a 'hole'.

By design?



In reply to by Nicolas


The updated best SVG format is quite useful, but it does not answer my priginal question: shall the SVG be squared?

The info says: "if you want a squared symbol..." What if the symbol is non-squared? The screen shot attached to my post above shows 3 symbols, two of them are clearly not squared; shall I make them squared by adding blank space around?

(And, yes, even if just by chance, those symbols were made assuming 10 pixels per spatium; probably it is a reasonable assumption...)



I've played around a little and I am looking forward to using this feature! But I can tell you right now there is one thing that would *really* make this amazing, and that is if I could also place any palette items I want into my score via keyboard shortcuts.

I can see a couple of different ways this could work. The most powerful would be to allow you to right click any cell in any palette, choose Properties, and define a shortcut right there in that dialog. The dialog already exists; we'd just be adding a new property.

A complication with this approach would be that you might not want to also list every single palette item in the list that shows under Edit->Preferences->Shortcuts, and yet you probably want that list to be reasonably complete.

So, you could just list the non-default palette items, or just the ones you have actually assigned shortcuts to, or just those you have assigned names to.

Another idea, somewhat more limited but still very useful, would be to have one special palette (perhaps called "Keyboard"). Only items on that palette could be assigned shortcuts, and these would show up in the regular Edit->Preferences->Shortcuts list, probably all gathered together, using the names youhave assigned or just cell numbers.

I'm sure other implementations would be possible as well. Anything, though that allows me to define shortcuts for the palette items I use most would be very welcome. In my case, it's dynamics, certain articulations, and a few specific text elements. BTW, I see I can staff text elements to a palette, although I have to scale it manually after placement. might be nice if that scaled itself. Also, I couldn't figure out how to work the staff text properties - I see a tab for MIDI action that appears to allow me to, for example, set the behavior for "pizz", but I couldn't get it to work. So I was unable to tell if those properties are preserved when placing these texts via the palette. I'd hope so.

I have been playing around with the nightly build (most recently 6dffde5) to get the ability to use new shortcuts. There are some characters used often in pit orchestras that i can't shortcut. I can live with that, there are only so many key combos on a keyboard. The real problem is the new style of the pallettes. In the old style(1.2), i could leave a number of sub-pallettes open and carefully scroll that sub-pallette to where the cell(s) important to me were located. I could have 5 or 6 of these open -- positioned very carefully -- and needed, because musescore is very mouse-driven.

But in nightly, the sub-pallette opens to occupy the maximum space, and it's a lot of space for some sub-pallets, with things i might never use, ever. It even moves the sub-pallette titles lower in the list off the visible screen. Yes, i know there's a pallette scroll bar, but that just adds to the mousi-ness of musescore; great for beginners, not so much for experienced users.

As an example, Clefs: I only need a couple for my work, yet i have to loose space to things i'd rarely, if ever, use. And if i have Clefs sub-pallette open, i can't even see all of the Key Signatures sub-pallette. So i'm constantly opening and closing sub-pallets. And yes, this is at max resolution of my laptop screen.

So i'm pleading for a way to go back to the old way (1.2) of managing the pallettes. Or least make it a configuration option.

Thanks for listening.

In reply to by stewkingjr

I have a thought. It might be very useful to have a "User Pallet" to which one could add the characters that one most uses. If one wanted another one, it could be added. this pallet would be saved on closing and would be available to which ever score one opened.

I am going to add this to the "feature request" forum.

In reply to by xavierjazz

A "user pallette" would work for me, especially if i could stretch it out and dock it somewhere. One additional thing i forgot to mention before is the size of the icons in the pallette, they're huge! If they could be re-sized much smaller, well, that would be the cat's pajamas.

In reply to by stewkingjr

You *can* have a user palette - that is in fact the whole point of this thread. Did you read the first post? The facility works quite nicely. You can add a single palette for all your symbols, or have a small set of them organized by function, or remove items from the default palettes, etc.

You might worry about deleting items from the default palettes, but it's actually completely safe. You can restore them at any time, and you can also make your changes to a private "Workspace" (see Edit / Preferences). There you will also find an already predefined "Basic" workspace that eliminates a lot of the seldom-used symbols. You might find that with that selected, you don't even need further customization. Or maybe you'd still want to remove more, but then you could still switch batch to the Advanced workspace at any time and get the full set back. Actually, even the Advanced palette doesn't include *everything* - there are far too many symbols for that. View / Master Palette shows you what you're missing.

Anyhow, aside that, I'm also not sure what you mean about size of icons. They haven't changed form 1.3 that I can see. If you are seeing otherewise, could you post a screenshot, and say what OS you are using?

I'm really digging this feature in MuseScore 2.0.

I have been trying it out with my own custom SVG files, created in Illustrator. I save them to the desktop then just drag them into my own custom palette. Great. A couple of questions, however...

When I resize, even if "lock aspect ratio" is checked in the menu, it doesn't maintain the ratio. When I first place it on the score, it looks great. Then, if I resize it (either with the mouse or in the inspector) Like, if I change the height, it does change the width, but the more I change it, the more out of proportion it becomes. Seems like a maths problem somewhere (maybe a rounding error?). I've tried all sorts of SVG versions, but nothing works.

Anyone else experiencing these issues, or am I doing something wrong. Windows 7 64bit here.

Also, is there any way of saving the offset? I don't mean how it's displayed in the cell, but the offset compared to a note?

All that aside... GREAT feature!

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