Option to completely disable automatic placement

• Jul 27, 2019 - 00:16

I realise that this is a much discussed subject, but...
I have just updated Musescore to Version Revision d2d863f. Whilst checking the release notes for past updates I noticed that on May 28 2019 there was a release:
macOS 10.12+:, Windows 7+ 64-bit:, Windows 7+ 32-bit:, AppImage: 3.1.0. (revision: e26f7c46).
and in the list of 'New' features there is 'Option to completely disable Auto Placement'
I am on Mojave 10.14.5
I have spent some time searching but cannot find any information about how to completely disable Auto Placement apart from the above reference in the release notes.
Any pointers would be greatly appreciated. (I have read most of the discussions as to whether there is really a need to completely disable Auto Placement and despite advice from all the gurus, and I do appreciate what a wonderful feature AP is, I would still rather place everything myself.)


In Edit->Preferences->Shortcuts, there is a shortcut to Toggle 'Automatic placement' globally. I don't remember if there is a default shortcut defined. If not, you can define one.

Life is much easier in version 3 once you learn how to use Automatic placement rather than turning it off. We're here to help you with this if you want it.

In reply to by mike320

mike320 - very many thanks for the info. It works great! I do understand how good Automatic Placement is but I have hundreds of scores which have been carefully formatted and I really don't want them altered. However, I have used AP on new scores and althought it works well most of the time there are still occasions when I want to place things myself.
Thanks again for your very prompt and helpful answer.

In reply to by tubascuba

Hi Tubascuba,
"I want to place things myself"
Well that's a perfectly legitimate requirement and in 3.0 it was not possible with autoplacement.
BUT since then, autoplacement has been greatly enhanced and in 3.2 you can place things yourself WITH autoplacement which really make things a lot easier than without it.

In reply to by DanielR

I generally drag (or use x,y offsets) first. If it doesn't cooperate I press alt and drag the item and I don't usually have to worry about it any more.

I understand a score being imported from version 2 turning off global auto place, it makes it less work to make it look like it did in version 2. For new scores I keep global autoplace on. Pressing alt turns off auto place on a dragged item, though it may not work on Linux.

In reply to by DanielR

I don't think there are any cases where disabling autoplace, moving the element, then re-enabled would accomplish anything different from leaving it enabled.

To be clear: in the vast majority of cases you don't need to disable autoplace in order to place things manually. Prior to 3.1 there were a larger number of cases where this could be necessary, but now it's extremely rare. For those rare cases, you don't want or need to disable it completely, you just would turn it off for the given element, either using the Inspector, the shortcut "=", or Alt+drag.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

" don't think there are any cases where disabling autoplace, moving the element, then re-enabled would accomplish anything different from leaving it enabled"
Marc, you may be right. I was thinking of the special case where a dynamic is auto-linked to its following hairpin. In this case, trying to move the dynamic itself does not work with autoplace enabled, but moving the hairpin does move the pair (dynamic+hairpin) successfully. No problem once you know about that slight "gotcha".

But don't ask me to like how autoplace works with slurs: I feel all the time that I am fighting the autoplace rules! No anchor ever seems to stay put if I adjust one individual anchor... so I am gradually coming to the view that for any manual adjustment of a slur, it's easier simply to turn off autoplace for the slur altogether (and leave it disabled).
[EDIT] ... and I might have to climb down on this latter point as well. After re-reading your post, I tried adjusting individual anchors of an autoplaced slur using Alt+Drag - and it worked fine. Time for me to say sorry, yet again! ;-)

In reply to by DanielR

I agree these two cases are a bit awkward right now.

For dynamic/hairpin combinations, "sometimes" it works to move one of them and the other will follow automatically. Other times not. I'm not sure I can totally say which cases are which even though I wrote most of that code. Feel free to attach a score where this is an issue and I can take a look (best to start a new thread for that).

For slurs, what you are probably seeing is the code to automatically try steeper curves if the default (relatively flat) curve results in the endpoints being too far away from their notes. As you adjust, you change that calculation, so that maybe now the flatter slur does work, so the shape changes out from under you. Not good, I agree, but I'm not sure the best way around this. So far I've simply also chosen to disable autoplace when manually adjusting slurs. In fact, often I disable autoplace and then find I'm perfectly happy with the slur that way - there might be small collisions with accidentals along the way, but ones I can live with.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Completely agree. In a large score I only had to disable autoplace very very few times, and the only persisting problem, the misalignment between different dynamic+hairpin+dynamic groups affecting different note ranges in the same staff, was very easily corrected by selecting one element of one group, for instance the first dynamic, and, from the inspector, changing its vertical position to a common value with the first dynamic from the second group. The only detail to take into account is that if, for instance the vertical offset is by default 3 sp and there are ledger lines below the staff, probably setting 4 as the new offset will have no effect, keep trying by 0.5 sp increments until the group moves to an acceptable position. Then repeat that setting for the other group(s).

