Text formatting in MuseScore 2.0.1

• May 20, 2015 - 03:53

I have just downloaded 2.0.1 (rev b25f81d), and am trying to use it to refine the text formatting in a score. There are a few new things that are very useful, but some differences that are frustrating.

It occurs to me I may just not have FOUND the function I need to accomplish what I want to, but I've looked everywhere I can think of and so far no joy. So here goes:

1. I want a running footer--a footer which appears on every page of every score and every part--which contains (a) the page number, (b) the catalogue number of the work and the print version of that score/part, (c) the copyright notice, and (d) the publisher ID info. Each of those elements needs to be formatted differently. Some text is centered; some is flush left; some is flush right; and there are two different fonts involved. The 'headers/footers/numbers' style menu in 2.0 allows me to position things left, right, or center (which is great!), but it does not allow me to change fonts or sizes WITHIN the text element.

In 1.3, all texts could be formatted by click-to-edit using the font toolbar which appeared at the bottom of the screen and highlight/selecting the part of the text to which the formatting was to apply. This isn't so in 2.0. The Inspector seems to apply formatting to the entire text element; and some text seems 'locked'--the copyright text, for one. I know I can change the font and size, etc., of the copyright tag in the 'EDIT TEXT STYLE' menu, but those changes affect THE ENTIRE TAG, not just one line (or any selected part) of the text in that tag. This means I can no longer print the actual copyright declaration in Times Roman or Ariel, for instance, and the name of my publishing company in a different font.

I have tried to create a separate text frame at the bottom of the page, but it always jumps to the top of the next page. In addition, even if I were able to position the text frame where I want it, it would not become a 'running footer' which would automatically appear on all pages in the score, which is what I want.

Can you tell me how to do this with the current control set in 2.0, or, failing that, could you possibly 'tweak' things to re-establish the ability to select parts of a text element and format them differently, as was possible in 1.3? This is a pretty standard kind of demand in typography

Problem No. 2: I learned I can use metatags to insert the date of the latest revision in the running footer--which accomplishes my goal of showing which version of a score/part was used to print a page (important for post-publication corrections). This is very convenient, but unfortunately the date that appears is formatted American style (1/10/15 = Jan. 10, 2015), which leads to confusion among month, day, and year anytime one of those arguments is equal to or less than 12. I would like to change the format to the International standard of YYYY.MM.DD. Is there a control function to re-format the date, and if so, where is it hiding? (And if there isn't, could you possibly offer that function in a future revision of 2.0?)

That's all I can think of at the moment. I wanted to upload an experimental version of a score created in 1.3 and modified in 2.0, showing what I've been talking about, but I can't find the 'Attach file' button. Has this changed, or is that due to the fact my paid membership is currently expired?



1.3 did not have a footer feature, that's new to 2.0. So I'm not quite what you mean. But it is true the footer feature in 2.0 is limited with respect to formatting. If you have specific font / formatting requires, you are probably better off saving the score itself as a PDF, then using a progrma like Scribus to import the PDF and add the footer there.

For ordinary text, though - not footers - formatting is greatly improved over 1.3. Not only can you use the text toolbar - it works the same as in 1.3 - but you can now apply text styles, and changes to text style automatically / immediately apply to all text tyhat is crerated with that style. Plus other improvements in text handling.

If you are still having trouble, feel free to post a specific score you are having problems with and describe more precisely what you are trying to do, and someone will probably be able to advise you. The attachment facility is located right below you type your post - click where it says "File attachments".

1. In footers and headers you can use html tags to change font face and size, e.g.

<font face="Century Schoolbook"/>
<font size="14"/>

where font size seems to be in points.
Also there is no </font> tag - the change takes effect from the current position to the end of the edited section or to the next <font> tag.

2. The date format possibly depends on your global computer settings. You may need to adjust it there. On my computer (Win7) the date in the footer $D is showing as "dd/mm/yyyy" which is consistent with the settings in the control panel.

In reply to by .m.i.r.o.

I tried your suggestion for formatting text with inline tags, but inserting [<]font face="Monotype Corsiva"/[>] in the footer input field before the line I want in that typeface did nothing...although the words inside the <> did not print, either. So the program recognised it as an html tag, but didn't execute it. ??? (Note I did not use the square brackets around the carrots in my tag; I had to do that here so the text between them would show up.)

