"Save As..." (and more) should default to current file location instead of Scores directory or other previous folder

• Jan 17, 2018 - 01:28
Ergonomical (UX)
S4 - Minor

There is an issue described eloquently at https://musescore.org/en/node/267617, https://musescore.org/en/node/268489, and https://musescore.org/en/node/267688 (and that's only from the last few weeks!) wherein Save As, Save Selection, Save a Copy, Export, and Export Parts do not default to the location of the currently open document as most other programs do, but instead to a folder where a different file was previously saved (or to the default path specified in Preferences). I suspect 90% of the posts along the lines of "I saved my work and now it seems gone" stem from this unexpected behavior. I'm looking into this; as I couldn't find an existing issue despite the many forum posts, I'm creating this one.


Just curious, what is your basis for suspecting that any - much less most - of the reports of missing files have anything to do with this? Have any cases been verified as being due to this?

For the record, although I much prefer the current algorithm - it works far better for the most common use cases I encounter - I recognize that others seem to have different preferences, and mine aren't necessarily better. So I wouldn't necessarily oppose a change even though it would inconvenience me and others whose use cases are similar. I would hope, though, to get some really good feedback on this before making a change. Hard to know how many people actually appreciate the current algorithm - we usually only hear from those who don't.

90% was a great exaggeration on my part, especially because not all of those reports end up verified as resolved. But as best as I can recall, when they are, it's usually because we tell them the directory to look in and they find their score there.

I have to say I'm surprised and even puzzled to learn of other programs with the present behavior, though. It conflicts with my concept of what "Save As..." is for. Don't most people use it to keep different revisions of their work alongside the latest, or to keep versions in various export formats alongside the original document? (That's a serious question—I'm open to learning about other common workflows.)

This may be the rare case where the disagreement should be resolved as suggested by MikeN at https://musescore.org/en/node/267617#comment-816686.

My main purpose is as I've described before - taking a bunch of scores originally created for one type of ensemble and starting new version for another, or a bunch of lead sheets in one and transposing them to another. Either way I keep everything in separate project folders, so the current behavior is perfect. I virtually never do a save as to the same folder as the original.

FWIW, I am also still doubtful that just because some people ended up being confused about what folder their files was in, that this somehow suggests Save As behavior is the culprit. I don't remember any specific threads where anyone even said they had used Save As.

It's not about copying a bunch from one to another - the source files may well be scattered in different folders. That's often the case if, for instance, I am arranging a bunch of music for one ensemble and the originals I am working from were for a variety of different ensembles. Also, in the case where I am, say, transposing a whole bunch of lead sheets for Bb instruments, I don't want to copy them all right away - I only want to populate the folder as each version is finished, so I don't end up with a mixture of transposed and untransposed charts in the same folder.

Really, those are just two examples that come to mind. Lots of others. It's way more common for me to want to use save as repeatedly into the same folder than to want to make a second copy of a file in the same folder as the original - that happens practically never for me.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Sorry, Marc, but I'm with Isaac on this. I would prefer it by a good country mile if Musescore would default to the last saved folder. I find myself needing this behavior quite a bit, having multiple scores which need to be saved in a single project folder. As they all need the same formatting, I need to set up the correct formatting in a template score and then do a bunch of save-as into the same folder. It's a real PITA to have Musescore default every time to the main Scores directory.

And in case you're about to ask, the answer is no, styles do not help. Some of the formatting involves placement of frames and text titles/subheadings specific to each project. Styles don't magically reproduce such items.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Sorry, I phrased my post incorrectly. What I wanted to say was that I'm in agreement with Isaac, and the issue is that you can open a file from a particular folder and you expect to work in that folder, but the Save As will default back to the main Scores folder if you've just opened the program. You have to use Save As at least once before it begins defaulting to your working folder, even if you opened your file from that folder. And it has to be Save As. You can open a file, make a change, and do Ctrl-S, which saves the file back to its original folder, but that won't make Save As go to that folder; Save As will still go to either the main score dir (if you just opened the program, as far as I can tell) or the previous directory where you Saved As.

Rereading my post, however, I have to say I was a bit hasty to chime in. I do find this particular default behavior a bit annoying sometimes but it's not a killer deal-breaker by any means. Right now I've got something else on my mind that is much worse for me, and can't find anything on it, and my annoyance with that bled over into this thread. Apologies.

Save As only defaults to Scores the very first one you ever run the the program. After that it keeps remembering the last Save As folder even across program restarts.

It's definitely deliberate that Save and Save As manage folders separately though - it would defeat the whole purpose of remembering the Save As folder if it got obliterated every time you resaved an existing file.

But again, we all recognize there are multiple different workflows people employ, and that for some subset of those workflows, not remembering the last Save As folder would actually be more efficient. But for many other workflows, such a change would be worse. So it's tough to know what would be best.

I am pleased that this has resurfaced. I spend a lot of time trying to remember what was the score I saved before I opened the one I am working on now and just saved. Just after saving I remember MuseScore's behaviour and realise that the save ended up in the folder with the previously saved score, not the folder with the one I just opened. Yes, I know that when I save I can see the folder where the score is going to be saved but my mouse finger is too eager on the left button, and oops..., there it went before I took enough notice. Is it so difficult to remember what the previous score was you may ask, well in my case I use MuseScore on two PCs which are both synced to a NAS drive to allow access to the same files from both PCs. So I actually have to remember what was the previous score I saved on this PC, possibly having edited several others on the other PC in the meantime. Cortana earns its keep as I search for what I just saved in the folder containing the score I can't remember but was the last one I saved on that PC.

I would like to suggest that Prefences should have the following options:
a) Save as defaults to "last saved" location (i.e the current behaviour)
b) Save as defaults to "last opened" location (i.e the behaviour of programmes like MS Word - and what for my way of working seems most logical and useful).

I am with Eric. This is one of the most annoying behavior in Musescore.

I usually start by opening a musicxml file in a separate folder. When I "Save" the musescore file I have to select this same folder again. Then I "Save as" for transposed version and have to select the same folder again. Then I "Export" to PDF and have to select the same folder again.

So it sounds like you are currently using one folder per score, keeping all versions of the score in the same folder, and all versions of the next score in a different folder, etc? Indeed, that's the not the kind of workflow MuseScore is optimized for. You could consider switching to something that works better, like keeping all MusicXML files in one folder, all concert scores in another, all transposed in another, etc. Then things would go more smoothly - this is the sort of workflow MuseScore is optimized for.

But FWIW, you could still simplify your own workflow by using Save As from the beginning (instead of Save). Then that would be the folder used for the next Save As. "Export" is totally different, no one has yet suggested having Export not remember the last used folder. I suspect that change would be even more controversial, as probably more people rely on Export being in a different folder from the original than is the case where Save As.

Thanks for the hint with "Save as". BTW, why is there no standard keyboard shortcut for "Save as"?

Yes, I am using one folder per score. And I structure my scores on file system level as this:
Institution / Project / Piece

Even if I follow your workflow advice in project level, I have to select the proper directories whenever I change the project.

You are right for v2.1. Its my fault that I only checked the v2.2 nightly when I posted this. In v2.2 there seems to be no default shortcut for "save as..." But let this point be another thread.

Reported version 2.1  
Regression No
Workaround No

This still drives me crazy every time I need to "Save as". I hope that the normal behaviour will one day be available at least as an option.
(Normal=conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected)

If I'm not mistaken, this behavior was changed quite some time ago. Save As now defaults to the folder a score was opened from, does it not? Which is say, unless I'm missing something, this can be closed.