In reply to by mike320

I am using MuseScore to enter into the computer music that I wrote years ago, and cannot play now because of arthritis. It is a wonderful program and has given me my music back again. I have played these pieces over and over.
When I wrote the music, I was careful to place rests and other markings carefully, according to the rules of writing music. Unfortunately, Automatic Placement apparently does not approve of my work. It insists on putting rests in the middle of notes, not allowing me to build triplets, and adding rests kind of randomly that I do not want on many lines.
If there is no way to turn Automatic Placement off (I wrote the scores the first time without help) is there some way I can block Automatic Placement from parts of the scores when it is being particularly frustrating? This problem is driving me nuts!
Marjorie Task

In reply to by mtask12

Automatic placement has nothing with do with when rests are generated, and it never prevents you from creating triplets, I think you are misunderstanding what is happening. Best to start new thread since your issue is not actually about automatic placement at all, and attach your score and describe your problem in more detail.

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

Sorry to hear you had so much trouble figuring out how to use it, but I'd love to help you save time by showing you how to take advantage of it! It really does save a ton of time, so mostly likely a very simple change in how you might previously have been trying to do things will pay off many times over.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

No thanks. I appreciate it but I'm good. I prefer to place things where I want them as opposed to where the program thinks they should be and I don't want them to be moved around after I place them. A more detailed explanation of my experience is in my response to jeetee in the post directly below.

In reply to by jeetee

My scores are beautiful. I've been doing computer engraving for a LONG time. I'll bet I'm one of the few people around [mostly because I'm old as the hills] who knows how to score using a nib pen and who started using SCORE in DOS. I moved from there to SCORE in Windows, to Finale which I never liked, Sibelius because I got it for free when I was faculty at Drexel, Lily Pond [ugh] because of the [unwarranted] hype and a few other minor ones along the way. Musescore is simply the best.
Anything that moves other elements around when a single element is edited is troublesome. It ends up being a chain of edits that, in some cases, never ends. You move one thing. That action moves another [or worse another set of things], you then edit those and they move something else. Maybe because I'm a pro at this, my scores are detailed and my student scores [for guitar] have a fair amount of fingerings this circle jerk of editing simply doesn't work. I'm not complaining I love Musescore!

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

This makes sense, I can respect that. I'd put a rather different spin on it, though.

If you are already committing to placing everything manually anyhow, because you know you can do a better job than any automatic placement ever could, then indeed automatic placement will save you nothing, and may cost you a bit (I still suspect a minor tweak to your workflow would still allow you to take advantage of it more than you probably realize, but whatever). So for someone who is already committing to spending much additional time tweaking positions of things, I can see why turning it off might seem to make sense.

But the point of the feature - and why it is fact actually a fantastic feature for 99% of users - is that it saves you from needing to do that manual adjustment at all in most cases. If you have a lot of engraving expertise and know precisely where you want each and every symbol, that's a different story. But if you just want your score to look pretty darned good right out of the box, with no manual adjustments at all, it's an absolutely godsend. Then if you want to improve on this, you can focus your manual adjustment time on the places that might be helped the most, while letting the automatic placement do its job for the rest. Win/win.

Also, I assume you do all your manual adjustments to achieve a certain look with one particular font size, one particular page size. So it looks good printed, basically. Probably not so good on mobile devices, where an increasing number of users are accessing scores, and are using different screen sizes, different font sizes, and for that matter also transposing, etc. One of the reasons for the development of automatic placement was to ensure "good enough" layout even as it necessarily changes on the fly for all these cases.

So even if this feature isn't for you, I hope you can understand why it is such a useful thing to the vast majority of users, and is thus still a great feature to have.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I absolutely see how this would be a godsend for an inexperienced user. Looking good right out of the box is not sufficient for pro engraving as you understand. I'd like to respond to one thing that may have weight for you. The most difficult thing about AP for me is the cycle of edits that it creates for me. You move one thing, it causes another to move in an undesirable way. Then you have to edit that second item and it moves ANOTHER item..... you get the picture and I think you can easily see how this would stop me in my tracks. There's another factor which is peculiar to me [and others writing for guitar] - my scores tend to be pretty tight in order to minimize the number of page turns because page turns and guitarists are enemies. The AP works best in loosely laid out scores. My scores will have things closer than the AP will tolerate and yet will be perfectly readable.

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

My scores will have things closer than the AP will tolerate and yet will be perfectly readable.

Would you be willing to share an example of such a score here (in MSCZ format)? It may be possible to improve the automatic placement algorithm to get closer to your ideal with the help of a reference score.

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

Thank you for the example. And I think that fingering in a condensed score is one of the few elements that might warrant disabling automatic placement.

So have a look at the attached, where I performed the following steps:

  1. Enabled automatic placement globally for the score
  2. Select everything and use the inspector to turn automatic placement on

Then used method A for adjusting the fingering positions (not recommended in your condensed specific example, but more as a proof of concept):

  1. Range select m1-5, right-click a fingering and choose "Select all similar elements in range selection"
  2. Used the inspector to set the minimal distance to -999,00sp to allow them to partially overlap other elements, whilst other elements by default will still attempt to avoid them.
  3. Adjusted positions of some of those markings (the first 'a' and most of m5)
  4. Select m1-5 and reduce stretch once to make them fit onto the first system again.

