Entering and editing text

Updated 1 month ago


    Musescore has different text editing functionalities. This chapter and other chapters under handbook Text section focus on the Musescore Text objects, individual objects that can be placed on a score, and objects containing it. There are also score settings that add text onto pages automatically.

    Types of text

    Musescore Text object

    A Musescore Text object is an object on a score that contains individual characters that can be entered and removed by using (typing on) a computer keyboard. It is usually attached to a note or a rest, some of them attach to another object.

    • Staff Text can be attached to a staff;
    • Jumps and Markers are attached to measures;
    • Some types (Title, Subtitle etc.) must be attached to a frame, see Frame, and Text blocks chapters.

    Different types of Text object are not interchangeable. They have distinct property fields that affect how Musescore functions. For example, a Staff Text object styled as a metronome mark can never be configured to change playback tempo inside Musescore. The Tempo object should be used to change playback tempo inside Musescore.

    To check the object type, select an object on a score, its type is displayed on the status bar.
    Check text type using the status bar

    Text object type Uses
    Staff Text General purpose text for one MuseScore instrument. Can be configured to apply swing playback or sound flags. See Setting up your score and Staff Text, System Text and Expression Text chapter.
    System Text Similar to Staff Text, but for all instruments in the system (page layout concept). See Sidlayout - begrepp and Staff Text, System Text and Expression Text chapter.
    Expression Text The expression item in the Text Palette. A new type introduced in Musescore 4. Does not affect Musescore playback as of Musescore 4.2. See Staff Text, System Text and Expression Text chapter.
    Instrument change The Change instr. item in the Text Palette. Change the Musescore Instrument after the anchored note or rest. See Setting up your score and Mid-score instrument changes chapters.
    Dynamic Such as p and mf, are Text that affects Musescore playback dynamics. See Dynamics chapter.
    Hairpin Such as crese. and dim., are Text line that affects Musescore playback dynamics. See Hairpins chapter.
    Playing technique annotation The legato. pizz. etc items in the Text Palette. [This info is a work in progress, the software function is under active dev, pls see and update Staff Text, System Text and Expression Text, and Dynamics, and Mixer, and Glossary and Articulations chapters]
    Tempo Numerical metronome mark, verbal direction. A Text type that specifies Musescore playback tempo. See Tempo marks chapter.
    Gradual Tempo Change Such as accel.. A new Text line type introduced in Musescore 4 that affects Musescore playback tempo. See Tempo marks chapter.
    Swing and Straight item in the Tempo Palette A pre-configured System Text. See Swing playback and Staff Text, System Text and Expression Text chapters.
    Lyrics Ctrl+V keyboard shortcut breaks up words stored in clipboard, paste and then jump to next anchor conveniently. See Lyrics chapter.
    Jump Such as "D.C."(Da Capo), "D.S. al Coda" etc found in the Repeats & Jumps Palette. See Jumps and markers chapter.
    Marker The Capo symbol, Segno symbol, "Fine", "To Coda" etc found in the Repeats & Jumps Palette. See Jumps and markers chapter.
    Rehearsal mark The boxed B1 item in the Text Palette. Facilitate rehearsals, divide score into sections, bookmark passages etc. See Rehearsal marks chapter.
    Chord symbol Has playback, notes automatically decided. See Chord symbol chapter.
    Nashville number Has playback, similar to Chord symbol. See Chord symbol:NNS chapter.
    Roman Numeral No playback. See Chord symbol:RNA chapter.
    Figured bass A period keyboard notation. No playback. See Figured bass chapter.
    Sticking Letters (L and R) attached to (drum) notes showing which hand or foot to use. See Sticking chapter.
    Fingering Numbers or letters attached to notes showing which fingers to use. See Fingering chapter.
    Title, Subtitle, Composer, Lyricist, and Text (text block type) They are Text types designed to be added into a frame. See Text blocks and Frame chapters. They are not the placeholder text used in the header and footer, see "Score setting" section.
    Text line, including Volta, Pedal etc types Volta etc found in Repeats & Jumps Palette. Pedal found in Keyboard Palette. Ottava (8--, 8ve, 8va, 15--) etc found in Pitch Palette. Guitar Barre lines etc. See Other lines chapter.

    Score settings

    Long and short name of Musescore Instrument (see Setting up your score chapter) is automatically added to the left of staff in each system (page layout concept, see Sidlayout - begrepp chapter). Names can be changed direcly on a score using text edit mode, or using Staff/Part property window, see Egenskaper för notrad/stämma chapter. They are, by default, only added when there are more than one instrument. To change this default behavior, change the setting under Format → Style → Score.

