Can I open an imported Muse Score 2 score without it defaulting into Muse Score 3? They are so messed up!

• Jun 10, 2019 - 20:28

Please help! I have many scores written on my laptop in MuseScore 2. When I open them in my desktop which is now updated with MuseScore 3 to work on them... they are awful. It would take hours of work to realign all the elements. Is there a way to open them in my desktop but keep them in MuseScore2 for their final changes? Please help!


Can you attach one of the scores you are having trouble with? Chance are whatever is looking "messed up" is actually something quite simply that would take only minutes or even just seconds to fix. In general, the layout in MsueScore is tons better than 2, but that does mean manually adjustments made to work around the limitations in 2 may need to be revisted, but it's often possible to do most of it in just a few clicks by updating some style settings etc. If you attach a score, we are happy to help.

In MuseScore 2.x, I relied heavily on some styles I'd made, which I applied depending on the length and complexity of the score. In 3.1, my styles aren't recognised, and yes, my scores look terrible.

I was looking forward to new features in 3.1, but at this point, I'm probably just going to go back to 2.x. I mostly use MuseScore as a music stand. If scores aren't laid out in a way that I can easily read them, the new version is less useful to me than the older one, and I don't feel like putting all that work into getting it back how it was.

Is there a way to import my old styles? Are we seriously expected to just create them all over again, when there's a major version number change?

In reply to by AndyHornBlower

If you've done a lot of work customizing the appearance of existing scores, then indeed, sticking to MsueScore 2 for those specific scores may make sense. But if the goal is having scores laid out in an easily readable fashion, then MsueScore makes that process far simpler than ever, so it definitively behooves you to use it for new scores!

But I'm confused by your comments about style. If you've applied style settings to a score in MsueScore, those settings should indeed be recognized - they are part of the score. So it could be some specific style setting you were relying on has changed meaning and needs to be tweaked now. Hard to say without an example. best to start a new thread and attach one such specific score so we can understand and assist better

As for styles files, it shouldn't be a problem to convert them into MuseScore 3, although because the meaning of some settings has changed a bit, and lots of new settings are now available as well for even more control, you probably want to spend a few minutes tweaking them before relying on them too much. While there are a few different ways to go about this, perhaps the easiest and most useful way would be to attach the style to a blank document in MuseScore 2, save the score, load the score into Musecore 3 which will perform some of the needed adjustments automatically, and then save a new style from that.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks, Marc. I'll experiment with the settings, later to see if I can get them more useful.

When loading an existing score, from 2.3.2 into 3.1, it looks so different I just assumed it hadn't kept any style information. When I tried to load one of my set of style sheets, it told me it was not compatible...

If I edit a score in 3.1, will that mean I can no longer load it into 2.x? I'll back them all up, and try that too. Apart from my main Windows 7 machine, I also use MuseScore on an old laptop with XP (and no internet connection), which is on 2.1, I think. Is there going to be a compatibility problem generally, if I switch to 3.x on Win 7?

My first experience of 3.1 (which is the first 3.x I've tried) was having to set all my main settings again, which looked a lot like the settings for the ones for 2.x. Mostly, I had to tell it where I keep my scores, styles and instruments file. Is there a good reason why those couldn't just have been carried across automatically? Trying to open a score and finding there aren't any, after the upgrade, it unsettling, to say the least.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Thanks, Jojo. I hadn't spotted that.

Is there a way to get the height of the tabs, for the file names, back how it was - or even smaller? It's taking up significantly more vertical screen space to do that, than in 2.3.2.

I have Windows system fonts set to "Medium - 125%", to better match my eyes and monitor, so that could be a factor.

In reply to by AndyHornBlower

While you can indeed force a 2.x style sheet to load in 3.1, I wouldn't recommend it - the method I suggested is better in tha it will autoamtically do at least some updates.

Most likely the differences you saw were not due to style differences but to automatic placement. Not sure if you were using 3.1 or an earlier version; 3.1 will be much better at preserving manual adjustments.