Although as I mentioned, I believe fingerings is one of the few valid reasons for wanting to disable automatic placement, so you can tuck them more easily where you want. So that's exactly what I then proceeded with:

  1. Select the remaining range and then right-click to limit the selection to all the fingerings
  2. Turn of automatic placement for them
  3. Select m6-10 and reduce stretch once to make them fit onto a single system (imho, this gives a better result than squeezing the 1/4th final rest of m9 into the preceding flag)
  4. Select m11-15 and reduce stretch once to make them fit onto a single system (I'm noticing a pattern here, perhaps do this for the entire score? or tweak relevant minimum distance settings for the same effect?)
  5. Moved the CIIline of m 15 downwards to make it line up with the preceding lines in that system. Note that you don't have to disable automatic placement for that.
  6. Don't correct the position of the continuation of the aforementioned line at the start of m16, as automatic placement already handled that one. (I've even went so far as to also reset the given offsets/minimal distance back to default for that segment).
    It seems odd that you'd want that to collide with the chord below it, so probably just slipped your positioning process in the example score and I assume a subsequent review would've made you correct that in your score as well.
  7. Slightly move the VII-line of m17 up to make it match the following H-line

That concludes page one (and is where I've currently stopped comparing) and I invite you to do a side-by-side comparison with your version.

So in conclusion I think that you don't have to disable automatic placement to get your result, but I agree that disabling it for fingerings only makes sense for such a score. My approach would then be to enter everything starting with automatic placement enabled. Then right-click a single fingering to be able to select them all and disable automatic placement for them.
Then you can go over your score from start to end (just like you do currently) to fine-tune the engraving.

Addendum: For that flute part, for which I believe you've not really went through any effort yet I believe you'll benefit from moving the measure numbers slightly upwards to avoid all those cross-measure ties rather than having to make them invisible in case of collisions.

Attachment Size
292662-SenioritaGDD_1stSend.mscz 60.16 KB

In reply to by jeetee

Thanks so much for your effort on this and for the step by step process. The page you worked on certainly looks better but I'm not sure that the process you describe is easier and faster. Nor do I have any certainty that if I change my mind about an item later and have to move it that a cascade of other errors won't follow. In addition, and this is most important, your process added a page. That's an impracticality as there is no opportunity anywhere in the score for a guitarist to do a page turn. This particular score needs to sit open on a music stand and 4 pages is the practical limit for that if the player is seated. From your step by step I did learn how to manipulate the minimal distance setting! Thanks for that.

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

I don't find this score's layout (Señorita) particularly remarkable, at least not as I expected. Indeed, I find several issues. First it's too overcrowded, and overcrowding makes things harder for the player, especially the student, I dare say. I understand that you want to avoid page turns, but this method doesn't seem the best, and it poses a practical limit of four pages for any score. Most printed sheet music is presented with a binder, so that at most two opposite pages are visible, with no restrictive limit for the number of pages. The general layout would improve with 5 pages and breaks at the end of measures 17 and 60. The distance between systems should be at least a bit larger than the distance between staves within a system. In cases like this, where a musician reads from the general score, frequently the other instruments are printed with smaller staves (for instance 75 %), so that it is clear which instrument the player is reading, since the other staves are meant only as a guide. This would help to clean a bit the layout. Second, nowhere it says the piece (or the arrangement) is for flute and guitar (from the general score alone). There is no indent at the beginning of the first system, where the names of the instruments could be indicated. Third, there are alignment issues, such as the horizontal barré lines over measures 11-15, 63-67, 86-92. The staccato dot distance is inconsistent at measures 15, 67, overlapping the line. Some measure numbers overlap ties, some lines overlap notes such as in measures 16, 99. Some fingerings, such as measure 93 are too close to the barline. These are only some examples that I notice at first glance. There may be more since each pass I detect new details.
I don't know if these problems are attributable to the lack of use of AP, to the struggle against AP or to other reasons, but I've observed that letting the program decide the position of most things (tweaking the default distances, sizes and so on as required), and at the end correcting the details, in general yields more consistent results (the eye loves consistency). This is true since the automatic decisions are based on rules such as the ones stated in the book by Elain Gould. No rule is as perfect as the human eye (Elain Gould herself acknowledges this) and every rule has exceptions, but the rules come from observation and are meant to simplify the job most of the time.
As you prefer doing everything manually you may need to pay attention to details such as the mentioned ones to get a really beautiful score.
As a final detail, you complain about things already located moving around as new material is added. While this is true, once all the music has been entered so that the main distances are settled, in most cases the remaining adjustments will be only local. Particularly I haven't experienced any frustrating relayout when adjusting the position of fingerings.

