How to change the default font back FROM Edwin

• Nov 19, 2021 - 02:39

Hello everyone,
I updated to 3.6 a while ago like a lot of people, and mostly enjoyed the new features so far BUT I really hate the font Edwin! I tried to like it but I really just can't take it anymore.
At the moment I am manually correcting all the fonts back to FreeSerif or FreeSans which I always have preferred because they are so clear and not so wide. But this can get pretty tedious as some texts are not formatted the same; as you know, some are lyrics, some are titles, part names, stave texts etc. M

My question is, is there a way to change back the default font so I can customise the way I want?
Would be great help if anyone knows!

Best regards


Assuming you are changing the fonts in Format / Style / text Styles, now simply save your score to your tzempaltes folder, and now it's available next time you create a score. And/or use Format / Save Style to create a "style file" you can load into existing scores, or even set as the default style for new scores, via Edit / Preferences / Score.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Right. So maybe I'm missing something, but you've set FreeSerif to be font fo all your text style (in Format Style / Text Styles), then used Format / Save Style to save that as an MSS file, then specify that MSS file as your default in Edit / Preferences / Score, in what way is that not the complete solution?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

This seems to require resetting from Edwin about 50 separate times (Title, Subtitle, ... to Palm Mute and beyond). And even when I've done the relevant ones, I find some text in a style specifying Free Serif is actually still Edwin (and says so in the window below the navigator, although the Inspector window says Free Serif, confusing to simple-minded users like me; I never know when I have succeeded). If it is because I had already modified that text in some way, that contributes to the problem.
I began a score for WW4 ( Bartok For Children Book 1 WW4.mscz attached) in all innocence. I noticed the text style was different, but assumed there would be a reasonable way to fix it. Even after reading several threads, I can't find one.
1. What should I have done initially? I don't really want to get involved in templates. I work for a variety of instrumental combinations.
2. What can I do now? I already have other scores in the same series (for 2 and 3 woodwinds) whose style I want to match.
3. What can I do to avoid Edwin in future? To be honest, I don't like it anyway, and I believe Free Serif provides more readability per square inch. Simpler is better: scores are often read under less than ideal conditions and/or by people with poor or ossified eyes.
Btw, you talked of portability--fonts recognized elsewhere--but my usual word processor (LibreOffice) doesn't recognize Edwin.
Many thanks for any help.

In reply to by jwpratt

As explained in my first response above (, simply do the job once then use Format / Save Style to save this as an MSS file. You can then load that into an existing score or specify that as your preferred default for new scores, in Edit / Preferences / Score. An easier method could be to simply take a default score, Save Style, then edit the style in your favorite text editor and do a global search/replace.

The issue with portability, BTW, is only between MuseScore installations. Fonts other than those provided by MuseScore won't be usable by other MuseScore users. But if you are more concerned about use in other applications on your own system than with use by other MuseScore users on their systems, indeed, that's not a concern. And in any case, FreeSerif at least succeeds on both counts - it's only choices not provided by MuseScore that are problematic cross-system. BTW, note you can easily download and install Edwin for use system-wide if you wanted to.

As for the subjective issue of which font is easier to read, I think it's a mistake to assume that the font you personally find easier is the one others would as well. Which is to say, I wouldn't make the decision for your readers based only on your own subjective perceptions. Edwin is based directly on Century Schoolbook which is an extremely well-regarded font in the industry from everything I hear. FreeSerif not so much. I'd be surprised if any studies actually showed FreeSerif to be objectively easier to read, but it would certainly be interesting to see any results.