As for the default folders, keep in mind that once saved in MsueScore 3, a score can't be opened in MsueScore 2. So it will be important to keep things straight, and the easiest way to do that is to have separate folders and make you think just a tiny bit about what you are doing.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Yes, it may well be mostly settings, and placements. Initially, I was thrown by having a box open when I started it up.. called Inspector? .. which was eating the right hand side of the page. It was zoomed way in too, which made me wonder what exactly I was looking at.

Sadly, breaking compatibility with earlier versions, is a big deal, for me. At some times of the year I get a lot of use out of that old laptop, as a MuseScore based music stand, and not being able to copy anything across to it would be a major problem.... I think it's actually still on 1.3, but it worked fine with 2.x scores, the last time I checked. EDIT: I've checked - the laptop has 2.0.3, so presumably that was the last version which supported XP. That still seems to work fine, with files from 2.3.2.

To be precise, I was trying, which I installed today. It's the first incarnation of 3.x I've ever tried.

Until I can afford to replace the laptop... and feel like spending the money to essentially fix something that wasn't broke, I think I'm just going to stick with 2.x.

In reply to by AndyHornBlower

FYI, the Inspector is hardly new, it's been an integral part of MuseScore since 2.0. Tough to do much in the way of manual formatting without it, so now I'm especially mystified as to what is going on with your scores. I definitely encourage you to start a new thread an attach one so we can understand.

Not sure what the status is as far as a build of 3.1 that runs on Vista, but you could also consider Linux FWIW. The current system certainly isn't "broke", but you're likely spending hours more time than necessary formatting scores that could look practically perfect right out of the box in 3.1, so it's worth considering the value of your time as well. In the other hand, you will indeed spend some of that time coming up to speed, so it might have to subtract an hour or two from the many hours you'll save over time.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

What I meant by not broke, was the system whereby I use MuseScore on both an old laptop, that's not new enough to run Win 7, and on a fairly modern Core i7 which does run Win 7 - using the same files to read on the laptop, fairly seamlessly.

I have looked into using Linux on the laptop, but that was less than ideal - they really expect better hardware, these days. There are distros that will work on it, but it's all very limiting.

I have never used the inspector. I presumably closed that box a long time ago, if it was open by default on previous versions of MuseScore.

It's okay, I don't feel the need to open a new thread. I'm done. Apologies for hijacking this one. It was along the lines of my problems with upgrading, and came up in a search, but I guess I've drifted away from the original topic.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thank you! When I open a score in MuseScore 3 that was written in MuseScore 2, all of the spacing of the lyrics and the staff spacers that I have adjusted manually are way off. That customizing does not seem to transfer and it would take hours of work to line up the lyrics again.

It worked beautifully to slide an existing score into MuseScore 2 before opening it up and this is the solution for me. Of course, I am using MuseScore 3 for my new pieces and thank you deeply for all of your work!

In reply to by kathleensings

As I said, though, the defaults are so much better in MuseScore 3, you probably won't need any - or hardly any - of those manual adjsutments or staff spacers. Those were needed because of the imitations of MuseScore 2, but indeed they just get in the way now. So often the easiest thing to do is just get rid of all that, which takes seconds, not hours. Again, if you attach one of your MuseScore 2 scores, we'd love to help you see how your scores can be made to look better than ever, more easily than you ever could have imagined!

In reply to by kathleensings

OK, so I see what you mean about lining things up manually. You had to do rather more of it on this piece than normally because you have some lyrics attached to notes on one staff and others attached for notes on another staff. Because that's such a pain to do, I wouldn't recommend doing things that way. When it's necessary to have the notes of the same verse move back and forth between the staves, I'd consider alternatives like using invisible notes so you can keep all your lyrics on one staff. But really, it's only an issue toward the beginning, so it's not that bad to work around.

There are other issues with the score - things you really should have done differently and it would have made your life easier in MuseScore 2 as well. For example, it seems you skipped a verse in some places - like in measure 3, you have verse 1, 2, then 4, with verse 3 empty. That complicates things as it means the manual adjustments weren't consistent. But luckily MuseScore 3 makes that very simple to fix - just change the verse for the selected lyrics in the Inspector. Also, you used voices 3 & 4 for the bottom staff rather than 1 & 2, which is also a complication that really should be fixed. You shouldn't have needed to hide all those rests, for instance. Another error I see is some ties that should have been slurs, this also caused you to need to work harder to adjust them than you should have. So really, you should delete the spurious ties and add them back as slurs. These are all things that have nothing to do with MuseScore 2 vs 3, they are just things that, when done correctly, make life easier in both versions.