As for the dates: The date format I have my Win7 computer set to use in the 'library' directory is DD/MM/YYYY. The date format for the 'properties' of files is spelled out using the standard English long-form (March 2, 1956). The date format Musescore 2.0 uses is (m)M/(d)D/YY. So there must be a date-formatting instruction somewhere in the code for 2.0 that causes dates pulled off the directory to be displayed that way.

Numerical date formats are problematic because there are regional variations but it isn't always apparent which one is being used. The US system is the worst because the leading zero for months Jan through Sept is dropped, as well as the leading zero for days 01 through 09. To most people outside the U.S., a date of 5/11/10 would be interpreted as Nov 5, 2010, while someone in New York or Chicago would think it meant May 11, 2010. Military date standard (23 JAN 2015) is a good one, but even that leaves room for doubt if the reader isn't an English-speaker (January = enero in Spanish, for example). The closest thing to an international standard right now is YYYY.MM.DD, which puts the three arguments in descending heirarchy order.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

No, I put the tag in the right place, but apparently Musescore is sensitive to case in html tags. I don't remember that being a problem in other applications, but it's been close to 10 years since I did any hand coding so...let's chalk up my initial failure to 'pilot error'. ;o)


In reply to by Recorder485

Well, html tags and names should be case insensitive (but using lower case is considered good practice), only the attributes are case sensitive. So maybe we need a fix here?
Following the good old principle of "Be strict in what you generate, be generous in what you accept"?

And indeed, I just tested, it wants tags and names in all lowercase for them to take any effect.

Actually fixing that should be quite easy by plugging in some tolower() in Text::createLayout()

See https://github.com/musescore/MuseScore/pull/2014

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Thanks; but I am not even close to competent to do that kind of a fix. I'll have to wait for it to be fixed as a 'bug' or something.

The only other comment I have about this is that in that huge alt-text popup list of metatags that gets in one's face when hovering over the input fields in the Headers/footers/numbers style page, it might be a good idea to add the information that one can also use html tags to modify the text output. There is no way I would ever have figured that out without you guys, and I suspect there are a lot more users like me than like you.

In reply to by Recorder485

The comment about how this might get fixed wasn't really for you...
Let's see whether my PR masses muster and gets accepted by the Powers That Be ;-)

And I'm not sure we'd want to document that at all, maybe a better method crops up soon and then we're stuck with supporting this workaround type solution forever.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Well, I am now trying to figure out why this workaround worked in a part, but the same exact text-and-tag combination in a score is NOT working. At times like this I feel an insane urge to go back to hot-metal type and engraving music with a hand stylus....

EDIT TO ADD: Duh! It worked in the Part because I'd created a meta-tag reference in the INFO page. But I hadn't done that for the score (I'm modifying one part and one score separately, not modifying the score and then regenerating the part. Too much formatting gets lost that way). So, the 'publisher' meta-tag I inserted after the formatting html didn't exist.

Some days, I think I leave half my brain under the pillow when I get out of bed....

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Oh, no!!!! Does this mean I have to haul out my godmother's 1950s "MusicWriter"?? (It's probably out in the shed, buried under Dad's Commodore 64....)

Actually, I'm not clear on which 'patch' you meant--your suggestion to fix the UC/lc html thing, or my idea of adding info about using html tags to the meta-tag popup.

And because you've now got me thinking about possible 'patches' (aren't you glad?), here's another suggestion from the peanut gallery: Couldn't the text of that popup be shown directly on the Headers/Footers/Numbers page, so it wouldn't constantly pop up and get in the way whenever the cursor is over an input field (which is most of the time unless you work at avoiding it)? I've instinctively hit 'esc' and closed the whole page more than once trying to get that popup out of the way. It's informative, but in its present form it's intrusive as the devil. There's got to be a more elegant solution to passing on the info it contains.


DISCLAIMER: Just so no one thinks I'm not happy with 2.0, let me state categorically that I am very pleased it's finally been released. The ability to do figured bass is, by itself, worth all the head-scratching involved in swotting up the new version. :o))

1.3 DOES have a footer feature--it's just not called that. The Copyright text (Create>Text>Copyright) in 1.3 runs on the bottom of every page, which in typesetting/page-makeup terms makes it a running foot. (I would apologise for sounding off like a typographer except that I was one for 15 years, back when photo-typesetters were the size of small pick-up trucks...and cost substantially more!)

What 1.3 cannot (easily) do that 2.0 does is place separate groups of words in the footer flush left, flush right, or centered, all on the same line of type. (In other words: BWV 000 2015.05.20 [Fl.Left] / © 2015 John Doe [centered] / PAGE NO. [Fl. Right]. This is all a great improvement in 2.0, especially being able to swap the L/R positions of odd/even page numbers depending on whether the part is to be bound on the left edge or folded on the right edge.

