MuseScore 4 supports the following screen readers on each operating system:
Speech with JAWS is mostly working, but the output is not as complete as it is with Narrator or NVDA.
If screen reader speech output stops working for you at any time, try pressing Alt+F to focus the File menu, then press Esc twice to return to where you were in the app, at which point speech should work again as normal. It can be necessary to do this if you start the screen reader after MuseScore is already running, for example.
VoiceOver's Quick Nav mode must be turned off while using MuseScore 4. You can toggle Quick Nav on or off by pressing the Left and Right arrow keys simultaneously while VoiceOver is running, or you can disable Quick Nav from within VoiceOver Utility > Commanders.
MuseScore's interface is navigable with the tab cursor and with VoiceOver's own cursor. In general it's best to use the tab cursor because this matches the interface on other platforms, and as such is the interface described in most documentation and tutorials. VoiceOver's cursor can be used to reach areas of the application that are not yet accessible via the tab cursor. When using the tab cursor, remember to use the arrow keys as well as Tab for navigation (see Navigating the UI).
On Linux it is necessary to start the screen reader running before you launch MuseScore, otherwise accessibility features will be disabled to save system resources. If you forget to do this, simply exit MuseScore and launch it again. The same is true of all Linux applications built on the Qt framework.
Orca is the most feature-complete screen reader available for Linux. Orca is built into the GNOME desktop environment, so it is recommended that Linux users with accessibility needs use a distribution based on GNOME or one of its derivatives.
Keyboard navigation in MuseScore 4's user interface (UI) relies on the arrow keys in addition to the tab key. Press the tab key to cycle through each control group, then use the arrow keys to navigate to individual controls within the group. This new system of navigation allows you to navigate to anywhere in the interface with far fewer keypresses than if the tab key was used to access every individual control, as is commonly the case in other applications, including previous versions of MuseScore. The new navigation system is still being refined, and feedback is welcome in the Development Forum.
In addition to the arrow keys and tab, there is a new F6 shortcut that will take you between different panels within the program. Here is how the navigation shortcuts work together to create a hierarchical system of navigation:
Up, Down, Left and Right arrow keys: Move focus from one control to the next within a control group (e.g. navigate between buttons in a toolbar).
Tab and Shift+Tab: Move focus out of one control group and into the next one (e.g. navigate between toolbars).
F6 and Shift+F6: Move focus between panels and large sections of the UI (e.g. navigate from toolbars to the Palettes or notation view).
By default, the grave accent key ` (sometimes called "backtick") can be used as an alternative to F6 for navigation between panels. Grave accent is found above the Tab key on most QWERTY keyboards. If it's not there on your keyboard, consider changing this shortcut in Preferences to set it to whatever key is above Tab on your keyboard, as it can be convenient to have the navigation keys located close to each other.
Once you have navigated to a button or control, in most cases it can be activated by pressing the Spacebar, Enter or Return key. Within lists and other item views, Spacebar is often used to select items rather than to activate them. Once selected, certain items can be deleted by pressing the Delete key, or modified by tabbing to other UI controls that become active once something has been selected. For example, this approach can be used within the Instruments panel to remove instruments that you have previously added to the score.
Navigation within the score (i.e. inside the "Notation view") is much the same as it was in MuseScore 3. Here are the shortcuts that are of particular value to accessibility users:
|Alt+Right and Alt+Left||Move to next or previous element. These shortcuts enable you to visit all kinds of notation elements, not just notes and rests.|
|Alt+Up and Alt+Down||Move to note above or below. These shortcuts enable you to move between individual notes in a chord, and also to reach notes and rests in other voices and in other staves.|
|F2 or Alt+Shift+E||Edit selected element. This is the keyboard equivalent of double-clicking on an element with the mouse. It enables you to edit text objects, including lyrics, dynamics, and tempo markings. It also enables you to adjust the length of line elements such as hairpins, slurs, and voltas (use the Tab key to change which end of the line you are adjusting). When you are done editing, press Esc to return to Normal mode.|
Other aspects of keyboard navigation are described on pages throughout this handbook.
The following accessibility tutorials are designed to get you up and running with MuseScore, using your keyboard and screen reader. They don't cover every aspect of the program, but they should give you a solid foundation that will enable you can take full advantage of the rest of this Handbook.
|Installing MuseScore||This video covers the installation of MuseScore on Windows, including Muse Hub and Muse Sounds. The process is similar on macOS and Linux, although on Linux you need to install Muse Hub and MuseScore separately.|
|Score setup||This video covers the initial setup of your score, including choosing instruments and selecting the key and time signature and other settings.|
|Entering music||This video covers basic note input.|
|Adding markings||This video covers adding markings such as dynamics to your score, by using the palettes.|
|The user interface||This video walks through the main window of the program, so you can understand where all the different panels, toolbars, and controls are, and how to reach them by keyboard.|
The Menu bar in MuseScore 4 contains the following menus:
Keyboard users on Windows and Linux can access these menus by holding the Alt key and pressing a certain letter or number key, known as the mnemonic access key, that is displayed with an underline in the name of the menu item you are looking for. For example, press Alt+F for File followed by Alt+A for Save as. The letters 'F' and 'a' are underlined in the UI while the Alt key is held.
