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

    Palette area


    Using the Palettes Area is the recommended way to apply musical symbols and text to your score, second to keyboard shortcut.

    MuseScore is shipped with predefined palettes that organize items by nature, click on hyperlink to jump to their main chapter.

    All palettes can be unhide in any workspace (see below (jump to).) The current visibility setting and expand/collapse status palettes are automatically saved to the current in-use workspace profile. No further action is needed.

    Palette contents can be edited, you can also create an empty custom palette and populate it, see below (jump to). Visit for palettes shared by other musicians.

    Alternative ways to apply musical symbols and text:

    View / hide the Palette Area

    The default position of the Palette Area is to the left of the document window. To view or hide it:

    • From the menu, select ViewPalettes, or use the keyboard shortcut F9.

    To undock the Palette area:

    • Click the double-chevron symbol (circled in the image above), or double-click the top bar of the panel.

    To re-attach the panel, double-click on the top bar again. See Side panels for more information.

    Using palette items

    Apply symbols from a palette

    Versions 3.4 or above

    • Select one or more score elements, then click the desired palette symbol. Or, drag and drop the symbol onto the desired score element in the staff.

    Versions prior to 3.4

    • Select one or more score elements, then double-click the desired palette symbol. Or, drag and drop the symbol onto the desired score element in the staff.

    If you are dragging a symbol to the score and decide you don't want to apply it, press Esc.

    Tip: To prevent accidental rearrangement of contents during use, right-click a palette name and uncheck Enable Editing.

    Apply the last selected item

    MuseScore does not offer keyboard shortcut bindings to palette items, but you can configure a shortcut to apply the same symbol multiple times consecutively to improve efficiency. Some users find this method handy when applying piano pedal marks. (N.B. piano pedal mark symbol is under Lines palette)

    1. Assign a keyboard shortcut key to "Apply current palette element" in Preferences: Shortcuts.
    2. Select some score elements.
    3. Click on a palette item to apply it to the score once.
    4. Select other elements. TIPS: Use Shift selection Shift+/.
    5. Press the "Apply current palette element" shortcut to apply the same (last applied) item.
    6. Repeat as required.

    See also Dynamics actions, a MuseScore plugin that you can assign keyboard shortcut to add individual dynamics symbol.

    Search by symbol name to locate a symbol without visually searching through palettes. All symbols are searched regardless of palettes' visible / hidden status and expand / collapse status.

    Use the Search box at the top of the Palette Area. As you type, symbols and/or palettes with names matching your keystrokes are displayed below, updating continuously as your typed input changes.

    To show all palettes, some of which may be temporarily hidden because it does not match the search string, click X in the search box.

    Items added to the score can be copied, pasted, and duplicated: see Copy and paste.

    Behavior of applied text and lines

    If the symbol you are adding to the score from a palette contains or belongs to a Text element (e.g. staff text, dynamic, fingering, volta etc.), then properties such as font type, font size, text color and alignment will adapt according to the following rules:

    1. Text properties which have not been altered by the user will adopt the relevant text styles.
    2. Custom text properties—those changed by the user before saving the symbol to a custom palette—remain as customized.

    By contrast, the line properties of Lines applied from a palette as is.

    Customize the Palette Area

    Expand / Collapse a palette

    • Either click on the arrow next to the palette name, or double-click the palette name (in versions prior to MuseScore 3.3, click once on either the arrow or the palette name).

    Single Palette mode

    • To enable automatic collapsing of all other palettes when you expand one palette, click the ... button at the top of the Palettes Area and check the Open only one Palette at a time box.

    Reveal a hidden palette

    • Click Add Palettes at the top of the palette list and click Add beside the palette name.

    Create a new custom palette

    1. At the top of the Palette Area, click Add PalettesCreate custom palette. Or, right-click any palette and click Insert New Palette.
    2. Type the name of the new palette in the Create Palette dialog.
    3. To add symbols, see Customize palettes below (jump to).

    Hide a palette

    To hide a predefined palette:

    • Right-click the name of the palette you want to hide and click Hide Palette.

    To hide a custom palette you created:

    • Right-click the name of the palette you want to hide, click Hide/Delete Palette, then click Hide in the dialog.

    Delete a palette

    Only custom palettes can be deleted, you can hide all palettes though.

    • Right-click the name of the palette you want to delete, click Hide/Delete Palette, then click Delete permanently in the dialog.

    Change the order of palettes

    • Drag the name of a palette up or down to any desired position.

    Customize palette contents

    Symbols may be added or deleted and layouts can be rearranged. (in version prior to 3.3, only new workspace is capable of customizations).

    Before customizing a palette:

    1. Right-click on the palette name and make sure that Enable Editing is checked. It is automatically checked for new palettes you create yourself.
    2. Make sure the palette is expanded.

    Add from an opened score

    Score items, when added to a palette, are saved with their custom properties.

    • Press and hold Ctrl+Shift (Mac: Cmd+Shift), then drag the score element from the score onto a palette. The score element could be a symbol, line, text, dynamic, fretboard diagram, imported image etc.

    Add from the Master Palette

    1. If the Master Palette is not visible, select ViewMaster Palette from the menu, or use the keyboard shortcut Shift+F9 (Mac: fn+Shift+F9).
    2. Drag the symbol from the Master Palette window onto a palette.

    Rearrange symbol order

    • Drag the symbol to the cell in which you wish to display it. Nearby symbols will automatically move to make space available.

    Change the position and size of a symbol in a palette cell

    • Right-click the cell and click Properties. The following dialog is displayed:
      Cell properties

      • Name: Used in search function, also shown as tooltip that appears when you mouse over the cell.
      • Content offset X, Y: Adjusts the position of the symbol in the cell.
      • Content scale: Makes the symbol appear larger or smaller in the cell.
      • Draw staff: Draws the five lines of a musical staff behind the symbol.

    Note: Changing these values only affects the appearance of symbols within the palette. It does not change their sizes or offsets on the score page.

    Remove a symbol from a palette

    • Right-click the symbol and click Delete. Or, select the symbol and click the trash icon to the right of the palette name.

    Items removed from predefined palettes are moved under More.
    In custom palettes, the More button offers browsing predefined palettes ( Use < and > ) and adding their items ( Use drag-and-drop, or selecting and clicking Add to)

    Palette menu

    The following menu options may appear either by right-clicking the name of a palette or by clicking the ... to the right of the name:

    • Hide Palette: Hide predefined palette into under Add Palettes.
    • Hide/Delete Palette: Allows you to either hide or permanently delete a custom palette.
    • Insert New Palette: Creates a new empty palette. Identical to Add PalettesCreate custom palette.
    • Enable Editing: Allows you to modify the contents and layout of the palette.
    • Reset Palette: Discards any customizations made to a palette and restore its default contents and layout. Custom palettes will be emptied.
    • Save Palette...: Saves the current palette as an .mpal file.
    • Load Palette...: Loads a palette from an .mpal file and reveal it, does not replace current palette, nor any existing palettes.
    • Palette Properties...: Displays the following dialog, where you can adjust the appearance of a palette:
      Palette properties

      • Name: The name of the current palette.
      • Cell Size: Width, Height: The dimensions of each individual cell in the palette.
      • Element Offset: Adjusts the vertical offset of all symbols in the palette.
      • Scale: Makes all symbols in the palette appear larger or smaller.
      • Show grid: Draws a border around each palette cell.

    See also


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