In reply to by Spire42

I'm not sure it's worth the effort. As I've stated the worst part of it is the way it can cause a cascade of re-edits. One of the things I LOVE about Musescore, as opposed to all of the other music typography programs [and I think I've use most of the major ones - the list is somewhere on the page], is that I can put anything on the page anywhere!!!!! Every other program that I've used had some stinkin' algorithm which could not be overridden preventing me from making the score look the way I wanted it to look because one or the other items could only go in a certain place. Then all of a sudden this AP comes along and I'm in some kind of Finale nightmare where I put something somewhere and it moves. Or worse it moves something else. Improve it! That's what you guys do and it's a beautiful thing. Just please please never make it so that it can't be disabled. Pretty please with ice cream?

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

Actually, MuseScore won't let you put anything anywhere on the page. One example is that you have to enter items from left to right in a measure. If I want to enter an eighth note at he end of a empty measure, I have to start filling in with something at the start. I Sibelius I can start at the beat I want.

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

As I said, generally speaking you can get incredibly efficient results with just small tweaks to your workflow, In this case, for example, probably a matter of being smarter about the order in which you do your adjustments. In order to be more specific, we'd need an example where describe what you try and what goes wrong, then we can probably show you a better way of getting the desired results.

But again, if in the end you are going to adjustment almost everything anyhow, you probably won't ever get to the point where leaving automatic placement on is faster for you, just at least not slower. It would still then have the advantage of making your scores more usable on mobile devices, FWIW.

Also, another approach is to disable autoplace just for certain element types while leaving it enables for others., which might turn out to be quite useful. Lots of flexibility here, and again, we're happy to help show you how to take advantage of. My guess is with not too much work, we could find ways of getting your scores looking the way you want with less effort than what you currently face with automatic placement disabled, and have them be adaptive to different mobile displays etc.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I probably should have stated my original posting more along the lines of "It doesn't work for me". I was in a mood because I was finishing up a score and I looked back and all my fingerings were scrambled around the page - I'd forgotten to disable the AP before I started. I would be a lot happier if I could really disable it globally - I mean for EVERY score that I open with my install of Musescore 3. I might even think of doing two installs. That way I could have it "wit" and "witout" the way we order our cheesesteaks here in the City of Brotherly Love!

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

Thanks for the example, I look forward to digging in deeper. I can see that as noted, the fingerings are the biggest issue, so just disabling autoplace for those would probably be useful, then the other markings like the lines could still be autoplaced (perhaps with a reduced "minimum distance" setting to keep them as tight against the notes & articulations as you have them). As it is, having disabled autoplace actually led to a few error here, like the continuation of the line into bar 16 colliding unnecessarily with the notes.

Anyhow, to address the point about disabling it more globally - that's quite possible already. Any style setting can be made a default simply by saving a score as a template and using that template (if you write a lot of guitar solo or guitar + single instrument, for example) or using Format / Save Style to save a style file and then specifying that as your default for non-template-based new scores, in Edit / Preferences / Score. But I'd recommend the template approach.

Or, better yet, adapting your workflow to leave autoplace enabled in general but simply disabling it for fingering. In your case, you probably also want to set "Minimum vertical distance" to zero or even a negative value to allow certain elements attached to one staff or system to overlap the one above, as you have done in measure 70, for example - or just disable autoplace for those few elements. As I said, I'd need to dig in deeper, and also check the other suggestions given here. But realistically, the few things I've tried so far make it pretty clear to me you could indeed achieve results like this much more easily and more reliably by leaving autoplace enabled and simplify customizing some of its defaults and aspects of your workflow.

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

Doing what I suggest the style file does that. It means even when writing music for other instruments you will lose this. so again, I don't recommend it compared to what doing it in a template so only your guitar scores have it disabled. But either way, it's not per-document - it's either program-wide, or all-scores-created-from-that-template-wide.

As for spending time, even if you're not interested in adapting your workflow in order to potentially work more efficiently (I get that just the time it takes to learn new methods might cost more than the time saved), others who haven't already worked out other methods no doubt still will want to learn how to be as efficient as possible. So it's still worth it to me to figure out what I can from your example in order to better assist others. But I won't worry about following up here; just having good suggestions for when others ask.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

One more thing Mark. When you say use on a mobile device you mean as a playback device or are you talking about what I see in my world: scores loaded on to tablets instead of printed on paper. I have begun to use musescore as a playback device for my students taking remote lessons during the pandemic. That is very interesting but another topic.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Two questions.
1. Are you saying that folks reading scores on their tablets are viewing the scores directly in Musescore? That would be new to me.
2. I have not had the experience that you mentioned in terms of disabling the auto placement. I had a score opened this morning. I disabled the AP and when I opened the next score that I needed to work on it the AP was back on. If there is a way to disable it at the program level I would like to know how to do that.

One final thing. I really appreciate your help but frankly don't appreciate your advice on how to conduct my public performances or about my workflow. First of all I was already a pro musician when you were born. Secondly you have no idea about my workflow or the way that I work. I've kept up with all of the technological advances that I'm aware of and if I don't use a tablet in certain circumstances there likely are reasons of which you are unaware. If you could keep your comments to the operation of the Musescore program that would work very well for me. Thanks very much.

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

Thanks again for your comments!