But in 1.3, the text in the copyright footer is SELECTABLE so that ANY PART of it can be individually formatted as to font, size, position, etc. I don't understand why that feature got dropped from 2.0.

IIRC, you commented recently (in another thread) that MuseScore is primarily a music TYPESETTING program, and shouldn't be expected to do all sorts of non-graphic audio tasks. I agree, so I won't go on a rant about the less-than-lovely default sound-font in 2.0. But for a TYPESETTING program--musical or otherwise--text formatting control is a basic requirement to enable the user to produce professional-looking pages without resorting to an Exacto knife and hot-wax. BTDT....

One shouldn't have to do that today, nor should one need to use a secondary program to add properly-formatted footers to the pages. The only thing I would expect to add using the PDF editor would be a 'watermark' in certain circumstances (for copy-protection of a work).

I would like to attach a score to show you what I'm trying to do, but there seems to be something wrong with the link to upload files. The words 'File attachments' are right where you said they should be, but they do not constitute an active link. I re-subscribed to a pro account last night, but that made no difference. I am running IE8 with popup blocker on and third-party cookies off. Do I need to run in Compatability View or something? The upload feature worked fine last time I needed to use it (sometime last year).

Failing a solution to that problem, I could upload a couple of sample scores to my account and post a link to them. Let me know.

In reply to by Recorder485

I would say that the same thing that made the copyright text selectable is what made it not possible to implement it as a true footer with separate left/right/center components, separate odd/even, ability to insert metadata, etc. Not that it would be impossible to find a way to add back the separate formatting, but realsitically, for most people, the latter features were far more important. It's not *that* common for footers to be printed using multiple typefaces. But did you try the suggestion above about incorporating markup into your footer? it works fine for me.

Not sure what's going wrong with the File attachments link for you. Pressing it should display a "Choose file" button that you can then press to select a file, and a Save button Shouldn't have anything to do with your account, but it could be browser incompatibility.

As for soundfont, hopefully you have figured out you can choose another, just as in 1.3. So if you happen to have a different preference, you can switch to it easily enough. It's all subjective, so it's going to be impossible to find one soundfont that pleases everyone.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks to the suggestion to use html tags in the header/footer text fields, the font/face problem is solved, so I'll be okay and won't have to use a kludged-up combo approach making MuseScore, my printer driver, and my pdf editor each produce different parts of the same document.

However, I feel the need to mention one thing which programmer/developer/genius-types (I write that with a smile!) might miss because of their different perspective.

Not that it would be impossible to find a way to add back the separate formatting, but realsitically, for most people, the latter features were far more important. It's not *that* common for footers to be printed using multiple typefaces.

Heh-heh: That is essentially telling the art director that what he wants isn't important...a VERY good way to get one's head torn off in the graphics/publishing business (and please, don't ask me how I learned that). Not that what the art director wants is always reasonable (I can say that with impunity, having sat on both sides of that desk), but...that's the way art directors are--like composers, sort of. ;-)

As for the File Attachments link, it's still not active--just two words on the screen. I checked the source for this webpage, and it seems as if you've got javascript turned OFF for IE versions 9 or older:
[<]!--[if lt IE 7]> [<]html class="no-js ie6 oldie" lang="en"> [<]![endif]-->
[<]!--[if IE 7]> [<]html class="no-js ie7 oldie" lang="en"> [<]![endif]-->
[<]!--[if IE 8]> [<]html class="no-js ie8 oldie" lang="en"> [<]![endif]-->
[<]!--[if IE 9]> [<]html class="no-js ie9 oldie" lang="en"> [<]![endif]-->

If that's the problem, I have to ask is that really necessary?? This webpage used to run just fine on IE8, and it's not as if you need to control a bunch of popup ads and videos and so on. It's very frustrating to be called an 'oldie'. Just wait till you're my age; you'll find out. ;-)

And before you ask why I'm still running IE8, I'll just say that I have 'issues' currently preventing me from upgrading IE to the latest version. I am trying to solve them without allowing Microsoft carte-blanche to install its latest spyware, but the MS download page still won't agree that I'm ready for IE10 or whatever, so it'll be a while before I upgrade.

