Changing icon size, text size, or UI scaling

• created 3 weeks ago • last updated 3 weeks ago

    If the icons or text in MuseScore's toolbars, menus and panels seem too small or too large, or if you are having trouble fitting everything on the screen, then you might need to change the application's UI scaling.

    "UI" stands for "User Interface". It refers to the layout and appearance of icons and text displayed in the program's dialogs, menus, and panels (Palettes, Inspector, etc.). Basically it refers to everything except the actual music notation displayed in the score.

    Toolbar icons and UI text

    If the scaling problem affects the icons in toolbars at the top of the screen, or text anywhere in the UI, you can fix it as follows:

    1. In MuseScore, go to Edit > Preferences > General tab.
    2. Find the section called "Appearance" on the right hand side of the dialog.
    3. Change the "Icon width", "Icon height" and "Font size" as appropriate and press "Apply" to see the changes.
    4. Keep changing the values until they are suitable. The default values are: "Icon width: 28px", "Icon height: 28px" and "Font size: 9pt"

    Palette icons

    If the scaling problem affects the Palettes on the left of the screen, you can fix it as follows:

    1. In MuseScore, go to Edit > Preferences > Advanced tab.
    2. Search for the preference called "application/paletteScale" (use the searchbox at the bottom of the dialog).
    3. The default paletteScale is 1.0, but you can try setting it to 0.5 or 2.0 or any other value.
    4. Quit MuseScore and launch it again to see the change.
    5. Keep editing the paletteScale and relaunching until you find the right value.

    Overall UI

    If the scaling problem affects multiple areas of the application's UI (User Interface) then you must use either the '-x' (scale) or the '-D' (DPI) command line option. If you have edited any of the above settings (icon width, icon height, font size, or paletteScale) then you should restore them to their default values before you try to adjust the overall UI scaling via the command line option.

    The steps to set command line options are different on each platform.

    Windows 10

    1. Quit MuseScore if it is currently running.
    2. Go to Start menu and search for "MuseScore", but don't run it.
    3. Right-click on MuseScore's icon in the Start menu and choose "Open file location".
    4. You should see MuseScore's shorcut in File Explorer. Right-click on it and choose "Properties".
    5. This will bring up a dialog that includes something like this:

    Target: "C:\Program Files\MuseScore 3\bin\MuseScore3.exe"

    The file path might be slightly different to the one shown here, but that's OK. Don't try to change it!

    1. You need to add either a '-x' or '-D' flag to the end of the target, followed by a number. For example:

    Target: "C:\Program Files\MuseScore 3\bin\MuseScore3.exe" -x 2.0

    or

    Target: "C:\Program Files\MuseScore 3\bin\MuseScore3.exe" -D 150

    See About the '-x' and '-D' options below.

    Don't change the file path even if it is different to the one shown here: just add the flag and number outside the quotation marks, separated by spaces. You can always come back and change the number later on if necessary, or even delete the number and flag to go back to the default settings.

    1. Having set your target, press "Apply" and "OK" to dismiss the Properties dialog, but keep the File Exporer window open.
    2. Double-click the MuseScore shortcut to launch the program with the new setting applied.
    3. If the new setting doesn't look good, quit MuseScore and open the shortcut's Properties dialog again to try a different setting.
    4. Keep trying different values for '-x' or '-D' until you find one that works for you.

    Once happy with the settings, you can close File Explorer and launch MuseScore via the Start menu as usual and the new setting should be applied. If for some reason the setting is not applied when you launch via the Start menu, but it worked when you double-clicked the shortcut in File Explorer, then you could create a copy of the shortcut on your desktop and launch MuseScore that way instead of via the Start menu.

    About the -x and -D command line options

    • '-x' is a relative adjustment to UI scaling. Setting '-x 2.0' would tell MuseScore to scale the GUI to twice it's normal size.
    • '-D' is an absolute adjustment to UI scaling. Setting '-D 150' would tell MuseScore to scale the GUI as appropriate for a display with 150 "dots" (pixels) per inch.

    Tip: You can calculate the theoretically ideal DPI value by dividing the height of your screen in pixels by the height in inches. For example, if your screen has these properties:

    • Display size (inches): 12.5 x 8
    • Display size (pixels): 1920 x 1080

    In this case you would divide 1080 pixels by 8 inches to get 135 dots per inch.

    However, MuseScore tries to do this calculation itself, so you may want to use a different DPI value if you find it gives poor results. In that case you could try doubling or halving the calculated value, or using a different value entirely. If the default value is wrong then it could be because the monitor is reporting its size incorrectly.

    You might find that no single value for '-x' or '-D' works everywhere in the program. In that case you should use the value that looks best overall and then edit the individual Preferences for icon width, icon height, font size, and paletteScale within MuseScore, as explained at the start of this tutorial.

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