page layout large vs small notes

• Jul 26, 2015 - 12:12

I'm trying to adjust the page layout to print a score onto paper. When I adjust the space between the staffs, the notes seem to get bigger. In this case they are excessively big.

Is there a way to shrink the notes and staffs without making the staffs closer together?

Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 13.05.48.png

The score I'm printing will fit onto one page if I squish everthing close together. But if the staffs are two close it is confusing whether the hairpins and dynamic markings are for the staff above or below the marks.

I want to equally distribute it about two pages, with extra space between the staffs, but I don't want the notes excessively large.

I'm also attaching the score.

Attachment Size
Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 13.05.48.png 134.4 KB
andante-Oboe.mscz 46.83 KB


>> I'm trying to adjust the page layout to print a score onto paper. When I adjust the space between the staffs, the notes seem to get bigger. In this case they are excessively big.

In that screenshot, you are actually in "Layout"->"Page Settings" and that parameter named "Staff space" which you are adjusting does not represent the distance between staffs, but rather represents the distance between lines in a staff.

>> Is there a way to shrink the notes and staffs without making the staffs closer together?

If you go to "Style"->"General"->"Page", you can decrease and increase minimum and maximum "System Distance", in addition to decreasing "Staff space" as you have done earlier. But I don't know a way of doing both at the same time.

In reply to by jim.newton.562

I think "Staff space" is too vague. I would prefer precise wording. By itself, all that "Staff Space" means a priori is space associated with staffs. I would prefer it to be called something unambiguous like "Distance between lines of a staff". (I would be afriad to even call it "Distance between staff lines", since "staff lines" could refer to one page width of a staff). (I would also be afraid to call it "note head thicknesses", because "note head thickness" is something that could be adjusted independently of "distance between lines of a staff").

In reply to by jim.newton.562

FWIW, the 1.3 name was just "Space", so "Staff Space" is a considerable improvement :-). And notice the section is called "Scaling". That plus the tooltip is not so bad. Realistically, there is no getting around needing to spend some time with the documentation - Handbook, videos, my book :-), etc - to familiarize yourself with how things work.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I'm thinking maybe the problem lies with how far apart the word "Staff space" is from "Scaling". Here is original screenshot:
And here I've compacted that Scaling subcomponent so that "Staff space" is much closer to "Scaling" and so that it is also right justified so that it more clearly communicates that "Staff space" is a paremeter of "Scaling":
I think that would more effectively communcate that "Staff space" is a type of scaling. Having staff space be so far away makes it isolated and visually seem like its own parameter. I don't see other sub-parameters be so far apart from parent parameter.

In reply to by ericfontainejazz

Both are in the same box and the indentation IMHO documents the dependency. On top the tooltip and the handbook, so I really fail to see your point here.
Also this layout comes from Qt and, esp. the indentation, is used for other elements too, even in the same dialog, see Page Size vs. Width and Height.
Making the box smaller might be an option.

In reply to by ericfontainejazz

I think that Marc S. already gave some very valuable advice for first-time users: "Realistically, there is no getting around needing to spend some time with the documentation - Handbook, videos, my book :-), etc - to familiarize yourself with how things work."

Even eventual power users of a given software have to walk before they run.

Or ... if 'Staff space' is seriously deemed not explicit enough, we might revive consideration of the term 'Spatium' instead - but I would expect it to be even less of a crowd-pleaser. :-)

In reply to by ericfontainejazz

The code is mscore/pagesettings.ui. If you use QtCreator, this will automatically load into QtDesigner so you don't have to figure stuff out by hand.

Looks like what is happening is that the size of the groupbox expands with the size of the dialog. Expand / contract the dialog to see. In general, you have to design dialog boxes to handle all sorts of different screen resolutions and font sizes, so you can't simply set fixed sizes. Probably there should be a vertical spacer below that whole column, so that all the controls there stays the same size and position and the box just grows with empty space below. Probably other configurations would be possible - like placing chanigng the size policy for the groubox in question. I'm kind still in the trial-and-error stage with this stuff.

Eric, want to give it a shot?

In reply to by Isaac Weiss

ok...I did is small view:


here is streched view:


I think maybe it needs a space between "Page Size" & "Scaling" in addition to between "Scaling" and "first page number" if going that route, so it looks spaced out when stretched.

(I also had put a vertical pacer under preview, but now I'm regretting even trying that, so I'll revert that)

In reply to by ericfontainejazz

ok, so here I've added additional space between Page Size & Scaling. Here's small view:


here's stretched:


I'm personally content either way, as I'm satisfied as long as the Scaling box is tight and has (sp) in it. I think my favorite is marc's suggestion of just vertical spacer below first column.