In reply to by Recorder485

Note I didn't use the word "important" (edit: yes, I did, but I also said, "for most people); I said "common". More people, I have to believe, care about the things I mentioned than about the ability to change formatting within a footer. But that doesn't mean the latter ability isn't important too.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc, I finally got the File Attachment thing sorted out. It appears to be the browser. Running my IE8 in Compatibility View brought back the Browse and Attach buttons and associated field (which weren't there at all before I made that change).

I don't know if the MuseScore programmers developed the forum's code themselves, or if the code is open source forum software from a third party. But if you could drop a word to the appropriate people about this, perhaps they can make an effort at establishing a bit more backwards compatibility with respect to IE.


I tried to follow up on the date issue and after numerous attempts to change my short date format, researching on github (libmscore/page.cpp) and resetting my Musescore installation, I have found that:

  1. the date format is not hard-coded in MuseScore. It depends on default locale setting of the host operating system
  2. but it seems that on Windows, any customisation made to the date / time format (red rectangle) is being ignored and the defaults for the selected language (green rectangle) apply. I.e. for English (US) the format M/D/YYYY still applies even you may have changed the short date format to YYYY.MM.DD
  3. I don't know QT at all, so I'm not sure if this is a QT system issue or intended behaviour. Maybe using Locale.dateTimeFormat(Locale.ShortFormat) instead of Qt::DefaultLocaleShortDate would fix it?
  4. Temporary solution for displaying dates would be selecting a language which uses a format as closely matching the required one. Possibly this could be English (South Africa) in your case as it would display dates as yyyy/mm/dd.
  5. MuseScore needs to be restarted after the settings in control panel have been changed and applied.
  6. Also note that there is a predefined tag $:creationDate: (accessible in File > Info) which is a static text populated with a date when the score has been created. This can be freely modified as it is a plain text field.

Windows > Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region > Region and Language:


In reply to by .m.i.r.o.

The default region and language for my computers is English (Canada), which uses the dd/MM/yyyy short-date format and MMMM d, yyyy long-date format. Because I work in both French and English, I do swap around among keyboards and input languages (Canadian Multilingual and Canadian French; I use the US keyboard only when I need carrots or brackets/braces, for instance), but the default region setting doesn't/shouldn't change when I do that (???). So...I'm not too sure what's going on here.

As I mentioned to Jojo earlier, I am not even close to competent to start messing with the code of Musescore or Qt. I can interpret very basic html and even write a tiny bit of it (usually using a crib sheet to get the syntax right!), but beyond that, I'm null. I have to leave it to you guys to figure out how to build in a "user-friendly" tool (perhaps in Preferences?) to adjust the format of these sorts of elements, and to decide if it's worth the trouble. Contrary to what I said to Marc about the need to be able to format the text within text elements typographically, I am not certain that control of date format is essential. Using a meta-tag to plug in text is more of a convenience than a necessity.

In my case, I wanted to use the $M tag (last modification date) to print a 'version number' on each published part and score, so that anyone finding a typographical error could let me know in which version/printing it occurs. But it's not necessary to use that tag; I can quite easily type in R.20152205 and get my desired output, but I'll have to remember to change it manually for each new printing. There's the rub, as one might say. ;-)

In reply to by Recorder485

that creationDate tag uses "Qt::ISODate", for $M (and $D, $d and %m) we currently use "Qt::DefaultLocaleShortDate", maybe we should be using "Qt::IsoDate" there too?

Or maybe have a modifictionDate tag, having the ISO version of what $M for the default locale?

I'm too using $M for version information...

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

The ISO 8601 standard (v.2004) Calender Date (YYYYMMDD) would be the best, I think. In spite of the tendency of perishable-product manufacturers to prefer the Week Date format (YYYYWwwD) --because it confuses consumers trying to figure out just when that can of beans was actually produced--music publishers have no need to dissimulate the date of any printing. There are, AFAIK, no IP issues with printings subsequent to the copyright date. A new printing--even if it contains corrections, which most do--is not the same thing as a new edition.

Well, I thought I had worked out everything necessary to clean up my text formatting, but you know what they say--the more you can do, the more you WANT to do. Heh,heh.

In re-opening an old score with a view to producing an updated edition for publication, I have run up against a visual problem I'd like to solve. This score is for six parts, so it's useful for the conductor/leader to have at least the first system on each page labelled with the short name for the instruments, but putting them on all the systems just adds to visual clutter and lengthens the score.

Does anyone know of a way to select where the short instrument name appears and where it doesn't, aside from setting them as 'invisible' manually, one at a time?

I suppose I could set them all invisible (select all similar elements?) and then go back and set individual ones visible, but then if the systems were to shift during page make up, it'd all have to be redone manually.

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