Copy and paste

    The cut, copy, and paste commands are powerful tools in MuseScore. They can be used to reproduce entire passages of music, to move music earlier or later, to copy text or other markings between staves, to exchange the content in different measures, and more.

    Accessing the commands

    In all cases, the first step is to select what you want to cut or copy.

    As with other programs that support cut, copy, and paste, you can access these commands from the Edit menu, from a context menu that appears upon right-click or related gesture (e.g., Ctrl+click, or two-finger tap), or via the standard keyboard shortcuts.

    Command Shortcut (Windows) Shortcut (Mac) Context menu Main menu
    Cut Ctrl+X Cmd+X Cut Edit→Cut
    Copy Ctrl+C Cmd+C Copy Edit→Copy
    Paste Ctrl+V Cmd+V Paste Edit→Paste
    Swap with clipboard Ctrl+Shift+X Cmd+Shift+X Swap with Clipboard Edit→Swap with clipboard
    Paste half duration Ctrl+Shift+Q Cmd+Shift+Q N/A Edit→Paste half duration
    Paste double duration Ctrl+Shift+W Cmd+Shift+W N/A Edit→Paste double duration

    Note: When using the context menu, take care to always right-click on a selected item; if you right-click on an empty space by mistake your selection will be lost!

    Copying a range

    To copy a range—whether a single chord, a single measure, several measures on one staff, or multiple measures across multiple staves—do the following:

    1. Select the range you want to copy
    2. Use the Copy command from the menu or press Ctrl+C (Mac: Cmd+C)
    3. Select the first note or rest of the destination
    4. Use the Paste command from the menu or press Ctrl+V (Mac: Cmd+V)

    Copying a range (animated image)

    Copied music will replace the existing content of the destination. All elements in the selected range will be copied, with the exception of system-wide elements such as tempo text, key and time signature changes, and repeats. You can use the Selection Filter to exclude other elements of a given type from the operation.

    Copying a single element or list of elements

    MuseScore allows you to copy lyrics, chord symbols, dynamics, articulation, or other markings from one place to another while keeping the notes in the destination intact. For chord symbols and dynamics, MuseScore will preserve the relative beat positions of the markings if possible. For lyrics and articulations, MuseScore will copy note by note.

    To copy a single element or list of elements to a new destination:

    1. Select the elements you want to copy
    2. Use the Copy command from the menu or press Ctrl+C (Mac: Cmd+C)
    3. Select the first note or rest of the destination
    4. Use the Paste command from the menu or press Ctrl+V (Mac: Cmd+V)

    Moving elements

    In MuseScore, cut and paste is way to move element from one location to another. This can be used to move a passage from a flute part to a clarinet part, from one measure to another within a single part, or simply shift a passage earlier or later. The latter is especially useful as a way to “insert” or “delete” a note or rest while shifting existing notes to the right or left. Simply cut and paste the notes you wish to shift to their new position.

    To move a selection:

    1. Select what you want to move
    2. Use the Cut command from the menu or press Ctrl+X (Mac: Cmd+X)
    3. Select the first note or rest of the destination
    4. Use the Paste command from the menu or press Ctrl+V (Mac: Cmd+V)

    Swapping a selection with the clipboard

    The swap with clipboard command combines two operations into one: (1) First it overwrites a selected part of the score with the contents of the clipboard, just like the paste command; (2) Second, it transfers the overwritten part of the score back to the clipboard, just like the copy command.

    It can be used, for example, to swap two equal-length sections of a score, A and B:

    1. Select section A
    2. Apply the cut command
    3. Select section B
    4. Apply the swap with clipboard command to paste A over the contents of B while moving the contents of B to the clipboard
    5. Select section A again (or just the first note, rest, or measure)
    6. Apply the paste command

    Like the other commands discussed here, you can access the swap with clipboard command from the menu or via a keyboard shortcut—in this case, it is Ctrl+Shift+X (Mac: Cmd+Shift+X).

    Repeating a selection

    A common use for copy and paste is to duplicate a given passage immediately after the original. MuseScore provides a special repeat selection command to simplify this process. To quickly repeat a note, chord, measure, or other passage to the location immediately following the selection:

    1. Select the passage to be repeated
    2. Press R

    Unlike the other commands discussed here, repeat selection works in note input mode and it repeats the entire chord containing the selected note. This is useful for creating a series of repeated chords.

    Copying a selection to multiple staves

    If you wish to copy a passage to multiple staves—for instance, to double a flute part in the oboes and clarinets—you can use the explode command:

    1. Select the passage you wish to copy
    2. Extend the selection to include the staves below (e.g., by pressing Shift+)
    3. Use Tools→Explode

    This copies the original selection, assuming it contains only single notes—no chords and no multiple voices. If there are chords or multiple voices, then these are distributed among the remaining staves as described in the section on the explode command.

    Paste half/double duration

    If you have entered a passage using mostly eighth notes but wish to halve the entire passage to using mostly sixteenth notes, or double it to quarter notes, MuseScore provides a pair of special commands to accomplish this. You can either modify the durations of a selection in place or create a separate copy of the passage with the modified durations. To halve or double the duration of a passage:

    1. Select a range to modify
    2. Use the copy command
    3. If you wish to create a separate copy of the passage with the modified durations, select the destination
    4. Use the paste half duration or paste double duration command

    Duplicating individual elements

    Individual elements—even those that are not normally copied as part of a range select, like time signatures or voltas—can be duplicated using the mouse:

    1. While pressing Ctrl+Shift (Mac: Cmd+Shift), and click and hold on an element
    2. Drag it anywhere in the score
    3. When you release the mouse button, the selected element is copied to the new location

    Duplicating a hairpin (animated image)

    See also