Text basics

Updated 8 months ago
This page shows old instructions for MuseScore 3.
For MuseScore 4 users, see Text basics.

Add text

Decide which object type you need before adding a text, visit Text types. For general-purpose "text boxes" attached to staves, use Staff and system text, they are good if you simply want a text for visual purpose.

To add a Text object or object containing Text to a score, use one of the following general methods:

  • Keyboard shortcut: For example, press Ctrl+Tto enter Staff text , Ctrl+L to enter Lyrics, and so on.
  • Palette (Workspace):
    • Select a note and click an icon in one of the palettes (double-click in versions prior to 3.4); or,
    • Drag a symbol from a palette onto the staff. E.g. Swing text, Tempo text etc.
  • Menu command: AddText allows you to choose from a range of text-based elements.
  • Plugin: such as Expression Dictionary

Notes: The exact method depends on the type of text you are adding, visit and follow links on Text.

Basic formatting

The basic formatting options recommended for beginners are:

  • edit object properties with the Inspector, and
  • edit individual character's formatting with Text Toolbar, see Text editing chapter.

Options in the Inspector:

  • Font: The name of the font (e.g. Times New Roman, Arial etc.), also see Fonts.
  • Size and Font style icons: Font style includes e.g. Italic, Bold or Underline.
  • Line Spacing and Follow staff size: "Follow staff size" option determines whether text size changes proportionally, see Layout and formatting chapter.
  • Alignment icons: Horizontal (left, center, right) and Vertical.
  • Frame: Choose to have a circular or square frame around the text.
  • Remove Custom Formatting: Removes all individual characters' formatting previously applied with Text toolbar, see level of formatting in Text styles and properties chapter.

To revert changes press the "Reset to style default" (the circular shape) button on the right.

See Text styles and properties for everything on text formatting.

Adjust position of text objects

To position a text object, use any of the following methods:

  • Drag the object.
  • Select the object and adjust the X or Y offset values in the Inspector.
  • Select the object and apply any of the following keyboard shortcuts:
    • : Move text left 0.1 staff space.
    • : Move text right 0.1 staff space.
    • : Move text up 0.1 staff space.
    • : Move text down 0.1 staff space.
    • Ctrl+ (Mac: Cmd+): Move text left one staff space.
    • Ctrl+ (Mac: Cmd+): Move text right one staff space.
    • Ctrl+ (Mac: Cmd+): Move text up one staff space.
    • Ctrl+ (Mac: Cmd+): Moves text down one staff space.

Text anchors

When you apply a text element to the score, its anchor position will depend on the type:

  • Title, Subtitle, Composer, Poet: Anchored to a frame.
  • Tempo: Anchored to a note.
  • Dynamics: Anchored to a note.
  • Fingering: Anchored to note heads.
  • Lyrics: Anchored to a time position.
  • Chord symbol: Anchored to a time position.
  • Staff text: Anchored to a time position.
  • System text: Anchored to a time position.
  • Sticking: Anchored to a time position.

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