Making staves visible again ....

• Nov 1, 2020 - 11:23

I posted something similar a few days ago, but I missed something in the reply.

  1. If I have a full score, and set the don't display empty staves option, that now works more or less as I want and expect. However, if I want to add (say) a 2 bar section for Triangle 200 bars in,, how do I make the Triangle line visible so I can do that? I don't necessarily want to make the full score visible, though that would also be useful. Hiding things seems easy - bringing them back - not so much.

  2. Not quite Musescore related, but related to this forum. How can I find all my previous postings to this Support area? I looked in my Profiile section - which is where I might expect that, and there's nothing there. Nothing in the Dashoard area either. It would be useful to find earlier posts, so as to avoid having to repeat requests - as here.


When I've hidden empty staves and realize I needed notes on a staff here or there I find the measure where I want to add notes, select a note in the the visible staff above the instrument then press alt+down arrow until the status bar says I'm on the right staff. Press N and the note entry cursor will show up on the top staff, ignore this and trust the next note will be entered on the correct staff (it will). The staff will become visible when you enter a note. Rests will be entered but will not make the staff visible but the status bar will tell you where you are in the measure. If it's too complicated, I just enter any note on beat 1 so I can see the staff and then delete it after I've entered the notes I want.

In reply to by mike320

This is a neat trick - though it shouldn't have to be this tricksy. The "trust" required to be sure that the next note will be on the right staff is considerable unless one has used this a lot. I have just re-encountered this whole problem area. I really don't want to be working with a full score, but I don't want the staves for parts I might want to work on - which perhaps haven't yet been created - to disappear. What is slightly alarming is that MS takes the instruction to hide empty staves so literally, so that even if there are already non empty staves - which are visible on the page - if a new system is put in on the same page, then it will not show all the instruments.

It would be good if it could at least figure out that if I'm currently using a piano, violin and harp (out of a larger collection that I may be working on for the whole piece), that I might want the next system on the same page to also use those. It is easier to hide an unwanted system than to make a hidden one visible.

There are of course yet more tricksy work arounds for exactly this situation. Suppose that currently the top system on a page is OK and includes the harp, but the next system does not because there aren't any harp notes. The trick then is to put a (temporary) note for the harp in the last bar of the top system, then put a system break before that bar. This then puts a new system with the desired instrument (harp) below - and a stave which can then be filled in. When that has been done to satisfaction, the temporary note and the system break can be removed.

Whether this is better than other approaches I can't as yet say, but it is a viable workaround. Things really shouldn't have to be this complicated.

Another approach might be to work with much wider pages - and then reformat them later. That way at least this particular problem wouldn't occur quite so often, and it might be quite good working with very wide pages - if one has a display which supports that. Switching between Page View and Continuous View might be helpful too, though that might depend on how many instruments there are in a score. It is also possible to set very wide pages - I just tried one of 3000mm to see if it would work - it did - though whether that was useful I couldn't say at this stage.

In reply to by dave2020X

I use this trick occasionally as well. No "trust" needed - just watch the status bar to see what staff you are actually on. Continuous view is quite effective too, and is a single keystroke away - much simpler than fiddling with page widths.

But the "real" answer is much simpler - don't bother turning on options like hide empty staves until you're done entering music. It served no purpose except for the final print anyhow. That's why it takes the instruction literally - because it is meant to be used literally.

In reply to by dave2020X

I find the time line is most useful when I am working on large scores. It provides a good way to navigate the score - I can easily find the key or tempo changes etc. in the overview and I can set visibility to whatever groupings are useful - e.g. if copying a cello part to a bass clarinet. I can make everything else invisible.

In reply to by mike320

I apologize for the post, but I need to know. To globally turn ON a hidden staff that has been turned off in the Instruments menu, is this the only technique (alt+down arrow+N+ enter note+right-click on instrument name+turn off Hide stave+click Never+delete note), or is there a much simpler way to globally unhide a stave?

Thanks in advance

In reply to by fsgregs

What version of MuseScore, and how exactly did you make the staff invisible? You mention the "Instruments menu", but it's not a menu in any version of MuseScore. In MuseScore 3, it was a dialog box you involve via Edit / Instruments, and in MuseScore 4, it's a panel you access from the left sidebar. But either way, if that is what you used to make the instrument invisible, you make it visible again the same way.

If instead you actually mean you used Staff/Part properties to set the "Hide when empty" option, then you'll need to get back there to unset it. Not by setting it to "never" but to "auto", unless you've also turned on hide empty staves globally in Format / Style / Score.

To reach the Staff/Part properties dialog for an invisible staff, easiest is probably to right-click the closest visible staff above or below, then Staff/Part properties, then use the arrow buttons in the dialog to navigate to the desired staff.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella


You gave me what I need. In the Staff/Part Properties menu, I had no idea there were arrows at the bottom that could be clicked on to move to an instrument that I had previously made invisible. Once I used them, I had no trouble reaching my invisible staff and making it visible or not. In the case of my original post, I downloaded a score from MuseScore to work on in my own way. The person who uploaded it to MuseScore originally had apparently checked the "Hide staff" button in the Format/Style/Score menu, so I unchecked it and all is well. Thanks as always.

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