1) What people often do is view scores using MuseScore's own mobile apps on their tablets. So, not just viewing a PDF (although some do that as well), but actually using the MuseScore app. Using the app provides the ability to change font sizes and transpose, and the score automatically "reflows" accordingly. In order for the results to be readable when the score reflows, it is important that automatic placement be enabled. Otherwise, you end up with collisions all over the places as manual adjustments that were optimized for one layout turn out to be counterproductive in another. Of course, it is conceivable the mobile apps could simply enable autoplace themselves regardless of what was done in the original score (and ignore manual adjustments). Actually, for all I know, they may already do that.

2) To be clear: what I am suggesting regarding using templates changing style defaults is about creating having autoplace off by default in new scores. Scores already created with automatic placement enabled won't be affected by these or any other changes to your default styles. That wouldn't normally be advisable - style changes meant to apply to new scores normally would be harmful if applied to older scores as well. Although conceivably a plugin could be written to retroactively apply any given style setting to any given set of older scores.

3) It seems there has been a misunderstanding, for which I am sorry - apparently I was unclear. I did not actually say or imply anything at all about your own public performances; I merely related something about my own experience (and FWIW, I was born in 1965). I don't personally use a tablet much, and I am in absolutely no way suggesting you should consider one, either. I was merely mentioning that designing one's scores for mobile use could potentially be something to consider - because others who might eventually wish to read your score may well be choosing to view them that on mobile devices. It is not a concern for everyone - some produce scores for their own use only, or only for print use, and that is absolutely fine. It's just food for thought, something you might not have thought of.

4) I also apologize for any misunderstanding regarding my workflow suggestions. I completely respect your right to work as you like. I admit do like to help people be more efficient, but I acknowledge it is out of place for me to offer that help unsolicited, so I apologize. I'm working on not doing that so much...

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

Sorry, Russell, but the comments Marc has had for you are not in the least a criticism on your workflow or performance practice.. They are a reflection of the direction things have been going for a few decades now. Seems to me that if you want your scores to be viable going forward,(digital for those other than your students), then your scores are too "tight." Though fine for how you use them, now. That is not advice, that is an observation. I am curious as to the relevance of how long you've been a "pro." I'm still waiting for your answer to the statement I made earlier.

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

There isn't one at program level afaik. The closest would be to save a style file and set that as default so all new scores would be created with that setting.

To me, it also wouldn't make much sense to have such an override option, as the score you might be opening might just as well be from another user (or from musescore.com) where the correct layout of that score depends on automatic placement being enabled for that score.

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

Yes, as I tried to clarify above in point 2), the ability to set a default style is about creating new scores, not opening existing ones. And as @jeetee further explains, that''s normally as it needs to be, to avoid unintended changes to existing scores.

That said, there are any number of times when you might well want to force changes onto existing scores. Not just to disable autoclave, but any number of other things. Like maybe you're changing your house style font and want to quickly update your existing scores. So what there probably needs to be is a way to easily apply a group of style settings (the MSS file saved in Format / Save Style) to a group of existing scores.

My guess is the bones of this are present already. Perhaps a plugin can load a list of scores and load a style file into all of them (?). Or maybe a script can use the command-line options of MuseScore to do the conversion that way.

Anyone have any thoughts on how this could best be done currently?

And then indeed someday, it would also be possibility to create some sort of builtin facility to apply such a style retroactively. I would be wary of making it a preference that literally applied to all files, for the reasons @jeetee mentions and others, but a nice simply dialog to select folders or files to apply the house style to could be nice. Somehow it also seems connected to the suggestion we get periodically to allow one to change the font face for all text styles at once.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc thanks so much for your detailed responses and I could go point by point but why? I'm happy. I've been using Musescore since 1.something and I often said to myself "{this program is GREAT" but I never said "If only it had auto placement". I'm happy with it disabled. I can make the scores look exactly as I like and that's what I like. Thinking about if I do this first then it won't move that. What if I do that and then I change my mind about something in the earlier stage. Now EVERYTHING is going to be moved around. No. I'm good! THANKS

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

It is difficult to do statistics as to the time needed with and without AP, since one should engrave several scores twice, with and without AP and measure the time it takes. I guess no one would do that. But from my experience, AP solves most of the layout problems, leaves a few unsolved, and causes now and then very very few problems that would probably not happen without AP--and are easily corrected. This is surely the result of it being a relatively new and revolutionary feature and will undoubtly improve with succesive versions. But on the whole it does a pretty good job!
It helps trying to see the glass half full. And reporting specific poblems thay may remain so they can be fixed i the feature.

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

Your testimony is absolutely amazing, in every sense of the word. I'm a professional guitarist and teacher myself. My own testimony would be the exact opposite of what you're reporting.

All the previous versions were nothing but frustration for me as far as grasping the guitar fingerings is concerned: double-click for each fingering systematically, going back and forth from the palette to the score systematically as well. I was annoyed several times to spend so much time on fingerings (I'm also used to use a lot of them for my students' scores).

And everything has changed since version 3.1 (a lot of thanks to Marc for this) and a kind of input mode for entering fingerings.