Anyhow, all of that said, as I predicted, fixing the layout takes well under a minute. Basically, I reset all your manual adjustments and deleted all your spacers because they won't be needed anymore, then I selected all lyrics on the bottom staff and hit "X" to flip them above the staff (a new MuseScore 3 feature) then added fixed spacers to the only systems that needed them - the first two, because of the verse that moves from staff to staff. I also adjusted the curly brace and lyrics that followed in measure 6-8 (by selecting them and moving them to verse 2 in the Inspector).

I won't claim the attached score is perfect, but it should give you an idea of what can be done in a minute.

In reply to by kathleensings


Wow! You really picked a humdinger of a score!
(I had a quick look at it and was eagerly awaiting Marc's reply.)

He wrote (among other things):
1. These are all things that have nothing to do with MuseScore 2 vs 3, they are just things that, when done correctly, make life easier in both versions.
2. Anyhow, all of that said, as I predicted, fixing the layout takes well under a minute.

Regarding #1...
That's an important point because you seemed to have struggled entering your score more than you should have - even while using MuseScore 2.
One common misunderstanding is entering notes on the bass clef as voices 3 - 4 (thinking as a chorister, so that soprano & alto = voices 1 & 2; tenor & bass = voices 3 & 4).
In fact, on any staff, voice1 should be used first - with other voices added as needed.
and note where it says:
"Be careful not to confuse the concept of MuseScore voices (1, 2, 3, 4) with the order of voices found in vocal scores (SATB etc.). In particular, when creating a closed SATB score, use only (MuseScore) voices 1 and 2 for both upper and lower staves. There is no need to use (MuseScore) voices 3 and 4 unless there are more than two parts in the same staff."
If you are having trouble entering what should seem like basic stuff - voices, lyrics, etc. - you should check with the handbook and the forums. There probably is an easier way.

Regarding #2...
Fixing the layout takes well under a minute...
Yes it does -- for a seasoned power user!! 😜
(It took me longer than a minute to fully absorb Marc's concise reply.)

Regards, and welcome aboard!

In reply to by Jm6stringer

To be fair, it certainly took me over a minute to analyze the situation and understand what needed to be done, but much of that is because I didn't already know the score, also because of the hidden problems like the incorrect voices, verses, and ties. And of course, it took far more than a minute to write it all up! :-)

But my guess is, whatever is going in one score created by a given user, chances are pretty good similar things will be going on in other scores. So once you understand what is involved in updating one of your own scores, you can reasonably expect the situation to be about the same for your other scores. Plus what you learn along the way will make the process of doing the analysis go faster when you do find new problems.

So to summarize, aside from the errors with voices, verses, and ties - which really should be fixed regardless - the things that actually should be done in updating a score of this type to MuseScore 3:

1) reset all manual adjustments to lyrics, and instead use the "X" command to flip lyrics above the staff
2) (optional) remove all spacers as they are no longer needed to avoid collisions
3) insert new fixed spacers for the systems where you want less space

And this really does literally take about a minute.

For step 1), the only part that requires much in the way of thinking is selecting the lyrics to flip. In this case, it's Select / All Elements in Same Staff that need flipping, for other scores, it may be Select / All Similar Elements in Range Selection or Select / More / Same voice, or even just Shift+drag to select. But the key point is, manual adjustments are no longer the way to put lyrics above the staff - the "X" command (or, equivalently, setting placement to "Above" in the Inspector) is the way to go.

It may still be that it makes sense to keep using MuseScore 2 when just going to an old score to print it. but if you're planning to spend any significant time editing it, you're probably better off in the long run spending a couple of minute or so bringing it into MuseScore 3 first. Chances are very good that autoplace and the "X" command alone will save you more than that in the end.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Your feedback is so very helpful! I am excited to use the "X" feature with lyrics in my next song! I am using MuseScore3 with my new work and enjoying it. I cannot tell you how wonderful it is for a "technology immigrant" like myself to be able to ask questions of you tech-smart people and get help! Thank you! Kathleen

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