Automatic placement--way to disable??

• Apr 8, 2020 - 16:17

I do not want to take the time explain why I need to be able to turn off auto placement; I just need to know if there is a way to disable it. I know what I'm doing and why I need it; there's no need to spend time there. I just need to know if there is a way to disable it. Thanks.


Even though you say you would rather not take the time to explain your request (which would take only a couple of minutes I suspect), I will nonetheless attempt to help by saying that if you change your mind and decide to explain, probably we can help show you how to save hours of time by learning how to work with autoplace. While it is possible to disable in a number of different ways, almost always this ends up causing things to take far longer than they would be if you left it enabled. Spending a few minutes now explaining your use case now and listening to our suggestions will almost certainly save hours upon hours of work later. So I do encourage you to take advantage of our offer.

That said, sure, you can disable automatic placement in any of the following ways:

For a single element, press "=", or uncheck "Automatic placement" in the Inspector. Or, to allow some overlap with other elements but still take advantage of the many other benefits of autoplace, simply decrease the "Minimum distance" setting. You can also press the "Set as style" button on that to apply that same minimum distance to all elements of the type. But note, this is almost never necessary, you can freely move elements without wasting time first disabling autoplace for them.

To disable the automatic alignment of lyrics across the system, see Style / General / Score and set "Vertical align range" to "Measure" or "Segment". Right next to that is a "Min. vertical distance" setting for collisions between staves, you can set that negative if you prefer to see collisions between elements below one staff and above the next, or if you prefer resolving those collisions manually.

To absolutely guarantee you have the greatest opportunty to resolve collisions and perform alignment manually, you can indeed disable autoplace completely. Go to Edit / Preferences / Shortcuts as mentioned and defining your own shortcut for that command. On macOS, you need to figure out their unique menu organization system to replace that sequence with whatever the Mac equivalent is, I guess maybe Preferences is in some sort of system or application menu.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks for the info; I will have to see which best suits what I need.

I make many, many scores for young learners (like hundreds). For some pieces, I highlight literally every note to label it with system text, and other scores have many other system text notes added. I do not want to have to uncheck the box for every, single system text I put in the score when it could be over 20 things added. It's incredibly time consuming. So tomorrow I will go through what you've written to see if I can just disable it altogether because writing system text beside notes is 99% of how I use Musescore, and if it's not disabled, it creates huge spaces and messes the whole thing up. I just don't want it at all for my purposes.

Thanks for the response. --Kris

In reply to by Kittyko

Ok, I've taken a closer look at what you've read...unfortunately, because I have a Mac, I don't know how to disable it completely. I may have to just go back to a previous version of Musescore to write the scores for younger children, which is unfortunate. I hope Musescore adds an (easy to find) option to disable it for more than one thing at a time.

In reply to by Kittyko

Can you attach a sample score? as I said, it should not be necessary to disable autoplace just to add a system text. Not sure where the "huge spaces" you are referring to come from, but most likely there is an extremely simple solution. For instance, if the goal is to label individual notes, you might find using fingering works better.

As I said, we really want to help. I too have created hundreds of educational handouts and worksheets combining music and text in all sorts of interesting ways, and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I needed to disable autoplace. On the contrary, once I set up my style settings to work the way I wanted for a particular group of worksheets, autoplace makes my job a ton easier, virtually eliminating the need for manual adjsutments.

So again, we stand ready to help here. If you attach a sample score and explain what you are trying to do and what about autoplace seems to be getting in your way, we can almost certainly get you straightened out and able to save more time than you ever thought possible!

As an example: here is a sample handout of mine, and I never once needed to disable autoplace or indeed perform any manual adjustments aside from pressing "X" to flip a couple of text elements from above to below the staff:

I have created a custom palette that allows me to add these yellow hightlighted text elements quickly and easily, also a set of arrows, highlighting, and other annotations.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Hi, thanks for your reply. I am thinking that perhaps what I was seeing was some sort of bug/glitch. Right away when I updated, every time I put in system text (highlight a note/add system text with a note name, like "C"), as soon as I'd move the text closer to the note, the treble & bass clef would separate by at least 2 inches. And the text that I'd added was just a letter, font maybe 12 pt. Now when I do that, it doesn't happen anymore (at least not in a while). The weird thing is that I haven't changed anything--no additional updates, etc., and I'm doing the same procedure I've always done. It just quit doing that for some reason. If it happens again, I will attach a photo.

I appreciate the time you've put into this problem. I hope it just goes away, as it seems to have in the last couple of days!

In reply to by Kittyko

You're welcome! We definitely want to help you do things as efficiently as possible. One thing that might have happened - if you attach text to one staff, then drag it to appear on another, autoplace won't understand that was your goal and will think you just want the text far away from the original staff, and will push the other staff further away. The lesson being: don't do that, always attach to the staff you want. My guess is this is what happened. But if it does happen again, instead of a photo, it will be much more useful if you can attach the actual score.

System text normally would not be the right kind of text to label notes. It always appears above the top staff of a score, so if there are multiple staves, and you are trying to label something on the second staff or below, it won't work. You should normally be using staff text (Ctrl+T) for text you want to appear above a specific staff. But as mentioned, really, if the goal is to place the text next to the note, fingering is usually even better.

For note names specifically, though, you don't necessarily even need text at all: MuseScore 3 supports names directly within the noteheads, if that's something you want. Right-click the staff, Staff Properties, Advanced Style Properties, select the desired Notehead scheme (there are also solfege options, etc).

