Edit mode

Updated 4 years ago
This page shows old instructions for MuseScore 2.
For MuseScore 4 users, see Edit mode.

    Edit mode allows you to perform a wide range of editing operations on individual score elements, such as:

    • adjust the length and shape of slurs, lines, barlines etc.
    • add, delete and format text in text objects.
    • adjust the position of most score elements (but not text).

    Enter/exit edit mode

    To enter Edit mode use any of the following methods:

    • Double-click an element.
    • Right-click on an element and, from the menu, select Edit Element.
    • Click on an element and press Ctrl+E (Mac: Cmd+E).

    To exit Edit mode use any of the following:

    • Press Esc.
    • Click on a blank area of the document window.


    For text edit mode, see Text editing.


    Lines—such as slurs, ties, hairpins, voltas etc.— display square adjustment handles in Edit mode: these turn blue when selected. A slur, for example, looks like this:

    Sample slur in Edit Mode

    The end handles are used to adjust the length of the line. The middle handle is used to adjust its vertical position. In the case of slurs and ties, there are also three more handles to adjust the shape of the curve (see image above).

    To reposition a handle, click on it and use a keyboard shortcut (see below). Alternatively you can drag the handle with a mouse.

    Each end handle is connected by a dotted line to an anchor on the staff. The start and end anchors mark the boundaries of the region of the score under the control of the line. By default, an end handle is positioned vertically above its anchor.

    • To move both an end handle and its attached anchor: Click on the handle and use Shift+ or Shift+.
    • To move an end handle without affecting its anchor: Click on the handle and use either the left/right keyboard arrows or a corresponding Ctrl (Mac: ) command. See keyboard shortcuts below.


    Offset notes

    Sometimes it is necessary to shift a note to the right or left—to avoid a collision with another element or to override automatic notehead sharing for example:

    1. Enter Edit mode on the desired note;
    2. Press the arrow key in the direction (left or right) that you wish to nudge the note (or use Ctrl+ or Ctrl+ for larger adjustments);
    3. Press the Esc key. This will allow the note stem to be redrawn.

    Alternatively, you can select the notehead and change the "Horizontal offset" (under "Chord") in the Inspector.

    Adjust note stem length

    1. Enter Edit mode on the desired note stem;
    2. Use keyboard shortcuts (below) to extend or shorten the stem;
    3. Exit edit mode.

    Note: To reposition a note stem, you should select it and adjust the "Horizontal offset" in the Inspector.

    Keyboard shortcuts

    In Edit mode the following keyboard commands can be used to change the position of either (1) a score element (e.g. ornament, accidental etc.) or (2) an adjustment handle (e.g. slur, line etc.):

    • : Move left 0.1 staff space.
    • : Move right 0.1 staff space
    • : Move up 0.1 staff space
    • : Move down 0.1 staff space
    • Ctrl+ (Mac: +): Move left one staff space
    • Ctrl+ (Mac: +): Move right one staff space
    • Ctrl+ (Mac: +): Move up one staff space
    • Ctrl+ (Mac: +): Moves down one staff space
    • Alt+: Move left 0.01 staff space
    • Alt+: Move right 0.01 staff space
    • Alt+: Move up 0.01 staff space
    • Alt+: Move down 0.01 staff space

    The following commands only apply to adjustment handles:

    • Shift+: Move end handle's anchor left by one note/rest.
    • Shift+: Move end handle's anchor right by one note/rest.
    • Tab: Go to next handle.

    See also

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