On the other hand, objective considerations like relative height/width are definitely ones to think about. Edwin does indeed take something like 20% more horizontal space than FreeSerif at any given point size, and also about 10% more vertical space (these numbers are just guesstimates). So if you select a point size that is 10% less than you would otherwise choose when using Edwin, you more or less match the vertical height, but it still takes about 10% more horizontal space. To me, this extra horizontal space does help make Edwin somewhat easier to read, but again, as noted, it's subjective, and size is hardly the only factor in readability. And taking less horizontal space for a given height is usually a plus when it comes to music specifically, so that's a vote in favor of FreeSerif.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thank you. If I understand right, your first suggestion is not just to edit the style as it appears on my screen in MS 3.6, but to put it into a word processor, edit it there, and then return it to to MS 3.6. That seems to be modifying software way beyond anything I have done. I'll try it if necessary, but I tried your other suggestion instead. I saved the style of another score, which avoided Edwin, and applied it, but I still got some text that says it is Free Serif in the Inspector but Edwin above the Navigator when I double click on it. It also made two pages run over, but perhaps that sort of thing is inevitable.

I am not concerned with portability except between versions of MuseScore (where I have had big problems). It was only that I didn't understand your remark.

I have already experienced problems with the extra width of Edwin at the same apparent size, and they are of a type that would occur often. I haven't done tests of Edwin vs FreeSerif. I'd be interested to hear what the MuseScore crew did in the context of actual scores. I did once test Bahnschrift vs several other things, including something like Times New Roman, when all my friends were telling me how much easier the latter was to read. A small test on only one other subject, but it left no doubt that Bahnschrift won hands down. My take is that, if you're a fan of serifs, you may reasonably prefer them when skimming something easy to read with your eyesight, but something on the edge of readability is another matter. Btw, if Edwin is 20% wider and 10% higher than (say) FreeSerif, it is not relevant to compare them at the same point size. On my screen, a title in FreeSerif 18 is 10% narrower than Edwin 17, about the same height, and I can read it from further away (about 2' when the page width is 7.5", very roughly).

Thanks again.

In reply to by jwpratt

No, my first suggestion is to make the change by laboriously changing each of the text styles then doing the Save Style. But as you yourself noted, that's a lot of work. So that's why I gave an alternative of saving a default style then editing it in a text editor - it's far easier. It's not modifying the software in any way at all, it's just a much simpler way of getting the MSS file to contain the Infomation you want. But either method produces exactly the same result.

Anyhow, if you have a score that still shows Edwin even after you loaded your customizing MSS file into it, then probably either you missed a style setting, or that text was explicitly set (by you or someone else who edited the score) to override the style setting. Although I think it is still the case that text within lines (eg, the volta numbers) do not update automatically upon loading a style file and you might have to hit the Reset button next to the font setting for those.

And yes, since Edwin is taller at the same point size, one wouldn't normally compare them that way. That's why I specifically mentioned selecting a point 10% less than you otherwise would. And indeed, we did that in choosing the default sizes. The old default sizes for FreeSerif called for larger point sizes in most cases than the new defaults for Edwin, specifically for this reason.

As for why it was decided to create a font based on Century Schoolbook in the first place, I'm pretty sure it wasn't due to a specific readability test. It was due to a) tons of complaints over the years of people saying FreeSerif was (subjectively) ugly, b) objective knowledge that many major publishers use Century Schoolbook and c) a desire to have more "professional-looking" defaults. Together, these three factors made Century Schoolbook the natural starting point for a new default font.

Anyhow, if you continue to have trouble, just attach your file(s) so we can understand and assist better. In particular, if you attach your MSS file, we can easily see if you missed a setting. But then, as mentioned, so can you, by simply loading the file into your favorite text editor and doing a search for "Edwin".

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Attached are a file (3.6r5) which has the features I want and a file (WW4x) which resulted from my attempt to save the style of the former and apply it to the previous version of the latter (which I sent before). Also attached is the MSS file applied to WW4x, I believe. There are certainly lots of Edwins still in it, but I don't think they explain my problem. In my MS3.6, WW4x says the staff, system, and dynamics styles are all FreeSerif, yet the text after the very first p is Edwin. I re-entered the text in the line below and got FreeSerif. Copying the top line to the lower two instruments also gave Edwin after the p. I am curious what is going on, and how best to correct later similar problems in this score and be sure I have found them all. I am also concerned how best to proceed in 3.6 and how to avoid changes in future versions if I don't like them or I want to continue earlier styles. Fwiw, I also repeated the subtitle in Edwin and I still prefer FreeSerif there and everywhere I have tried Edwin. Put me down for as many pounds of complaint as I'm allowed.

