Editing the Handbook

    To ensure consistency of style, the initial content of this handbook will be created by MuseScore's internal team. We will open it up to community editing and translation at a later date. In the meantime, please do not edit pages in this handbook unless asked to do so by a member of the internal team. Thank you!

    Link to add a child page: https://musescore.org/en/node/add/book4?parent=329209

    Guidelines for writing articles

    So you'd like to contribute to the MuseScore 4 handbook – great! We're so happy you're here.

    This page contains brief guidelines to get you started with writing articles. Please read this page carefully before editing anything in our handbook. This information is intended to help, but if you're in doubt about anything or have any questions, please join the discussion on the Documentation forum.

    Structure - General principles

    Each page should explain a single topic more or less completely. If a page feels like it is getting too long, try splitting it into separate pages.

    Not every page is identical, but keeping the following in mind can help you structure your page content in a way that's easy to understand for the reader:

    Start with an overview

    Starting your page with an overview can help introduce a topic before launching into details. Overviews don't usually need a section heading.

    Establish a hierarchy

    Think about what most users will be trying to achieve, and why they might be coming to the handbook to look for information. Put solutions for the most common tasks towards the top of the page; less commonly needed information can go towards the bottom.

    Group information logically

    Related concepts should be discussed together. This may sometimes require less-commonly-used features to be discussed alongside more-commonly used ones, but that's okay.

    Focus on user tasks, not just UI components

    For instance, a section about "Creating custom key signatures" is better than a section called "Using the master palette".

    Create a table of contents

    Please be sure to enable the "Generate a table of contents" option for all Handbook pages.

    Headings

    In an effort to ensure consistency of style for community-written pages, we have already provided headings on many pages. Please organise your content within this structure. For pages that lack headings, feel free to create your own in a style similar to that used elsewhere.

    For accessibility reasons, headings should never be formatted in regular bold text. All headings need to be formatted as tags with semantic meaning.

    All pages start by default with a Heading 1. The first section heading you will enter will therefore always be a Heading 2. Please also don’t skip heading levels (By, for example, adding a heading 4 after a heading 2).

    Heading level Usage and markdown syntax
    Heading 1 Default for all page headings (Not editable by contributors)
    Heading 2 Use for the start of every section. Markdown syntax: ## Heading name
    Heading 3 Use for the start of every sub-section, and to introduce single-step instructions (I.e. where a list is not necessary). Markdown syntax: ### Heading name
    Heading 4 Use sparingly if additional sub-sections are required. Markdown syntax: #### Heading name

    Lastly, try to always start your headings with a verb. E.g. "Adding time signatures", rather than "Time signatures"

    Content

    The MuseScore handbook broadly contains two main types of information: descriptive material, and goal-oriented instructions.

    Descriptive material refers to explanations of different parts of the program. For example,

    A Palette is a folder containing musical symbols which can be applied to the score. Musescore's default palettes contain collections of related symbols, but you can customize palettes to display almost any kind of symbol, line or text.

    Goal-oriented instructions take the form of a numbered list, explaining how to perform a specific task. For example,

    To create a new palette

    1. Open the palettes tab
    2. Click Add palettes
    3. Click Create custom palette
    4. Name your new palette and click Create

    The main difference between these two types of information is that, while descriptive material tends to be longer and more “fleshed out”, goal-oriented instructions should be as short and direct as possible.

    In both cases, we ask you to use simple, plain language wherever you can.

    When writing goal-oriented instructions, please:

    • Use only numbered lists (no dot points)
    • Begin each numbered instruction with a verb
    • Write only one task/direction per numbered item

    For example, instead of writing this:

    1. Open the palettes tab and click Add palettes

    Please write this:

    1. Open the palettes tab
    2. Click Add palettes

    Finally, the MuseScore 4 handbook will now adopt bold text for named components of the user interface. Keyboard shortcuts will continue to be rendered with <kbd> tags (see Syntax). Where available, please also be sure to include keyboard options for goal-oriented instructions. This is especially important for improving the program's accessibility.

    Use of non-written media

    The use of non-written media is encouraged as a supplement to written descriptions. This includes:

    • Animated GIFs
    • Screenshots of relevant parts of the user interface

    Creating animated GIFs

    Animated GIFs offer many advantages over screenshots and videos in that they expose in the shortest amount of time the sequence of actions required to achieve a particular task. There are lots of tools available for creating GIFs, however we recommend the following workflow to ensure crisp and clear image quality while maintaining as small as possible file size (ideally <2MB per GIF).

    • Use only the MuseScore 4 interface, and set its appearance to dark mode with blue highlights (to achieve consistency across the entire handbook)
    • Plan and rehearse the mouse clicks and keyboard shortcuts you will use, aiming to demonstrate the required steps in as short as possible time (ideally <10s)
    • Use a free tool like gifcap to record the contents of your screen
    • Use a free tool like KeyCastr to record keystrokes (where required)
    • Only show the amount of UI required demonstrate a particular task

    Linking to other pages

    It's really helpful to link to other pages in the handbook. You might do this wherever you mention a different part of the user interface, or even when referring back to previous versions of the handbook.

    There is a specific process for adding links to other handbook pages, which will allow accurate redirects regardless of the language version being read.

    Use the right syntax

    [node:######,title="Name of the page you want to link to"]

    Link to the page's node number, not the page's URL

    To find a page's node number:

    1. Open the desired page in your browser
    2. Click the "three dots" icon in the top-right of the page
    3. Click Edit in the context menu that appears
    4. Click on your browser's search bar to read the URL

    You will find the page's node number in the URL address visible in this edit screen (yes, it only appears in the edit screen). It will look something like this:
    Image showing where to find a page's node number

    Syntax

    The handbook is written in Markdown with a few permitted HTML tags.

    If you're not familiar with Markdown, it doesn't take long to learn. Get started by reading this page first (a MuseScore account is required to properly view the content on that page, also note that you cannot use Filtered HTML).