In fact, I'm wondering if you're aware of this progress (see this thread https://musescore.org/en/node/299958#comment-973127, and Gif included), and other possibilities (you're talking about string numbers, for instance) to pass them above or below the staff with the shortcut "X", or if needed, to disable automatic placement for either with the shortcut "=", or with Alt + mouse drag.
In addition, there is the possibility to customize the default position (X/Y settings) of fingerings in Format/Style/Text Styles -> Fingering, RH Fingering and LH Fingering.

If, despite everything, you know all this, and still get embarrassed, it would be nice to provide a really short and simple example (a new score of a few measures), and tell us exactly where you are embarrassed when you want to customize the placement of a fingering or string number.

In reply to by cadiz1

Thanks for the cool way to enter fingerings. I'll definitely give that a try. Your scores are beautiful and it's nice to meet a fellow luter, or enthusiast whichever applies.

In reply to by soeleosMusic

It's not possible to turn it off completely, nor is likely to ever be. But, you are on a several-years-old version, and it's been improved greatly since and is much more flexible. First update to 3.6.2, then if you continue to have some sort of problem, please start a new thread, attach your score, and describe what you are having trouble with. Then we're happy to assist!

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Try holding down the shift key and then clicking, one at a time whilst holding down the shift key, in this order 1 2 3 - either at the beginning of an old score or at the start of a new score. That should switch off auto placement completely for the chosen score and you can toggle on or off using the same key combination. I am on version 3.6.2

In reply to by tubascuba

If that does something, it must be that you customized this shortcut yourself - the internal command has no default shortcut. but also, note it only disables a portion of automatic placement, and as noted, only for the score, and also as noted, it has nothing whatsoever to do with notes. So it's unlikely to be of help to the actual issue at hand, which I think will turn out to be a simple misunderstanding regarding how MuseScore works with notes and beats.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I like the way 3.6.2 opens 2.3.2 scores in revised format, so one can easily see the effect of changes, and gives the option to save in revised format when the score is closed. So far I have liked the new format, but haven't yet saved it, attempted to edit in it, or used 3.6.2 to create new scores. But I am now optimistic that I will want to finally (7/2022) transition to the new version. However, as has been noted, one can have both 3.6.2 and 2.3.2 available, and use the latter, at least in Windows 10, to avoid all new features. (I'm not certain that 2.3.2 works in Windows 11.)

In reply to by soeleosMusic

I think you're misunderstanding what automatic placement is, though. It has nothing whatsoever to do with notes, so there is no "note-by-note" bethod for controlling it. It's about other markings like text. I see you're also dealing with PDF import. My guess is the problems you are actually having are not about automatic placement at all, but instead, about correcting basic rhythmic errors caused by the program you used to attempt to convert PDF into music. Again, not at all related to automatic placement, but indeed, correctly the sort of error those AI programs typically make can be tricky. So here again, best to start a new thread and attaching your score and describe the specific problem you are trying to solve, and we're happy to help!

Look, I'm obviously not up to the musical level of most musescore users, so you might think that I would profit most by Auto Placement. And, indeed, I might want want to experiment with it going forward. However, I just didn't like what AP does to my older scores, and I don't like having to turn it off every time I load a score. So I simply won't use v. 3 in its present form, and I even wonder if I should continue to support the musescore project, since I can't understand why the projects' expert designers won't give me the option of setting AP off by default and toggling it on when I want it.

In reply to by mfn

Hmm, I think maybe you're a bit behind. We added more options to disable autoplace over a year ago. We also made it so you don't actually need to disable it in order to move elements around in most cases. It's also the case that when importing older scores, you are given additional options to control how manual adjustments are treated. Since each score is different, it makes sense to evaluate whether autoplace will help or not per score. But FWIW, the next update will also have an option to not show the dialog.

We also stand ready to help you see how you can get the best of all worlds: resetting what makes sense to reset, adjusting what makes sense, and disabling autoplace in those few places where that makes sense. Feel free to start a new thread, attach a score where you are having problems, and we can most likely show you how to have it looking better than ever in very little time.

But also, you are welcome to just keep using MuseScore 2 for your older scores that depend on its quirks/limitations/bugs, and take advantage of the power and efficiency of autoplace in MuseScore 3 for your newer scores.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I know there are all kinds of disable options, but I don't want to deal with these issues on a score by score basis, every time I open a score. I don't want to feel that I am at war with the program! I just want to have fun using it in my quirky and surely misguided way. What would it cost you to give me the options I requested (AP off by default, but can be toggled on)? One new option, among the hundreds you already offer. Honestly, I am puzzled by your resistance to this. Incidentally, I really like other features of the program, and have recommended it to a number of professional musicians who were unaware of it.

