Using the palettes


    The Palettes panel contains musical symbols that can be applied to your score. These symbols are organized into a number of different palettes such as Key Signatures and Articulations. There is a basic set of palettes that are shown by default, but MuseScore also provides optional palettes you can add easily, and you can also create and customize your own palettes.

    Accessing the palettes panel

    The Palettes panel is normally displayed on the left sidebar of the main window. There are three tabs displayed at the top of the sidebar: Palettes, Instruments, and Properties. If one of the other tabs is currently being displayed in the sidebar, click the Palettes tab to display the palettes instead.


    You can open and close the Palettes panel using View→Palettes or the keyboard shortcut F9. If all of the panels in the sidebar are closed, the sidebar itself closes as well, allowing more room for the score display.

    Like most other panels within MuseScore, the Palettes can also be undocked to function as a separate window.

    Adding palette items to your score

    To add a palette item to your score, first open the appropriate palette if it is not already open, by clicking its title or the arrow icon to the left. The items in that palette will be displayed in a grid.

    Adding palette element (animated image)

    in general, to apply palette items to your score, you can either select the target elements in the score and then click the palette item, or drag the item from the palette to a target element. See the section on searching and navigating below for information on applying palette items via the keyboard.

    Items applied to individual score elements

    Many palette items—for example, articulations, dynamics, and most other text—can be applied to individual notes, rests, or other score elements. When using drag and drop, be sure to drag the palette item onto a specific score element, and do not release until the target element highlights to indicate it can accept the palette item.

    It is usually more efficient, however, to select the target elements in your score first and then click the palette item. This is especially true if you wish to apply the same palette item to multiple score elements, since this method allows you can apply the palette item to multiple score elements at once.

    To apply a palette to one or more score elements:

    1. Select the elements you wish to apply the palette item to (single, list, or range selection)
    2. Click the palette item

    The palette item will normally be added to each of the selected elements. Note that with a range selected, when clicking a palette item representing text (including dynamics and tempo markings), the item will be added to the first element in the range only. System text (including tempo markings) will be applied to the top staff only; other text will be applied to the first selected element of each selected staff.

    Items applied to ranges

    Palette items such as hairpins, slurs, ottavas, and pedal markings are applied to a range rather than a single note or rest. The process for adding them is the same:

    1. Select the range of elements you wish to apply the palette item to
    2. Click the palette item

    Items applied to full measures

    Certain palette items such as barlines, time signatures, voltas, and layout breaks are normally applied to a measure as a whole—or a range of measures—instead of a specific note or rest. The process for adding these to the score is the same as for other palette items:

    1. Select the measure or range of measures you wish to apply the palette item to
    2. Click the palette item

    Expanding and collapsing palettes

    A palette can be opened (expanded) or closed (collapsed) individually by clicking on the title bars or the icon to the left of the title. In addition, you can expand or collapse all palettes at once, or let MuseScore close palettes automatically. To access these options, click the ... button at the top of the palette window to popup the palettes menu.

    Palette options

    • Single-click to open a Palette: controls whether palettes are opened by single or double click
    • Open only one Palette at a time: if checked, then whenever you open a palette, any already-open palettes are automatically closed
    • Collapse all Palettes: immediately close all open palettes
    • Expand all Palettes: immediately open all palettes

    Searching and navigating the palettes

    You can also search and navigate the palettes using your keyboard instead of a mouse.

    To search for palette elements by name, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+F9 (Mac: Cmd+F9), or click the magnifying glass icon at the top of the Palettes panel.

    Search palettes—step 1

    This will display a search box. As you type characters into the box, MuseScore will display any matching palette items.

    Search palettes—step 2

    To close the search box, click the "X" icon.

    The palettes are completely accessible by keyboard. The search facility described above is one method you can use to start the process, but you can also focus the keyboard on the Palettes panel by using Shift+F6 to move focus to the sidebar.

    Once focus is on the palette panel, the and keys will move through the various individual palettes. You can then open and close a palette by pressing Enter. To access the elements with a palette, press to access the palette, then and to move through the elements on the palette. Pressing Enter will apply element in the same way as clicking it.

    Accessing more palette items

    Some palettes also contain additional elements that are not displayed by default. To access those, click the More button at the bottom right of the palette.

    Palette—more items

    You can add any of these additional items to the main part of the palette by simply dragging. For more information, see Palettes under Customization.

    Adding more palettes

    The palettes that are shown by default are the ones most users will need often. But MuseScore provides additional palettes that you may find useful. To access these, click the Add Palettes button at the top of the Palettes panel.

    Add palettes

    This will display a list of palettes you can add to your Palettes panel. To add any palette, click the + button next to the palette name.

    More palettes

    Any palettes you add in this way will be displayed added at the top of the panel, but you can then drag them down to reorder the panel as you like.

    Also, in addition to the standard Palettes panel, there is a Master palette you can access via View→Master palettes or the keyboard shortcut Shift+F9.

    Master palette

    This provides all the symbols found on the other palettes, as well the controls for creating custom key signatures and custom time signatures, plus the Symbols palette that provides thousands of additional symbols from any of the available music fonts.

    See also