On macOS, MuseScore's menus are part of the system-wide menu bar, which you can navigate to by pressing Ctrl+F2.
Beneath the main menu are three tabs, the first of which is the Home tab. This tab contains the following sections:
Create a new MuseScore account, or login to your existing account. With an active account, you can get technical assistance and report bugs in the forums at musescore.org. You can also save your files to the cloud on musescore.com.
This section allows you to set up a new score, or to open an existing one. Learn about creating new scores in Setting up your score.
This window displays a list of available plugins. See the chapter on Plugins to learn about managing these useful add-ons.
This is where video tutorials are hosted. Clicking on any video tutorial opens it on the official MuseScore YouTube channel.
This area is where you do most of your work in MuseScore, including adding music notation and listening to the playback of your score. The workspace consists of several regions (numbered according to labels in the below diagram):
Keyboard users can use the Tab key or F6 to navigate between these UI regions via the keyboard. Within each region, navigation is performed with the arrow keys and Tab.
Almost all panels and toolbars can be un-docked and repositioned according to your project requirements and workflow preferences. Learn more about this in Workspaces.
This tab allows you to view your score without the clutter of the note input toolbar or sidebar panels. There are options to print the score, and to export it in a variety of image, audio and document formats. When your score is finished, you can also publish it to musescore.com.
In certain parts of the application, primarily in the Score tab, context menus are available with additional functionality, such as options to copy, edit, customise, delete, or view the properties of whatever item(s) were selected at the time you opened the menu.
Within the score, every element has a context menu. To open the context menu for a particular element, right-click on the element with the mouse, or select the element via the keyboard and press Shift+F10 (some PC keyboards also have a dedicated Menu key near to the right Ctrl key). The exact options available in the context menu can differ depending on the type of element you selected, so it is worth experimenting to find out what options are available for different kinds of elements. For example, when you right-click on an empty region within a measure the resulting context menu contains options for Staff/Part properties and Measure properties. This is currently the only way to get to those options and the dialogs they lead to.
Outside of the score, the presence of a context menu is often indicated by a small button with three dots, or by a settings cog. Press the button to open the menu. Sometimes the button is associated with another item in the vicinity, such as in the Palettes, where there is three-dots button for each palette. In this case you can right-click on the palette name, or select it with the keyboard and press the Shift+F10 or Menu key shortcut, as an alternative to using the three-dots button.
Scrollbars appear at the right-hand and bottom edges of the score view. Click and drag them to quickly move the score view up and down, or left and right. Scrollbars are usually hidden from view, but can be revealed by hovering over the edge of the score view with your mouse.
You can also scroll the score using the PgUp, PgDn, Home, and End keys on your keyboard. If your keyboard lacks dedicated keys for these functions, most systems will also allow you to access these functions by holding Fn or a similar key, then pressing Up, Down, Left, or Right respectively.
By themselves, PgUp and PgDn scroll one screenful at a time. This may be less than an actual page of your score. If you hold Ctrl (Mac: Cmd) while pressing PgUp or PgDn, it moves a full page at a time.
When a single element is selected in your score, it acts as a cursor. You can change the selection—and thus move the cursor—using common keyboard shortcuts.
The Left and Right keys will move horizontally through your score one note or rest at a time. If you hold Ctrl (Mac: Cmd) while pressing Left or Right, you can navigate a full measure at a time.
To move the cursor vertically through the various notes, voices, and staves in your score, use the shortcuts Alt+Up and Alt+Down (Mac: Option+Up and Option+Down).
You can also use the shortcuts Alt+Left and Alt+Right (Mac: Option+Left and Option+Right) to select elements other than notes or rests. These commands allow you select almost any elements—including articulations, barlines, hairpins, and more—using the keyboard alone.
In addition, Ctrl+Home (Mac: Cmd+Home) will select the first element in your score, and Ctrl+End (Mac: Cmd+End) will select the last element. Again, for keyboards that lack dedicated Home and End keys, most systems provide the alternative of Fn+Left and Fn+Right respectively.
See Default keyboard shortcuts to learn more.
The Navigator is a panel that displays thumbnails of score pages. To view or hide the Navigator, click View → Navigator.