    Measure numbers can be added automatically. Configure it at Format → Style → Measure nubmers, see Measure numbering chapter.

    Musescore's header and footer functionality adds text to every pages automatically. Configure it at Format → Style → Header & footer. Placeholder text (special symbols) can be used to add information like the current page number, copyright claim etc. Placeholder text is also used to add metadata tags, the digital data of a score file, onto the score dynamically. See Header and footer chapter.

    Adding text object to a score

    Different types of Text object are not interchangeable, decide on the suitable object type before adding it. Use the chart under "Musescore Text object" section. For general engraving or visual display purpose, it is recommended to use a Staff text or System text.

    The following explains how to add text to a note or a rest or a valid anchor outside frames. Adding text to a frame is covered in the Text blocks chapter.

    From a palette

    To add a text element to your score from a Palette, either select one or more notes/rests and click on the desired palette item; or drag the text from the palette onto a note/rest. e.g.

    Add tempo indication

    From the menu

    If the text object is associated with a staff you can add it by selecting a note, then choosing a text option from Add→Text.

    Using a keyboard shortcut

    Many text types can be entered using keyboard shortcuts. Shortcuts are shown to the right of items in Add→Text.

    To create a text object, select a note, then enter the required shortcut.

    Deleting text object on a score

    To edit *text automatically added by score settings*, see "Score setting" section.

    To delete object(s) on a score, select the objects then press Delete.

    Editing text object content

    To edit *text automatically added by score settings*, see "Score setting" section.

    Text and text line objects are edited with two different methods, depending on the object type:

    • edit directly in text edit mode, as explained below; or
    • edit properties in the Properties panel, see the text object's specific chapter.

    To enter text edit mode use one of the following methods:

    • Double click on the text object, or
    • Select the text object and press Return, or
    • Select the text object and press F2 or Alt+Shift+E, or
    • Right-click on the text object and select "Edit element."

    To leave text edit mode either press Escape or click on a part of the score outside the edit area.

    Keyboard shortcuts available inside text edit mode

    The following keyboard shortcuts are available in text edit mode:

    Function Windows & Linux Mac
    Bold (toggle) Ctrl+B Cmd+B
    Italic (toggle) Ctrl+I Cmd+I
    Underline (toggle) Ctrl+U Cmd+U
    Move cursor Home, End, , , , (Alt+) , , ,
    Remove character to the left of the cursor Backspace Delete
    Remove character to the right of the cursor Del → Delete or Fn+Del
    Start new line return
    Insert special characters (see below) Shift+F2 Fn+F2

    Special characters

    Characters not available from the standard keyboard may be accessed using the Special Characters window.

    Special characters window

    To open Special Characters, in text edit mode (see "Editing text object content" section), press Shift+F2; or click on Insert special characters in the Text section of the Properties panel.

    The dialog is divided into 3 tabs: Common symbols, musical symbols and unicode symbols. The musical and unicode tabs are further subdivided into alphabetically-arranged categories. It is preferable to use items in Common symbols tab as they are functional, see Musescore 3 handbook Fonts chapter.

    Clicking an item in the Special Characters dialog immediately adds it to the text where the cursor is positioned. Multiple items can be applied without closing the dialog box, and the user can even continue to type normally, delete characters, enter numerical character codes etc., with it open.

    In text edit mode, the following keyboard shortcuts add a functional version of special characters (whenever possible) into the current Text object, see Musescore 3 handbook Fonts chapter.

    Character Windows & Linux Mac Note
    Sharp ♯ Ctrl+Shift+# Cmd+Shift+# May not work on some keyboard layouts
    Flat ♭ Ctrl+Shift+B Cmd+Shift+B
    Natural ♮ Ctrl+Shift+H Cmd+Shift+H
    Piano p Ctrl+Shift+P Cmd+Shift+P
    Forte f Ctrl+Shift+F Cmd+Shift+F
    Mezzo m Ctrl+Shift+M Cmd+Shift+M
    Rinforzando r Ctrl+Shift+R Cmd+Shift+R
    Sforzando s Ctrl+Shift+S Cmd+Shift+S
    Niente n Ctrl+Shift+N Cmd+Shift+N
    Z z Ctrl+Shift+Z Cmd+Shift+Z
    Elision Ctrl+Alt+- Cmd+Alt+-