Command line options

Updated 10 months ago
This page shows old instructions for MuseScore 3.
For MuseScore 4 users, see Command line options.

    MSCORE(1) — General Commands Manual Page


    mscore, MuseScore3 — MuseScore 3 sheet music editor


    You can launch MuseScore from the command line by typing

    • mscore [options] [filename …] (Mac and Linux/BSD/Unix)
    • musescore [options] [filename …] (Linux/BSD/Unix)
    • mscore-portable [options] [filename …] (Linux AppImage)
    • MuseScore3.exe [options] [filename …] (Windows)

    [options] and [filename] are optional. For this to work the MuseScore executable must be in %PATH% (Windows) resp. $PATH (Mac and Linux). If it is not, see Revert to factory settings for detailed instructions on how and where to find and execute the MuseScore executable from the command line on the various supported platforms.

    A more detailed synopsis follows:

    mscore [-deFfhIiLmnOPRstvw]
    [-a | --use-audio driver]
    [-b | --bitrate bitrate]
    [-c | --config-folder pathname]
    [-D | --monitor-resolution DPI]
    [-d | --debug]
    [-E | --install-extension extension file]
    [-e | --experimental]
    [-F | --factory-settings]
    [-f | --force]
    [-h | -? | --help]
    [-I | --dump-midi-in]
    [-i | --load-icons]
    [-j | --job file.json]
    [-L | --layout-debug]
    [-M | --midi-operations file]
    [-m | --no-midi]
    [-n | --new-score]
    [-O | --dump-midi-out]
    [-o | --export-to file]
    [-P | --export-score-parts]
    [-p | --plugin name]
    [-R | --revert-settings]
    [-r | --image-resolution DPI]
    [-S | --style style]
    [-s | --no-synthesizer]
    [-T | --trim-image margin]
    [-t | --test-mode]
    [-v | --version]
    [-w | --no-webview]
    [-x | --gui-scaling factor]
    [file ...]


    MuseScore is a Free and Open Source WYSIWYG cross-platform multi-lingual music composition and notation software, released under the GNU General Public Licence (GPLv2).

    Running mscore without any extra options launches the full graphical MuseScore program and opens any files specified on the command line.

    The options are as follows:

    -a | --use-audio driver

    Use audio driver: one of jack, alsa, portaudio, pulse

    -b | --bitrate bitrate

    Set MP3 output bitrate in kbit/s

    -c | --config-folder pathname

    Override configuration and settings directory

    -D | --monitor-resolution DPI

    Specify monitor resolution (override autodetection)

    -d | --debug

    Start MuseScore in debug mode

    -E | --install-extension extension file

    Install an extension file; soundfonts are loaded by default unless -e is also specified

    -e | --experimental

    Enable experimental features, such as layers

    -F | --factory-settings

    Use only the standard built-in presets (“factory settings”) and delete user preferences; compare with the -R option (see also Revert to factory settings)

    -f | --force

    Ignore score corruption and version mismatch warnings in “converter mode”

    -h | -? | --help

    Display an overview of invocation instructions (doesn’t work on Windows)

    -I | --dump-midi-in

    Display all MIDI input on the console

    -i | --load-icons

    Load icons from the filesystem; useful if you want to edit the MuseScore icons and preview the changes

    -j | --job file.json

    Process a conversion job (see EXAMPLES below)

    -L | --layout-debug

    Start MuseScore in layout debug mode

    -M | --midi-operations file

    Specify MIDI import operations file (see EXAMPLES below)

    -m | --no-midi

    Disable MIDI input

    -n | --new-score

    Start with the New Score wizard regardless whether it’s enabled or disabled in the user preferences

    -O | --dump-midi-out

    Display all MIDI output on the console

    -o | --export-to file

    Export the given (or currently opened) file to the specified output file. The file type depends on the extension of the filename given. This option switches to “converter mode” and avoids the graphical user interface.

    -P | --export-score-parts

    When converting to PDF with the -o option, append each part’s pages to the created PDF file. If the score has no parts, all default parts will temporarily be generated automatically.

