Automatic placement

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This page shows old instructions for MuseScore 3.
For MuseScore 4 users, see Automatic placement.

    MuseScore's automatic placement (AP) feature ensures that, in most cases, elements are correctly spaced and do not collide or overlap with each other.

    Note: When you create an element, AP is automatically enabled, but can be turned off if required (see Disable automatic placement).

    Default position

    A newly-created element, such as staff text or fingering, assumes a default position on the staff specified by "positional" properties contained in the Style menu. These "positional" properties may include things such as:

    • Placement: Whether the element appears above or below the staff.
    • Offset: For elements with no "Placement above/below" properties, this specifies the default position. See Offset X/Y.
    • Autoplace min distance: Minimum distance from other elements when autoplace is enabled.

    For details of the settings available for each element type, see Layout and formatting: Style.

    Change the default placement of an element

    Use one of the following methods:

    • From the menu, select FormatStyle; choose an element type and then adjust the placement/position settings.
    • Select a relevant element in the score and change the placement/position settings in the Inspector; then press the Set as style" button (S) to update the Style settings.

    Manual adjustments

    Adjust position of element

    Use one of the following methods:

    • Select the element and adjust the X and Y offsets in the Inspector (see X and Y offsets).
    • Move the element using the arrow buttons. Change to edit mode first, if necessary.
    • Drag and drop the element using the mouse. Use this method in preference to the above, if you want to move an element across another one (e.g. fingering across a slur). Once located on the other side you can use the X/Y offsets in the Inspector, or the keyboard arrow keys to fine tune the position.

    Place element above/below staff

    Elements with a "Placement" property available in the Inspector can be easily moved from above the staff to below it, and vice versa:

    1. Select one or more elements.
    2. Use one of the following methods:
      • Change the "Placement" setting in the Inspector.
      • Press X to toggle between above/below.

    Note: When automatic placement is enabled for an element, you cannot position it in a way that causes a collision with other elements.

    Disable automatic placement

    • Select the element and uncheck the "Automatic placement" box in the Inspector.

    The element reverts to its default position. It can be repositioned as desired and is no longer avoided when placing other elements.

    Stacking order

    To change the value for Stacking order:

    • Select the element and change the "Stacking order" value in the Inspector.

    In cases where elements are allowed to overlap, Stacking order controls the order in which they are placed on top of each other. The element with the lower value will be placed behind.

    Default stacking order values (source)

    Item Default stacking order value
    Accidental 1600
    Ambitus 2200
    Arpeggio 1500
    Articulation 2800
    Barline 1100
    Beam 3200
    Bend 4800
    Breathmarks 2500
    Caesura 2500
    Change instrument 4400
    Clef 2000
    crescendo - diminuendo 5100
    D.C. 3700
    D.S. 3700
    Dynamic 3100
    Fall etc. 3000
    Fermata 2900
    Fingering 3800
    Flag 3300
    Fretboard diagram 4700
    Glissando 6100
    Hairpin 5100
    Hook/Flag 3300
    Instrument names 800
    Key signature 2100
    Ledgerlines 1700
    Line 5700
    Minus sign measure 1099
    mf + hairpin 5100
    Note anchored line 5700
    Note dot 6600
    Noteheads 1900
    Ornament 2800
    Ottava's 5200
    Palm mute 5600
    Parenthesis 500
    Pedal lines 5900
    Rehearsal mark 4300
    Repeat measure sign 2600
    Rest 2400
    RH fingering 2800
    Sawtooth 5500
    Segno 3600
    Slide etc. 3000
    Slur 900
    Stafflines 1200
    Staff text 4100
    Stem 1800
    System text 4200
    Tempo 4000
    Text line 5700
    Thumb pos 2800
    Tie 1000
    Time signature 2300
    Title text 600
    Tremolo 6700
    Tremolobar 4900
    Trill lines 5300
    Volta 5800

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