Layout and formatting

Last updated 2014-10-08
This is an archived handbook page written for MuseScore 1
Navigate to the handbook page for MuseScore 2: Layout and formatting

You've finished your score and you want to print it out. However, you want improve how it looks. This handbook page describes many different ways, and how they work together.

Ways to affect layout

  • LayoutPage Settings. Change global settings such as page size, how big a "space" is (under "Scaling"), and how big page margins are. Space is used in other settings (example: "5.0sp"), so changing "space" will change most other settings.
  • Layout Add More Stretch, Add Less Stretch. Stretch or squash measures you specifically select.
  • StyleEdit General StylePage. Change global settings that affect how close staves are and systems are, how much margin lyrics have, and so on.
  • StyleEdit General Style System. Fix the number of measures per system, or the measure width.
  • StyleEdit General StyleScore. Change score details, such as whether there are multimeasure rests or hidden empty staves.
  • StyleEdit General StyleMeasure. Set measure spacing, key to controlling number of measures per line.
  • Palette / Breaks & Spacer. Break a line at a particular measure, a page at a particular line, or add space between measures.
  • StyleEdit General StyleSizes. Set the proportional size of "small" and grace notes. Changing this would be unusual.

Layout / Page Settings

MuseScore1.1_Layout_PageSettings_cropped.png

Scaling / Space - This is the size of the space between 2 lines of a staff. Since notes fit in that space, it also controls the size of note heads. Since music is proportional to notes, this also affects note stems, accidentals, clefs - all kinds of things. It also shows up as sp in many other settings (example: system distance "9.2sp"). So, as you change the "Space" parameter, many other settings change proportionally. For this reason, it is also sometimes called "scaling."

Changing the scaling may not change the number of systems per page because of the "page fill threshold" (see below). To see the effects of changes to scaling without interference, set the "page fill threshold" to 100%.

Note: there is also a scaling parameter in EditPreferencesScoreScaling. That sets the global preference for new documents, but does not change the current score.

Layout: Add More Stretch, Add Less Stretch

MuseScore1.1_Layout.png

You can select measures, then widen them so that fewer are on a line ("Add More Stretch"), or squash them to fit more on a line ("Add Less Stretch").

Style / Edit General Style / Page

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  • Music upper and lower margin - Space before and after the first and last staves on a page.
  • Staff distance (Stave distance) - Space between staves within a system.
  • Accolade distance (Great Stave distance) - Space between the staves of a multi-staff (multi-stave) instrument like piano.
  • System distance - Space between systems.
  • Lyrics upper and lower margin - Space before and after the first and last lines of lyrics.
  • V-frame upper and lower margin - Margins for a vertical frame (for example, the box containing the title and composer info).
  • Page fill threshold - If the page is fuller than this, system space is ignored, and everything is stretched to fill the page. So 100% prevents any stretching.
  • Last system fill threshold - If the last system is larger than this percentage of the page width, the last system is stretched to fill the page width.

Percentages in a threshold are percentages of the full page height or width. So a page fill threshold of 70% means stretch of things to fill the page, if it is more than 70% full.

Style / Edit General Style / System

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Style / Edit General Style / Score

MuseScore1.1_EditStyle_Score_cropped.png
Here, you can cause the creation of multi-measure rests and hide empty staves. This can affect score size greatly.

Style / Edit General Style / Measure

MuseScore1.1_EditStyle_Measure_cropped.png
Set measure spacing as well as margins. The measure spacing is key to controlling number of measures per line. Changing the other settings would be unusual.

Style / Edit General Style / Bar Lines

Bar Lines
To change the bar lines at the beginning of the stave or multiple staves

Palette / Breaks & Spacer

breaks-spacer-palette.png

Using this palette, you can choose where you want page breaks or line breaks. Some people do this first, and some save it until the end, after modifying the global settings.

To put a page break, drag and drop the page break symbol to a measure. To put a line break, drag and drop the line break symbol to the last measure you want on a line. If you want the same number of measures for several systems, select them and use PluginsBreak every X measures. If some measures end up alone on the line, reduce the scaling, or use LayoutAdd More Stretch, Add Less Stretch.

See also Break or spacer .

Style / Edit General Style / Sizes

MuseScore1.1_EditStyle_Sizes_cropped.png
Set the proportional size of "small" and grace notes. Changing this would be unusual.

Edit spacing between individual notes

You can edit the spacing between notes in your score by the following steps.

  1. Double click on the note head for the note you wish to nudge
  2. Press the arrow key in the direction (left or right) that you wish to nudge the note
  3. Press the Esc key to finalize the process (this will re-draw the note stem).

Note: you may need to delete and then re-enter ties, as they sometimes fail to re-draw.

External links