    -p | --plugin name

    Execute the named plugin

    -R | --revert-settings

    Use only the standard built-in presets (“factory settings”) but do not delete user preferences; compare with the -F option

    -r | --image-resolution DPI

    Set image resolution for conversion to PNG files. Default: 300 DPI (actually, the value of “Resolution” of the PNG option group in the Export tab of the preferences)

    -S | --style style

    Load a style file first; useful for use with the -o option

    -s | --no-synthesizer

    Disable the integrated software synthesizer

    -T | --trim-image margin

    Trim exported PNG and SVG images to remove whitespace surrounding the score. The specified margin, in pixels, will be retained (use 0 for a tightly cropped image). When exporting to SVG, this option only works with single-page scores.

    -t | --test-mode

    Set test mode flag for all files, includes --template-mode

    -v | --version

    Display the name and version of the application without starting the graphical user interface (doesn’t work on Windows)

    -w | --no-webview

    Disable the web view component in the Start Center

    -x | --gui-scaling factor

    Scale the score display and other GUI elements by the specified factor; intended for use with high-resolution displays


    Print a conditioned diff between the given scores


    Set highlight to svg, generated from a given score


    Display the full name, version and git revision of the application without starting the graphical user interface (doesn’t work on Windows)


    Don’t use Bravura as fallback musical font


    Print a raw diff between the given scores


    Run script tests listed in the command line arguments


    Upload score(s) to their source URL. Replaces existing online score(s). (As of 3.6)


    Export all media (except MP3) for a given score as a single JSON document to stdout


    Export score metadata to JSON document and print it to stdout


    Generate an MP3 for the given score and export it as a single JSON document to stdout


    Generate parts data for the given score and save them to separate mscz files


    Generate parts data for the given score and export it as a single JSON document to stdout


    Transpose the given score and export the data to a single JSON file, print it to stdout


    Update the source in the given score


    Save files in template mode (e.g. without page sizes)

    MuseScore also supports the automatic Qt command line options.

    Batch conversion job JSON format

    The argument to the -j option must be the pathname of a file comprised of a valid JSON document honoring the following specification:

    • The top-level element must be a JSONArray, which may be empty.

    • Each array element must be a JSONObject with the following keys:

      • in: Value is the name of the input file (score to convert), as JSONString.
      • plugin: Value is the filename of a plugin (with the .qml extension), which will be read from either the global or per-user plugin path and executed before the conversion output happens, as JSONString. Optional, but at least one of plugin and out must be given.
      • out: Value is the conversion output target, as defined below. Optional, but at least one of plugin and out must be given.
    • The conversion output target may be a filename (with extension, which decided the format to convert to), as JSONString.

    • The conversion output target may be a JSONArray of filenames as JSONString, as above, which will cause the score to be written to multiple output files (in multiple output formats) sequentially, without being closed, re-opened and re-processed in between.

    • If the conversion output target is a JSONArray, one or more of its elements may also be, each, a JSONArray of two JSONStrings (called first and second half in the following description). This will cause part extraction: for each such two-tuple, all extant parts of the score will be saved individually, with filenames being composed by concatenating the first half, the name (title) of the part, and the second half. The resulting string must be a valid filename (with extension, determining the output format). If a score has no parts (excerpts) defined, this will be silently ignored without error.

    • Valid file extensions for output are:

      Free Lossless Audio Codec (compressed audio)
      various score metadata (JSON)
      standard MIDI file
      standard MIDI file
      internal file sanity check log (JSON)
      MPEG Layer III (lossy compressed audio)
      measure positions (XML)
      uncompressed MuseScore file
      compressed MuseScore file
      uncompressed MusicXML file
      compressed MusicXML file
      OGG Vorbis (lossy compressed audio)
      portable document file (print)
      portable network graphics (image) — Individual files, one per score page, with a hyphen-minus followed by the page number placed before the file extension, will be generated.
      segment positions (XML)
      scalable vector graphics (image)
      RIFF Waveform (uncompressed audio)
      uncompressed MusicXML file

    See below for an example.