The blue bounding box represents the area of the score currently in focus in the score view. Click on the box and drag it to move around your score.
A navigation aid that shows instruments and score structure. For details, see Timeline.
You can switch between different views of the score using the pop-up in the right-hand side of the status bar.
The score is shown as it will appear when printed or exported as a PDF or image file: that is, page by page, with margins. MuseScore applies system (line) and page breaks automatically, according to the settings made in Page settings and Style. In addition, you can apply your own system (line), page or section breaks.
The score is shown as one unbroken system. Even if the starting point is not in view, measure numbers, instrument names, clefs, time and key signatures will always be displayed on the left of the window.
The score is shown as a single page with a header but no margins, and with an infinite page height. System (line) breaks are added automatically, according to the settings made in Page settings and Style. In addition, you can apply your own system (line) or section breaks.
There are several ways to zoom the score in or out:
Ctrl++ (Mac: Cmd++)
or scroll up with the mouse scroll wheel while holding Ctrl (Mac: Cmd).
Ctrl+- (Mac: Cmd+-)
or scroll down with the mouse scroll wheel while holding Ctrl (Mac: Cmd).
To zoom in and out of your score from the Status bar controls:
This restores the zoom to the default (100%) level.
Ctrl+0 (Mac: Cmd+0)
The Find/Go to panel allows you to speedily navigate to a specific measure, rehearsal mark or page number in the score.
To show the panel:
To hide the panel:
Enter the measure number (counting every measure, starting with 1, irrespective of pickup measures, section breaks or manual changes to measure number offsets).
Enter the page number using the format pXX (where XX is the page number).
Enter the number using the format rXX (where XX is the number of the rehearsal mark).
Enter the name of the rehearsal mark (the search is not case sensitive).
Pro tip! It is best to avoid naming rehearsal marks with the single letters “R", “r", “P”, “p", or one of these letters with an integer (e.g. “R1” or “p3”), as this can confuse the search algorithm.
Timeline is a navigation aid that displays at the bottom of the program window, giving you an overview of the instruments and main structural elements measure-by-measure. You can easily move about the score by clicking on a measure or a structural element.
There are four parts to the timeline:
This is found in the top left corner of the timeline. These are the names of the meta rows.
This is found in the bottom left corner of the timeline. These are the names of the rows in the main grid.
This is found in the top right corner of the timeline. These hold the meta values of the score.
This is found in the bottom right corner of the timeline. This holds multiple 'cells' (a specific measure and staff in the score represented as a square)
Meta elements are those found in the score that are not notes, but are still important to the score—such as key signature, time signature, tempo, rehearsal marks, bar lines, and jumps and markers.
To select a measure in the timeline, press the mouse button on the cell. A blue box will appear around the selected cell and the respective measure in the score will be selected. The score view will place the selected measure in view.
Holding Shift and holding the left mouse button and dragging the mouse over the main grid will create a selection box. Upon releasing the mouse button, all the cells underneath the selection box will be selected, as well as all the measures in the score.
If a cell is already selected, holding Shift and selecting another cell in the timeline will stretch the selection to that new cell, similar to how the score does
If no cells are currently selected, holding Ctrl and selecting a cell will select the entire measure
To clear selection, holding Ctrl and clicking anywhere on the grid or the meta rows will clear any current selection.
Selecting the meta values on the timeline will attempt to select the respective meta values in the score.
Scrolling the mouse wheel up or down will move the grid and instrument labels down or up respectively. The meta labels and rows do not move.
Holding Shift and scrolling the mouse wheel up or down will move the grid and meta rows left or right respectively. The meta labels and instrument labels do not move.
Holding Alt and scrolling the mouse wheel up or down will move the grid and meta rows left or right respectively, faster than Shift scrolling. The meta labels and instrument labels do not move.
To drag the contents of the timeline, hold the left mouse button and move it around.
All meta labels besides the measures meta may be rearranged in any way. By moving the mouse cursor onto one of the meta labels, small up and down arrows will appear. Click the left mouse button on the up arrow to swap the meta label with the one above it. Click the left mouse button on the down arrow to swap the meta label with the one below it.
In order to hide all the meta labels while keeping all the meta information on the timeline, click the left mouse button on the measures meta to collapse all the currently visible meta rows into one row, where the meta values are staggered in that row. Click the left mouse button again on the measures meta to expand the meta rows.
All instruments--hidden or not--will be displayed on the timeline. To start this interaction, the mouse cursor is moved over an instrument label. A small eye will appear on the right side of the label that is open if the instrument is visible on the score, and closed if the instrument is hidden. Click the left mouse button on the eye to toggle between the two options.
To zoom in or out of the score, hold Ctrl and scroll the mouse wheel up or down respectively (Mac: Cmd + scroll).