I understand that editing the MSS file is not modifying the software, but it is modifying a response to the software in a way one doesn't normally. I find the file unreadable (though some people consider me rather mathy and perhaps even nerdy), so I would have to do it blindly. Global changes make me nervous even in something as transparent as a MS score, and in a file like that, who knows what dangers lurk off screen?

In reply to by jwpratt

FWIW, there are exactly two occurrences of the string "Edwin" in that MSS file - one for mmrest range, one for system text lines. Both are new features in 3.5 or 3.6 I think. The format is XML, so very much like HTML, and literally all you need to do is change those two occurrences; I promise you're not likely to mess it up!

Anyhow, yes, the dynamics you customzied has mixed font use, so that is what caused it to get registered as being locked into your custom mixed fonts and thus not respoind to the style change. And since the "p" is not actually part of Edwin or FreeSerif - it comes from your musical symbols font - you can't simply hit the reset buttons to fix it. Well, you can, but then you'll need to to re-enter the "p" (Ctrl+Shift+P enters the special dynamics "p"). You'd have to do that for all similar mixed-font texts.

FWIW, another approach would be to save as MSCX then edit that with a text editor and similarly change all Edwin's to FreeSerif's, but I diubt you'll like that idea any better than editing MSS files. It should work just fine, people do it all the time, and in fact we go out of our way to make sure score files are editable as plain text.

As for the future, that's tough to predict. Doing thwt I suggested to make your default font FreeSerif will certainly work for future 3.6 scores, but for any scores you created using Edwin already, there will be these extra couple of minutes to correct those few mixed-font texts. I imagine the same would likely be true for MuseScore or any other version - if you take the proper steps before creating the score, all is well, but if you create it with the new defaults then change your mind and wish to change back, it might take a minute.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thank you again. I guess I understand that as well as I need to, though I admit I don't understand how there can be only two Edwin's in a file listing my preferences for about 50 types of text. As far as I know, this is the only score I have created since Edwin took over, and I think I'll be able to correct it in MS 3.6 without going by way of text editors, though perhaps I should get acquainted with using text editors on MS files. I do have the feeling that my dynamics are now doubly italic. Do you have any thoughts about that?

In reply to by jwpratt

Your MSS file listed FreeSerif 55 times, Edwin twice.

I'm not sure what you mean about "doubly italic", but I guess you mean the dynamic symbols themselves, not the additional text. The standard dynamic symbols have a sort of italic look built into them. The rest of the text should already be set by default to ordinary italics. It's certainly possibly to edit yourself into a state where you incorrectly apply ordinary italics even to the dynamics symbols. So, don't do that :-). Might be best to just start over with those, it normally works correctly out of the box.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Yup. I've eliminated that, but the dynamic symbols still look a little smaller and less bold than in my previous score even though everything I can find says they are the same, including any overriding, assuming that appears in the window above the navigator when the symbol is highlighted. Are the dynamic symbols themselves now different?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

You got it! That probably explains also why, when I copy a dynamic letter from a (quite recent) file to a current file and back again, it changes. I have to wonder whether the advantages of Leland over Emmentaler, whatever they are, outweigh the disadvantages of this kind of change in mid-version. For instance, as it happens, I am on the 4th volume of a probably 6-volume set, and I really would like them to match, even if they are of more than usually revolting sentimentality.

There's even a ready-made style file, "legacy-style-defaults-v3.mss", on Windows you'd find it in C:\Program Files\MuseScore 3\styles
You may want to change Emmentaler to Leland though, and also some other 'legacy' settings to the new 3.6 ones.

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