In reply to by mfn

As I said, those options were already added, over a year ago. Turn off autoplace using the command we added back with 3.1, and you can go back to having to constantly adjust the positions of everything manually yourself again if that pleases you. If you wish to apply this to all new scores, simply make that your default style. And as I also said, the dialog asking you about reset for older scores will be possible to dismiss permanently starting with the next update. So everything you are asking for is already implemented. But I also promise you - if you use MsueScore as is for new scores, you will not feel like you are at way with it. On the contrary, you'll be constantly amazed at just how much better it is not to have to fight to avoid collisions like you used to.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hi, I apologize for butting in here. How do I turn off Automatic Placement? I will be happy to try it out in the future, but right now it is making entering my music impossible. For example, I have one measure that is in 4/4 time. Given that, I should be able to write the equivalent of 4 quarter notes in that measure without any problems.
I tried to put a dotted half note and one triplet (3 eighth notes) in that measure. The dotted half note would take up three beats, and the triplet takes up one beat, which makes up the four beats of the measure. This is what I did.
Auto Placement did not approve. It:
1. put a rest in before the first note. It took me some time to get rid of that rest.
2. put extra rests in as I tried to build the triplet. Sometimes the rests showed up between the notes, and sometime they clustered at the end of the measure.
3. I tried to delete the excess rests, and could not do so. The program completely ignored my keystrokes, or it popped rests around in different spots in the measure, (including in the middle of the triplet). And on and on it went. I spent at least a half hour trying to input one measure of music before I quit.

I have signed up for the MuseScore course, and have made use of a number of the lessons. But I cannot find anything that helps with this problem. I have been reading, playing, singing music most of my life, so I have a good background there. Life would be so much easier if I could just shut Automatic Placement off. I'll try to learn to use it when I don't have a deadline.
Marjorie Task

In reply to by mtask12

Automatic placement has absolutely nothing to do with that - it is not about counting beats, but about avoiding collisions between elements. It's not clear what you're doing wrong, but certainly you can put a dottedn half and a triplets in a 4/4 measure if you want. Please start a new threats, attach your score, and describe precise what you are trying to do and how you are trying to do it, and we'll be able to help you.

For the record, here's the correct way:

1) enter note input mode
2) select half note duration
3) select dot
4) enter the first note (click in staff or type letter name)
5) select quarter note duration
6) press Ctrl+3 to make it a triplet
7) enter the three notes

When you do this there will be no rests left - all four beats will be full of notes.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Agreed. Plus I think that part of the problem here is in one of the many ways notation software differs (in a good way) from writing on paper. On paper you start with blank measures. You have to add notes and rests. In MuseScore, measures already have rests. All you need to do (mostly) is add notes. Rests take care of themselves. It is difficult for me to remember ever having to add a rest, unless it was to change a note to a rest.

In reply to by soeleosMusic

I can understand how you feel. The change from the old MuseScore (where dynamics and text elements could collide and overlay each other) to the new MuseScore (with Automatic Placement to avoid collisions) is a steep learning curve. To start with I too was reluctant to change from MS2.

But I can assure you that if you upgrade to MS 3.6.2 and persist with using it until it feels comfortable, you will be astonished how much better the experience is.

If you really don't want to use Automatic Placement, you can download MS 2.3.2 (the last and best MS2 release) from a link on this web page:

If you have created scores in MS3, you cannot open the *.mscz files with MS2. But you can export these MS3 scores to MusicXML format, then open the MusicXML file in MS2. Your layouts may get changed a bit during that process!

In reply to by DanielR

And upon reading your assurances, @DanielR, I concluded that you are not a guitarist, and you seem to presume that my use-case is on a beginner level. I arrange and transcribe professionally, have a degree in performance and a master's in comp, trying to use this 'tool' on an advanced level. My note has NOTHING to do with dynamics OR text placement, and further convinces me that your reference point is to a use-case entirely unrelated to use-case scenarios for guitarists.
Auto-placement makes unfeasible (leaving dynamics aside) chord-notation (i.e "A-7"), left-hand notation, right-hand notation, string numbers, and position (roman numerals) on one staff. These are the guitar essentials.
Auto-placement appears to does not allow placing these notations in the staff, where guitarists would expect to find these notations, when placing (for example) the letter "i: (denoting "indice "), while at the same time using the number "1" for the first finger of the left hand. Auto placement forces these denotations be side-by-side or better said, barring their placement in what most guitarists would consider a 'usable.' Guitar music requires, in some passages, dense notation on one staff makes the job or arranging for guitar is somewhat of an art form. Auto-placement crushes that use-case.
I owned and operated a software company. We won 14 national awards for user design and technical achievement. We wrote games for Star Wars I, and that little test SAT/ACT -- I engineered that software for the Princeton Review After that, I led a graduate program in Interactive software design for 8 years. My translation of the phrase "steep learning curve" == poorly designed software. Whoever the developer was thought it was cool, or just did not pay careful attention to use-case scenarios, which has rendered the software "unusable."
The "bad" in this situation belongs to the software developer, who apparently made the executive decision that "one size fits all," and worse of all, auto-placement is not optional. The idea that there is no way to disable auto-placement globally is rather presumptive and authoritarian. Do your users a favor, make a disable button for the love of the almighty.