In reply to by ericfontainejazz

I think you misunderstood my suggestion. When I said below the first column, I meant *all the way* below - in other words, you add the spacer just below the nameless layout element containing mm & inch. So the content of the box never changes as the box expands, except the add empty space between the content and the buttons ont he bottom. A spacer should be added below the second colums (the Printable Area groupbox) as well.

My suggestion is more consistent with how most other dialogs in MuseScore work, but it is admittedly not very consistent. See, though, Style / General, the main Score tab. On the other hand, see the Hairpins, Volta, Ottava tab.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

My favorite (except for the right column with the preview) is the one where "Page Size" and "Scaling" are close together at the top and "First page number" is at the bottom (…). But now I'm noticing other things. Why is "First page number" in such close proximity to "mm/inch"? Why is neither of them surrounded by one of those boxes? Perhaps there should be just one spacer in the left column, and it should be between "First page number" and "mm/inch".

In reply to by Isaac Weiss

As I mentioned in another response, I can't see any reason to artifically force some controls to the bottom of the dialog while keeping others at the top.

But you are right that the First page number and the mm/inch control are odd. They are not placed within a groupbox, I guess because they aren't actually logically a group, and creating a group for just a single control feels odd.

It's not fun, but at some point someone might want to organize an effort to devise a set of style guidelines (or borrow ones from elsewhere) and then go through *all* our dialogs boxes and try to make them consistent. They are, unfortunately, kind of all over the map right now. In the process, we'd want to make sure all have logical tab order. At various times we have gone through and done that, but it's hard to maintain as new controls get added or existing ones rearranged as part of efforts like this one. We should also at some point make an effort to make sure all controls have a valid "accessibleName", and also try to get more consistent use of toolTip, whatsThis, accessibleDescription, etc.

In reply to by ericfontainejazz

Yes, you are right, I guess I saw the wrong screenshot.

I am not aware of any GUI guidelines that would recommend insert space iun the middle of a dialog when stretched. Which is to say, I am pretty sure the suggest of adding the spacer between Sacling and First page number would vioalte most guidelines, and I can't see any reason for this. Either adding space uniformly between elements or adding it at the bottom only would be the standard behaviors. I don't think we should go about inventing our own standards or trying to finesse the specific amount of space between controls to look on our particular monitors with our particular font settings. We should create the elements simply and directly and trust Qt to manage them.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

>> A spacer should be added below the second colums (the Printable Area groupbox) as well.

Ok. I believe I have done that here, with spacer at bottom of 1st and 2nd columns:


and when stretched:


I'm going to submit this one as a pull request...

In reply to by [DELETED] 5

I like that vertical layout better, as well.

There was one alternative I want to suggest: remove the Preview box from the page settings window entirely. Instead have the "Navigator" panel temporary be enabled (if not already enabled) when user modify these page settings, and always render changes made when editing page settings be reflected in the navigator panel and also the full score view. The reason I suggest this is because the Preview box is essentially duplicating what the "Navigator" panel does, but does an inferior job at displaying, because the navigator panel is naturally able to display a much wider horizontal range (since it fills the bottom of the musescore window).

One question is whether this is going to cause an unacceptable amount of lag for user. But note that the mobile app is able to almost instantaneously re-render the score when press the zoom in/out button or transpose buttons, even though on weaker hardware. It would be nice for desktop app to instantly re-render as well. But I do notice, especially on weaker labtops, that layout can take some time to re-render. (One techincal detail I'm not aware of without looking at the code is whether or not the preview box is executing the same Layout instructions that would need to be executed full score view, but if indeed the preview costs the same amount as the full score view re-render, then I would suggest to go ahead and update the full-score view when any settings is changed).

To make this behavior consistent with modifying other settings in Edit->Style, I would suggest possibly also having the displayed score be updated when editing any of those settings as well. Note that those other settings in Edit->Style don't have a preview panel (but I think all setting modification popups should at least be mutually consistent).

Of course should revert render display if user presses "Cancel". My suggestion also means could get rid of the "Apply" button, since the changes are automatically applied (at least temporarily) when user would change any setting).

In reply to by ericfontainejazz

If we used the Navigator, then you'd have to carefully position the dialog to see the Navigator - assuming you even realized there was something there to see. Besides, you can always widen the dialog if you want to see more preview pages.

So I say, go with the vertical layout. if the version shown above is taller than our current minimum screen resolution, it coud always be modified slight, putting the two "orphans" in a third column in the top row.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

>> you'd have to carefully position

ok. Note: "Layout->Page Settings" and "Styles->Text" popup dialog seems to always open in the middle of screen (at least in windows 8.1 I'm looking at now), while "Styles->General" seem to always open in middle of the musescore *window*. It would be nice to be mutually consistent here. If alway open in middle of musescore window, then a middle popup wouldn't cover the navigator (unless user has a really really small musescore window or screen, or a very tall Navigator).

>> you can always widen the dialog

ok. But again note that none of the Styles-> have a preview box or scroll-bars (except when listing text).