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Please, please, please provide a simpler way to set MuseScore to cut out Automatic Placement by default, and a corresponding control to engage AP on particular old or new scores. There have been many forum requests for this, and I think that there are many others who would appreciate it. I don't understand why there seems to be so much resistance to this. Would it be very difficult to write the code? Is there some moral principle involved?

In reply to by mfn

I don't think it'd be particularly difficult to code (but it might be time consuming due to the number of places in code involved).
Then again, disabling automatic placement is just a keyboard shortcut away for those who do wish to disable it.

But so far, from all people requesting it there is about 1 advanced user with a legitimate use case. Then there are those requesting it where, when asked about their problems, it wouldn't be solved by disabling automatic placement (especially not for all elements); simply because they attributed certain layout behaviors to AP while they weren't.

AP is nothing more than vertical collision avoidance. Disabling it will simply lead to more overlapping stuff by default, then making those harder to select when you do wish to position them.

So I'd like to ask you the same question; what do you hope to gain by having AP off by default for all elements in your scores? Bonus points if you can provide an example score.

In reply to by jeetee

And I would add that, by experience on other forums too (of guitar, not to mention them!), any request of globally disabling automatic placement is simply due to a total or partial ignorance of the new ways implemented since 3.1 (shortcuts "X", and "=", and Alt + mouse drag), so many new means that allow to work with all the advantages of automatic placement without the drawbacks of the old versions and their collisions between elements.
It's even sometimes mind-boggling to discover that a user is disabling in the Inspector the automatic placement of each (!) painfully added fingerings (e.g.) as the "old" way, simply due of this ignorance of new implementation and other advantages.

So, central point: first learn how to use the "new" version 3 instead of "falling back" on previous versions. The little time you will spend to do it will make you incredibly time and comfort for your other following scores.
As requested, providing a short and precise example of a score where you have some difficulty would be useful to better understand your concern(s)

In reply to by cadiz1

We are speaking past each other. Your idea is that a feature should not be introduced unless the requester can convince experts that it is necessary. My requested feature is definitely not necessary and I have never claimed that it is necessary. My idea is that the developers might consider adding the feature just because some people would like to have it, provided that it is easy to code and would not detract from the experience of other users.

I am surprised and a bit disappointed that a request on this sort produces harsh and angry responses ("total or partial ignorance"). Is that really appropriate? If, in my university classroom, one of my students asked an uninformed question, I wouldn't think of censoring him or her in that way.

In reply to by mfn

This is not a university classroom, but a forum for the design and debugging of a product, whose user interface and user experience, as of any such, should reflect careful design, integrity, and predictability. "Convince experts that it is necessary" sounds good to me. "Aw, just stick it on, who can it hurt?" sounds like a recipé for chaos and undocumentability, and future bugs when something changes that affects it. "See how to explain or architect what we have so it solves your problem" sounds better in the long run than "stick it on; what the hell?" I have worked with systems, such as the menagerie of UNIX ("Linux") commands conforming to the latter model, or lack thereof. I prefer design integrity and order to "why not?".

In reply to by mfn

Well.. there is some merit in validating the use case of a requested feature, even if implementing it might not be too hard. Because it is not just implementing it; it is also supporting it, dealing with potential bugs from it etc down the years.

So yes, it is always a question of weighing the effort versus the usability gain. So far, over the past year, I have come across exactly 1 use-case where disabling automatic placement can make sense. And that is an advanced engraver with a specific target type of scores. But even in that scenario it doesn't make sense to disable it for all elements in his score, just for the fingerings.

If 10 people ask for a 5th wheel on their car because they believe it would help them turn on their lights better compared to their 4 wheel car; then yes, I wouldn't expect the manufacturer to put in that 5th wheel.

Even besides that, there is the option of just a single keyboard shortcut that does disable automatic placement for all elements in a score.

In reply to by jeetee

Such a keystroke would be a horror if you hit it accidentally (it would have no immediate visible effect, but lie there like a viper waiting to strike). It would generate "why can't musescore not keep these elements from overlaying each other?" bug reports, all of which were accidental striking of that keystroke (cf., Why aren't my repeats in the MP3 I made?).

In reply to by mfn

In response to this comment:

Sorry, my terms "total or partial ignorance" (of the new features of MuseScore, do we agree on that?) are assumed on my part. And ignorance as far as I know is not an ugly word (in the sense that something you don't know, something you haven't learned, not yet learned)

In short, something you haven't learned yet, what's crazy about that, whether for myself or for my guitar students?) Or let's look for a synonym that offends you a bit less than that, if you want, so that the way of saying it is a bit less harsh at first glance.
For example: unfamiliarity, lack of knowledge, lack of avareness?
It's played a bit on the words, but if you prefer one of them, a bit softer to your ears, why not :)

In any case, these are not free words, it's not a kind of disrespect on my part, it's only and only, as said above, the result of pure and simple and real observation of many users (here on this forum or on other forums - says guitar).

So, we must repeat: start by attaching a score, and tell us what you are doing, how you are doing it, and tell us precisely what is bothering you. With that alone, we'll do, you'll take a big step forward.

In reply to by mfn

To be clear: we have seen the requests and have responded by providing many ways to disable otherwise customize autoplace behavior. Enable/disable by single element, change the minimum distance for single elements or as a style for all elements of that type, minimum vertical distance style setting, and a global style setting. So it isn't clear what additional controls you might need?

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