Updated 1 month ago

    Screen readers

    MuseScore 4 supports all the major screen readers on each operating system. However, MuseScore's support for JAWS is not currently as good as it is for Narrator or NVDA on Windows.

    Speech on Windows

    Screen Reader Availability Modifier key On/off shortcut Settings shortcut
    Narrator Built into Windows Narrator = Caps Lock Windows+Ctrl+Enter Windows+Ctrl+N
    NVDA For Windows, free NVDA = Insert / Caps Lock Off only: NVDA+Q
    Toggle speech: NVDA+S
    JAWS For Windows, paid JAWS = Insert / Caps Lock Off only: JAWS+F4 JAWS+J

    If speech isn't working in MuseScore, try pressing Alt+F to focus the File menu, then press Esc twice to return to where you were in the app, at which point the screen reader should start working again. This tends to be needed if you start the screen reader after MuseScore is already running.

    As mentioned above, MuseScore's speech output with JAWS is not currently as complete as it is with Narrator or NVDA.

    Speech on macOS

    Screen Reader Availability Modifier key On/off shortcut Settings shortcut
    VoiceOver Built into macOS VO = Ctrl+Option / Caps Lock Cmd+F5 VO+F8

    VoiceOver's Quick Nav mode must be turned off while using MuseScore 4. You can toggle Quick Nav on or off by pressing the Left and Right arrow keys simultaneously while VoiceOver is running. It's also possible to disable Quick Nav from within VoiceOver Utility > Commanders.

    MuseScore's interface is navigable with the tab cursor as well as with VoiceOver's own cursor. In general it's best to use the tab cursor because this matches the interface on other platforms, hence is what you will find described in most documentation and tutorials. When using the tab cursor, remember to use the arrow keys as well as Tab as described in Navigating the UI. VoiceOver's cursor can be used to reach areas of the application that are not yet accessible to the tab cursor.

    Speech on Linux

    Screen Reader Availability Modifier key On/off shortcut Settings shortcut
    Orca Built into Linux GNOME Orca = Insert / Caps Lock Super+Alt+S Orca+Space
    or run orca --setup

    On Linux it is necessary to start the screen reader running before you launch MuseScore, otherwise accessibility features will be disabled to save system resources (the same is true for all Qt applications on Linux). If you forget to do this, simply exit MuseScore and launch it again, this time with the screen reader running.

    Orca is the most feature-complete screen reader available for Linux. Orca is built into the GNOME desktop environment, so it's recommended that Linux users with accessibility needs use a distribution based on GNOME or one of its derivatives.

    Keyboard access

    MuseScore 4's UI (user interface) has a hierarchical system of keyboard navigation, which is different to what you may be used to in other applications, including previous versions of MuseScore. In the new system, you must remember to use the arrow keys in addition to the tab key, because the tab key no longer visits every control. This allows for much faster navigation than the traditional system that uses the tab key for all navigation.

    Shortcut Action
    F6 and
    Move to next or previous UI section (e.g. from the toolbars to the palettes and back). The ` key (backtick or grave accent) can be used as an alternative to F6. ` is found above Tab on most QWERTY keyboards, or next to the left Shift key on UK Mac keyboards.
    Tab and
    Move to next or previous control group (e.g. navigate between toolbars).
    Up Down Left or
    Right arrow keys
    Move to next or previous control within the current group (e.g. navigate between buttons in a toolbar).
    Enter or Return Activate the current control (e.g. press a button, or insert an element from the palettes). Spacebar can also be used to activate controls, unless the control is a selectable item in a list.
    Spacebar Select an item in a list (e.g. an element in the palettes). Once selected, some items can be deleted by pressing Delete, or modified by navigating to other controls in the UI. This approach can be used in the Instruments panel to reorder or remove the instruments in your score.

    Please note that the UI navigation shortcuts are fixed and cannot be changed, unlike the shortcuts for score navigation, which can be customized in Preferences.

    Navigation within the score (i.e. inside the "Notation view") is much the same as it was in MuseScore 3. The following shortcuts are of particular value to accessibility users:

    Shortcut Action
    Alt+Right and Alt+Left Move to next or previous element. These shortcuts enable you to visit all kinds of notation elements, not just notes and rests.
    Alt+Up and Alt+Down Move to note above or below. These shortcuts enable you to move between individual notes in a chord, and also to reach notes and rests in other voices and in other staves.
    F2 or Alt+Shift+E Edit selected element. This is the keyboard equivalent of double-clicking on an element with the mouse. It enables you to edit text objects, including lyrics, dynamics, and tempo markings. It also enables you to adjust the length of line elements such as hairpins, slurs, and voltas (use the Tab key to change which end of the line you are adjusting). When you have finished editing, press Esc to return to Normal mode.
    Menu or Shift+F10 Open context menu for selected element(s). This is the keyboard equivalent of right-clicking on an element. It provides access to various options that depend on the element selected. Use this shortcut on a range selection to provide access to Measure properties, and Staff/Part properties.

    Other aspects of keyboard navigation are described on pages throughout this handbook. All score navigation and manipulation shortcuts can be customized in Preferences.

    Video tutorials

    The following accessibility tutorials are designed to get you up and running with MuseScore, using your keyboard and screen reader. They don't cover every aspect of the program, but they should give you a solid foundation that will enable you can take full advantage of the rest of this Handbook.

    Video Topics covered
    Installing MuseScore Installation of MuseScore on Windows, including Muse Hub and Muse Sounds. The process is similar on macOS and Linux, although on Linux you need to install Muse Hub and MuseScore separately.
    Score setup Initial score setup, including choosing instruments, key signature, time signature, and other settings.
    Entering music Basic note input.
    Adding markings Using the palettes to add markings (e.g. dynamics) to your score.
    The user interface Main window of the program, so you can understand where all the different panels, toolbars, and controls are, and how to reach them by keyboard.