In reply to by ericfontainejazz

I've been building some ideas for reorganizing a few things, and one of the ideas is to merge Page Settings into the General Style dialog—because, after all, "Save Style" and "Load Style" includes the information in Page Settings. This is based on a whole scheme that includes merging the Layout and Style menus into a single Format menu that I'm not prepared to explain all of right now, but I'm just putting that tidbit out there for consideration. I know it's different from the way it's always been done, but weigh the pros and cons—merging Page Settings into General Style. Think about it seriously.

In reply to by [DELETED] 5

Looks like something important got lost in the confusion—both the "Even Page Margins" and "Odd Page Margins" sections were surrounded by a "Printable Area" box before. That's the essential thing about these particular margin settings—like the staff space setting, everything else is based on them.

For example, the positions of headers and footers, as determined by their text styles, are first based on the "Printable Area" margins. Without the distinctive "Printable Area" information being pointed out, people might not realize how different this setting is from "Music top margin" and "Music bottom margin" in Style -> General… -> Page—which are likewise calculated on top of the "Printable Area" margins.

In reply to by Isaac Weiss

The fact that it is in a separate dialog seems like it makes that at least as clear. While I agree that none of this stuff is particularly obvious to a first time user, I don't see how the words "Printable area" - which are not references anywhere else - help at all. People either know what margins in a p"Page Settings" dialog are or they don't.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Well, there must have been some reason the label was there in the first place. Also, remember that I'm putting together a scheme for merging Page Settings into the General Style dialog, with some hopefully very convincing reasons for doing so, and at that point it's definitely going to be important to make the distinction.

In reply to by Isaac Weiss

I can see reasons for trying to combine these dialogs, but still, I'd expect page layout to be on a different page/tab of the dialog. And unless you are also changing the wording of other elements to make clear that they are relative tyo this "Printable area" concept that right now is just a meaningless label, I still don't see how it would make any difference to have that label or not. But I look forward to seeing your proposal!

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

In addition to the Scaling title and the tool tip there is also the default value of 1.7xx mm. What else could that be but the distance between two lines? At least for non-Americans, who have an idea how much a millimeter is. Maybe I should mention that noteheads, clefs, accidentals etc. get scaled up or down in sync with the "staff distance"--as the title "scaling" implies.
I used the feature for the first time a short while ago and had no problem guessing correctly.

Maybe more important for less experienced users is this: There is "page layout" and there is "style", in this case "style>general>page". Between these two you can do an awful lot of adjustments to your formatting and layout.

One thing that might make it clearer is that if both controls were side by side.
I.e., the way to (1) control staff to staff space, and (2) control line to line space within a staff.
It is not clear to me why one needs to be on the "Layout"->"Page Settings", and the other unintuitively on the "Style"->"General"->"Page".

This would make it clear that they are two different settings, and you can control which ever one you want, or both.

In reply to by jim.newton.562

>> It is not clear to me why one needs to be on the "Layout"->"Page Settings", and the other unintuitively on the "Style"->"General"->"Page".

I found it odd at first, but now I understand the logic:

  • Everything in "Layout"->"Page Settings" is defined in terms of real life distances of millimeters or inches, including how big the space between lines of a staff is in a real physical viewing medium.
  • Everything in "Style"->"General"->"Page" (and everything else in "Style"->"General") is defined in terms of the unit of "sp" (the space between lines of a staff), and so is independent of the actual physical viewing medium.

(Now that I'm looking at the abbreviation of "sp", I'm thinking maybe the text in question "Staff Space:" should be written as "Staff Space (sp):" since the box is defining the value of the entity "sp" which is not defined elsewhere in the program).

In reply to by Isaac Weiss

I noticed though that they adjust together, at least for the right / left margins: You set the even pages. Then the odd pages will automatically use the left margin from "even" as the right margin and the other way round. I don't quite understand why the bottom margin (and top?) doesn't adjust too; I can't imagine a situation where you want 20 mm bottom margin on odd pages and 15mm on even pages.

In reply to by azumbrunn

>> "I can't imagine a situation where you want 20 mm bottom margin on odd pages and 15mm on even pages."

I can imagine a situation if your spine is horizontal:


OR maybe you'd want to have your notes on A3 paper, but you're only able to print in A4 paper, so what you do is tape together every odd & even landscape-mode A4 pages to create a giant A3 page! e.g.

[A4 odd-page with 0 mm bottom margin]
[A4 even-page with 0 mm upper margin]

Because you have that many notes!!! (I've seen these things done...especially when have a big stand but can't afford to turn your page!)

In reply to by azumbrunn

It's actually reaosnably common in real life to have different headers or footers for odd versus even pages, and these might potentially require different margins. So, I'd say it makes sense to provide this capability. It's easy enough to make the margins the same if you like, but no need to prevent people from making them different if they want.

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