    Set this (the value does not matter) to skip initialization of the JACK Audio Connection Kit library, in case it causes trouble.
    User configuration location; defaults to ~/.config if unset.
    User data location; defaults to ~/.local/share if unset.

    Note that MuseScore also supports the normal Qt environment variables such as QT_QPA_GENERIC_PLUGINS, QT_QPA_PLATFORM, QT_QPA_PLATFORMTHEME, QT_QPA_PLATFORM_PLUGIN_PATH, QT_STYLE_OVERRIDE, DISPLAY, etc.


    /usr/share/mscore-3.0/ contains the application support data (demos, instruments, localization, system-wide plugins, soundfonts, styles, chords, templates and wallpapers). In the Debian packages, system-wide soundfonts are installed into /usr/share/sounds/sf2/, /usr/share/sounds/sf3/ or /usr/share/sounds/sfz/, respectively, instead.

    The per-user data (extensions, plugins, soundfonts, styles, templates) and files (images, scores) are normally installed into subdirectories under ~/MuseScore3/ but may be changed in the configuration. Note that snapshot, alpha and beta versions use MuseScore3Development instead of MuseScore3 in all of these paths.

    $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/MuseScore/MuseScore3.ini contains the user preferences, list of recently used files and their locations, window sizes and positions, etc. See above for development version paths.

    $XDG_DATA_HOME/data/MuseScore/MuseScore3/ contains updated localization files downloaded from within the program, plugin information, cached scores, credentials for the community site, session information, synthesizer settings, custom key and time signatures and shortcuts. See above for development version paths.


    Convert a score to PDF from the command line

    mscore -o 'My Score.pdf' 'My Score.mscz'

    Run a batch job converting multiple documents

    mscore -j job.json

    This requires the file job.json in the current working directory to have content similar to the following:

        "in": "Reunion.mscz",
        "out": "Reunion-coloured.pdf",
        "plugin": "colornotes.qml"
        "in": "Reunion.mscz",
        "out": [
          [ "Reunion (part for ", ").pdf" ],
        "in": "Piece with excerpts.mscz",
        "out": [
          "Piece with excerpts (Partitura).pdf",
          [ "Piece with excerpts (part for ", ").pdf" ],
          "Piece with excerpts.mid"

    The last part of the job would, for example, cause files like “Piece with excerpts (part for Violin).pdf” to be generated alongside the conductor’s partitura and a MIDI file with the full orchestra sound, whereas the equivalent part of the Reunion conversion will be silently ignored (because the Reunion piece (a MuseScore demo) has no excerpts defined).

    MIDI import operations

    The attached midi_import_options.xml is a sample MIDI import operations file for the -M option.


    The mscore utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.


    fluidsynth(1), midicsv(1), timidity(1), qtoptions(7)

    Online Handbook, full user manual

    Support Forum

    Reverting to factory settings (troubleshooting)

    Project Issue Tracker — Please check first to if the bug you’re encountering has already been reported. If you just need help with something, then please use the support forum instead.…

    Documentation of automatic Qt command line options


    MuseScore attempts to implement the following standards:

    • MusicXML 3.1 (score interchange format)
    • SF2 (SoundFont 2.01)
    • SF3 (SoundFont with OGG Vorbis-compressed samples)
    • SFZ (Sforzato soundfont)
    • SMuFL (Standard Music Font Layout 1.20)


    MuseScore was split off the MusE sequencer in 2002 and has since become the foremost Open Source notation software.


    MuseScore is developed by MuseScore BVBA and others.

    This manual page was written by mirabilos <>.


    The automatic Qt command line options are removed from the argument vector before the application has a chance at option processing; this means that an invocation like mscore -S -reverse has no chance at working because the -reverse is removed by Qt first.


    • MuseScore does not honor /etc/papersize.

    • Probably some more; check the project’s bug tracker (cf. SEE ALSO).

    MuseScore — August 28, 2023

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