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In reply to by soeleosMusic

I do think you credit Automatic Placement for more than what it does (basic collision avoidance). But having it enabled by now way prevents placing the R.H. fingering "i" into the staff, I can still place it right there, without having to turn off Automatic Placement:

What I'd then be interested in is an example of such a slightly more crammed notation. Your experience with those transcriptions vastly outshines mine, so all I can ask is that you employ it to elaborate and educate us with it.
My stance is that it's quite likely that for some elements automatic placement will have to be disabled, but that it'll be the minority of elements. And there's in my (though more limited) experience a good chance that the amount of customization required in MS3.6.2 will turn out to be less than the one needed in 2.3.2. So I'd like to put that theory to the test with an example, if you'd be willing to provide one.

In reply to by soeleosMusic

Indeed, to be clear: automatic placement most certainly does not prevent elements from being placed on the staff. At least it hasn't in any version for the past three years. I'm not sure what exactly is going wrong for you that is making it appear this doesn't work, but we're here to help. I recommend you a new thread with an actual score (not just a picture) attached, and describe what you are trying to do more precisely - which specific marking you are trying to place on the staff, how you are trying to do it, and what goes wrong when you try. Then we should be able to understand and assist better.

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

Hmm, I think you may be misunderstanding what autoplace is and what it does. Without it, your default layout would be terrible and requires hours of fixup for every score. And even without disabling it, you can already perform most manual adjustments to fine tune things further. Many many improvements were made since the original implementation back in 2018!

But if you believe you have found a score where it causes more problems than it solves - which would be incredibly rare), please start a new thread (rather than responding to this one from over half a decade ago) and attach the score in which you believe autoplace is causing problems. Then we can investigate, and if on the extremely rare outside chance it would actually be improved by disabling it, we’ll show you how - that option was added many years ago already.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Please, please. EVERY time I ask about this I get insulted. I misunderstand NOTHING. Sending you a score would lead to more insults [I've done it before and that was the result.] The final score has nothing to do with this. My objection has to do NOT with the resulting score but with my work flow. The autoplace SLOWS ME DOWN. I, ME, MYSELF want to determine where objects lay on the page and I don't want them moved once I place them. When that occurs it KILLS my workflow. I now have to disable the autoplace and move things about the page again, often multiple items. Yes I put things too close but I have very specific requirements for pagination, number of pages etc. This is NOT some kind of hobby. I'm a pro and I'm producing scores to be used and NO ONE can decide for me how the score should look for the particular application. Another thing STOP STOP telling me what happens AT MY DESK. I was a user before autoplace appeared and you have NO KNOWLEDGE of what it does to my work flow. If there is a way to disable it permanently on a program level I'd like to know that. I already know how to disable it on single objects or classes of objects. What I'd like is a program level way to disable it so I do NOT have to do it repeatedly. One more thing: I happen to be a VERY experienced music typographer. My first program [circa 1988] was the original DOS version of SCORE. I did eventually upgrade to the Windows version and have used Finale, SIbelius, Cakewalk, Lillypond and a few Linux systems which I don't remember the names of because I only tried them a few times. So when you tell me I don't know how to use Musescore it's taken as an insult. What I most liked about Musescore was my ability to place things on the page as I felt worked best for the task at hand. I can still do that. It just takes longer. To repeat and emphasize: if you've got a way to disable the annoyance on a program level in such a way that I don't have to do it each time I work on a score that would be appreciated. Otherwise I don't require any more help. Thanks.

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

Hmm, I’m not dsure where you perceive you have been insulted - certainly no one on this thread has insulted you or anyone else. but if someone else insulted you in some other thread, I apologize on their behalf.

Anyhow, the offer stands. Start as new thread, attach your score, describe the problem that you believe autoplace is causing, and we can investigate, and show you how to disable it if that truly would help.

In reply to by Russell Ferrara

Again, no one here has insulted anyone else.

Yes, five years ago autoplace was less forgiving and often needs to be disabled on an element-by-element basis to achieve certain results. That’s why we made extensive changes so that people would no longer feel the need for this. Which is why virtually no one brings it up anymore and why the only thread you found on the subject dates from back before those changes - we really did a great job here of satisfying the needs of users and allowing you to produce more professional results more easily.

But anyhow, that option isn’t the whole story. There are multiple aspects to how layout works, and multiple options and parameters controlling it. The best approach depends on the score and the specific results you are trying to achieve with it. So again, the offer stands - we are ready and willing to help should you wish to save yourself time and effort.

I'm having problems with this also. I always have to click "No" in the dialog box and even after that, it counts the score as unsaved. even if I haven't changed it at all. I'd like to turn it off until I feel the need to investigate what it does and try it out. I just don't have time to read about all of the new stuff that comes out and don't want to have a permanent alert about it. I'd like the dialog box to have a simple "Don't show this message again."

In reply to by Rockhoven

That is completely unrelated - it has nothing at all to do with autoplace or with manual adjustments. It’s because t file format itself changed from MuseScore 2 to 3. Easiest way to avoid that is to simply go ahead and save. But this is best discussed in a separate thread since it has nothing at all to do with autoplace.

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