Copy and paste

    MuseScore supports standard copy, cut, paste and (from version 2.1) swap with clipboard operations. These commands can be applied to a range of:

    • Musical notes: e.g. to repeat a section of music, or shift a passage by a beat or a measure.
    • Other score elements: such as articulations, staff text, dynamics, fingering etc.

    Note: Linky cannot be copied, but they can be duplicated (see →below).

    Before carrying out a copy, cut, paste or swap procedure, you should be in "normal" mode: i.e. not note input or edit modes. Press the Esc key to exit into "normal" mode.

    Summary of commands

    Command Kbd Shortcut (Win) Kbd Shortcut (Mac) Right-click menu Main menu
    Cut Ctrl+X +X Cut Edit → Cut
    Copy Ctrl+C +C Copy Edit → Copy
    Paste Ctrl+V +V Paste Edit → Paste
    Swap with clipboard Ctrl+Shift+X +Shift+X Swap with Clipboard Edit → Swap with clipboard

    Note: The "right-click menu" option should be applied on the selected element or range of elements.


    You can cut, copy, paste or swap a passage of music or a single chord as follows:

    Copy or cut

    To copy/cut a single chord

    1. Hold down Shift and click on a note in the chord.
    2. Apply a Copy or Cut option (see table above).

    To copy/cut a range of chords

    1. Click on the first note or measure that you want to select.
    2. Shift+Click on the last note or measure that you want to select. A blue rectangle highlights the region you selected.
    3. Apply a Copy or Cut option (see table above).


    1. Click on the note or measure where you want your pasted selection to begin.
    2. Apply a Paste option (see table above).

    Swap with Clipboard

    Available from version 2.1 onwards, the swap with clipboard operation combines two commands into one: (1) First it overwrites a selected part of the score with the contents of the clipboard, just like the paste command; (2) Secondly, it transfers the overwritten part of the score back to the clipboard, just like the copy command.

    It can be used, for example, to swap two equal-length sections of a score, A and B:

    1. Select section A, then apply the cut command;
    2. Clear the selection (by pressing Esc or clicking on a blank area of the document window);
    3. Press Shift and click on a note at the start of section B. Or, if B begins at the start of a measure, you can also simply select the measure;
    4. Apply a Swap with clipboard option (see table above).
    5. Section B is now in the clipboard. Paste it back to the blank area of score left by step "1."

    Copy pitch of a single note only

    It is possible to copy the pitch of a note only (and no other properties), by clicking on the notehead and applying the standard copy and paste, or copy and swap procedure. The pitch of the destination note changes to match that of the copied note but the duration remains the same.

    Other elements

    Other score elements (such as staff text, dynamics, fingering, chord diagrams etc.) can be cut, copied and pasted one at a time. Articulations (sforzato, staccato etc.), in addition, allow multiple selection.

    Copy or cut

    1. Select the element (or elements).
    2. Apply a Copy or Cut option (see table above).


    1. Click on the note where you want your pasted selection to begin.
    2. Apply one of the Paste options (see table above).

    In the case of articulations, they are pasted to the destination notes in exactly the same order (continuous or intermittent) as they were in the initial selection.

    Swap with Clipboard

    Swap with clipboard is intended to be used with sections of music rather than individual elements. The use of this command with individual elements is not recommended because the results are not normally what you would expect.

    Quick repeat

    To quickly copy and paste a note, measure, or passage:

    1. Select a chord, measure, or passage as described above.
    2. Press R .

    MuseScore copies and pastes the selected notation to a point immediately after the last note in the selection. Any existing music in the destination range is replaced.


    To instantaneously copy and paste a text element, line, or other object:

    1. Hold down Ctrl+Shift (Mac: +Shift), click on the element and drag it anywhere in the score.
    2. Release the mouse button, and the selected element is cloned to the new location.

    Selection filter

    It is possible to use a filter before copying a selection, to choose exactly what is going to be copied and then pasted.

    1. Enable the Selection Filter with F6 (Mac: fn+F6), or via ViewSelection Filter

      The Selection Filter will appear by default below the Palettes. It can be undocked and made into a floating window, and if that window is dragged directly onto the Palettes, or the Inspector, then both will be accessible in the same space via a tab at the bottom.

    2. Uncheck the boxes in the Selection Filter for things you don't want copied
      Example: Articulations and Slurs are unchecked.

      Selection filter, Articulations and Slurs unchecked

    3. Copy and paste as before
      (in the example, copy measure 4 and 5 and paste into measure 12 and 13)

    4. See the result. Slurs haven't been copied:

      Result of copy and paste

    5. The selection filter can be used for the swap with clipboard command also. Before the swap to clipboard command, select the items you would like copied from the destination to the clipboard. They will be copied just as with the copy command. The selection filter does not affect what is pasted while using the swap with clipboard command. The entire destination is always replaced by the contents of the clipboard, rather changing the selection filter prior to using the swap with clipboard will affect what is copied to the clipboard.

    See also

    If you want to change notes without altering the rhythm, you may combine transposition or re-pitch mode with copy and paste.