Line between piano staves?

• Feb 23, 2023 - 11:26

Hi! In MS, is it possible to add a line between piano staves, indicating that a voice line moves from one hand to the other? Example in classical music:


MS has a "Line" tool on the Lines palette. I can add it to the upper staff, and drag the other end down to the lower staff:


But when I try to move the lower end to the correct note, the upper end jumps forward:


I can get it to do just about everything except go from the lower note to the upper one immediately after it.

In case it helps, this shows how Sibelius treats the line. The left end remains anchored to the upper staff, but I can drag it down wherever I wish, release it, then move the other end back up:


Am I using MS's tool incorrectly, or is this just something it can't do yet? Thanks!


Use a "Note anchored line".

For probably historical reasons lost in the mists of time this is available in the Add>Lines menu rather than the Lines palette.

In reply to by memeweaver

Thanks for all of your replies.

Indeed, clearing "Auto-place" did it! I'd become accustomed to doing that with other MS objects, so that should've occurred to me. It was the first time I'd used the tool, though, and didn't know if I was using it correctly.

The Add > "Note-anchored line" function would be useful, as you can simply select the two notes and add the line in one click. However, for some reason, it places the ends of the lines in the noteheads, requiring they be manually moved away, so it's not much of a time-saver. (Is there actually some form of notation that calls for that?)


I've also learned that shortcuts can be created to:

• Toggle automatic placement for selected elements
• Toggle 'automatic placement' (whole score)

(I've copied that from the Preferences window, BTW—for consistency, would it be a good idea to call it "Auto-place" everywhere, as it appears on the Properties palette?)

Is there much value, though, in having shortcuts for these rather than menu commands? I'm trying to think of when I'd want to toggle these settings, rather than just turning them off (e.g. in scores where that was more practical, for one reason or another). Cheers!

In reply to by Andy Fielding

"Is there much value, though, in having shortcuts for these rather than menu commands?"
MS v3.x had = as the shortcut toggle key for autoplace. I still instinctively hit that as I'm doing keyboard entry of scores as I find disabling autoplace necessary so often, but it's been re-assigned to 'natural'.* [I've been inspired by this post to assign * to natural, and give = back to autoplace].

Overall the v4 options for engraving are much much slower than v3.6, requiring me to stop and switch to mouse and dig through layers of panel options over and over again. The supposed value is in feature discovery (which I'm not seeing, given the questions being asked in the forum) but you will hit a workflow pace ceiling very soon with the path chosen by v4.

*I would prefer to have a shortcut giving complete cycle through flat,natural,sharp,'nothing' rather than three separate keys, as that would help me do enharmonic notes that elude arrow key pitch changes, which I do waaay more often than multi-selecting notes to set an accidental.

In reply to by memeweaver

Disabling autoplace should hardly ever be necessary, could be you're misunderstanding something about how best to accomplish the goal you are trying to achieve. best to start a new thread and attach the score you're having trouble with, so we can understand and assist.

Anyhow, if you are referring to the fact that the Appearance panel requires an extra click, yes, this is a known nuisance being worked.

I'm not crazy about a command to cycle through adding accidentals, but no harm in opening an issue requesting it, If it's something enough people think would be useful, no reason it couldn't eventually happen. Probably a plugin could even do it. But, for enharmonic spelling, why not simply use the existing "J" command to cycle through spellings?

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