Using the palettes

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    Musical symbols and text may be applied to your score using the Palettes panel. MuseScore comes with a set of preset palettes divided into categories—such as Key Signatures and Articulations etc. A basic working set of palettes is visible by default, but more advanced or specialist palettes can also be displayed if required.

    You can add, delete, edit and rearrange items inside any palette, as well as create and customize your own palettes.

    This chapter shows you how to display palettes, search for items, and how to apply palette symbols to your score. Customizing the palettes area is dealt with later in Palettes (Customization).

    Accessing the palettes panel

    The Palettes panel is normally displayed on the left sidebar of the main window. There are three tabs displayed at the top of the sidebar: Palettes, Instruments, and Properties. If one of the other tabs is currently being displayed in the sidebar, click the Palettes tab to display the palettes instead.


    You can open and close the Palettes panel using View→Palettes or the keyboard shortcut F9. If all of the panels in the sidebar are closed, the sidebar itself closes as well, allowing more room for the score display.

    Like most other panels within MuseScore, the Palettes can also be undocked to function as a separate window.

    Adding palette items to your score

    To add a palette item to your score, first open the appropriate palette if it is not already open, by clicking its title or the arrow icon to the left. The items in that palette will be displayed in a grid.

    Adding palette element (animated image)

    in general, to apply palette items to your score, you can either select the target elements in the score and then click the palette item, or drag the item from the palette to a target element. See the section on searching and navigating below for information on applying palette items via the keyboard.

    Items applied to individual score elements

    Many palette items—for example, articulations, dynamics, and most other text—can be applied to individual notes, rests, or other score elements. When using drag and drop, be sure to drag the palette item onto a specific score element, and do not release until the target element highlights to indicate it can accept the palette item.

    It is usually more efficient, however, to select the target elements in your score first and then click the palette item. This is especially true if you wish to apply the same palette item to multiple score elements, since this method allows you can apply the palette item to multiple score elements at once.

    To apply a palette to one or more score elements:

    1. Select the elements you wish to apply the palette item to (single, list, or range selection)
    2. Click the palette item

    The palette item will normally be added to each of the selected elements. Note that with a range selected, when clicking a palette item representing text (including dynamics and tempo markings), the item will be added to the first element in the range only. System text (including tempo markings) will be applied to the top staff only; other text will be applied to the first selected element of each selected staff.

    Items applied to ranges

    Palette items such as hairpins, slurs, ottavas, and pedal markings are applied to a range rather than a single note or rest. The process for adding them is the same:

    1. Select the range of elements you wish to apply the palette item to
    2. Click the palette item

    Items applied to full measures

    Certain palette items such as barlines, time signatures, voltas, and layout breaks are normally applied to a measure as a whole—or a range of measures—instead of a specific note or rest. The process for adding these to the score is the same as for other palette items:

    1. Select the measure or range of measures you wish to apply the palette item to
    2. Click the palette item

    Expanding and collapsing palettes

    A palette can be opened (expanded) or closed (collapsed) individually by clicking on the title bars or the icon to the left of the title. In addition, you can expand or collapse all palettes at once, or let MuseScore close palettes automatically. To access these options, click the ... button at the top of the palette window to popup the palettes menu.

    Palette options

    • Single-click to open a Palette: controls whether palettes are opened by single or double click
    • Open only one Palette at a time: if checked, then whenever you open a palette, any already-open palettes are automatically closed
    • Collapse all Palettes: immediately close all open palettes
    • Expand all Palettes: immediately open all palettes

    Searching and navigating the palettes

    You can also search and navigate the palettes using your keyboard instead of a mouse.

    To search for palette elements by name, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+F9 (Mac: Cmd+F9), or click the magnifying glass icon at the top of the Palettes panel.

    Search palettes—step 1

    This will display a search box. As you type characters into the box, MuseScore will display any matching palette items.

    Search palettes—step 2

    To close the search box, click the "X" icon.

    The palettes are completely accessible by keyboard. The search facility described above is one method you can use to start the process, but you can also focus the keyboard on the Palettes panel by using Shift+F6 to move focus to the sidebar.

    Once focus is on the palette panel, the and keys will move through the various individual palettes. You can then open and close a palette by pressing Enter. To access the elements with a palette, press to access the palette, then and to move through the elements on the palette. Pressing Enter will apply element in the same way as clicking it.

    Accessing more palette items

    Some palettes also contain additional elements that are not displayed by default. To access those, click the More button at the bottom right of the palette.

    Palette—more items

    You can add any of these additional items to the main part of the palette by simply dragging. For more information, see Palettes under Customization.

    Adding more palettes

    The palettes that are shown by default are the ones most users will need often. But MuseScore provides additional palettes that you may also find useful.

    To access these extra palettes:

    • Click the Add Palettes button at the top of the Palettes panel.

      Add palettes

    This will display a list of palettes you can add to your Palettes panel. To add any palette, click the + button next to the palette name.

    More palettes

    Added palettes appear at the top of the panel. To reorder them simply drag them into position.

    You can also create an empty custom palette that can be filled later with your own choice of elements.

    The Master palette

    The Master palette is MuseScore’s repository of all musical symbols; it also provide an alternative pathway for creating custom key signatures and custom time signatures.

    To display the Master palette, use the keyboard shortcut Shift+F9, or from the menu select View→Master palette.


    The Master palette window is divided into categories matching the names of the default palettes (whether displayed or hidden) in the Palettes panel; in fact, the contents of each small palette are drawn from the corresponding section of the Master. The exception is the Symbols category of the Master palette which contains items not found in the Palettes panel.

    Items can be applied to the score from the Master palette in the same way as from the small palettes; however, aside from applying items from the Symbols section, it is usually better to do so from the Palettes panel.

    Items found in all sections of the Master palette window, except "Symbols", are functional in that they have an effect on the score: Key and Time signatures, for example. However, items from the Symbols palette are non-functional—that is, they are for display only.

    See also, the chapter on Other symbols.

    See also