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MSCORE(1) General Commands Manual MSCORE(1)


mscore, musescoreMuseScore 2 sheet music editor


mscore [-deFfhIiLmnOPRstvw] [-a | --use-audio driver] [-b | --bitrate bitrate] [-c | --config-folder pathname] [-D | --monitor-resolution DPI] [-E | --install-extension extension file] [-j | --job file.json] [-M | --midi-operations file] [-o | --export-to file] [-p | --plugin name] [-r | --image-resolution DPI] [-S | --style style] [-T | --trim-image margin] [-x | --gui-scaling factor] [--debug] [--dump-midi-in] [--dump-midi-out] [--experimental] [--export-score-parts] [--factory-settings] [--force] [--help] [--layout-debug] [--load-icons] [--long-version] [--new-score] [--no-midi] [--no-synthesizer] [--no-webview] [--revert-settings] [--template-mode] [--test-mode] [--version] [file ...]


MuseScore is a Free and Open Source WYSIWYG cross-platform multi-lingual music composition and notation software, released under the GNU General Public Licence (GPLv2).

Running mscore without any extra options launches the full graphical MuseScore program and opens any files specified on the command line.

The options are as follows:

| driver
Use audio driver: one of jack, alsa, portaudio, pulse
| bitrate
Set MP3 output bitrate in kbit/s
| pathname
Override configuration and settings directory
Specify monitor resolution (override autodetection)
Start MuseScore in debug mode
| extension file
Install an extension file; soundfonts are loaded by default unless -e is also specified
Enable experimental features, such as layers
Use only the standard built-in presets (“factory settings”) and delete user preferences; compare with the -R option
Ignore score corruption and version mismatch warnings in “converter mode”
Display an overview of invocation instructions
Display all MIDI input on the console
Load icons from the filesystem; useful if you want to edit the MuseScore icons and preview the changes
| file.json
Process a conversion job (see EXAMPLES below)
Start MuseScore in layout debug mode
| file
Specify MIDI import operations file (see EXAMPLES below)
Disable MIDI input
Start with the New Score wizard regardless whether it's enabled or disabled in the user preferences
Display all MIDI output on the console
| file
Export the given (or currently opened) file to the specified output file. The file type depends on the extension of the filename given. This option switches to “converter mode” and avoids the graphical user interface.
When converting to PDF with the -o option, append each part's pages to the created PDF file. If the score has no parts, all default parts will temporarily be generated automatically.
| name
Execute the named plugin
Use only the standard built-in presets (“factory settings”) but do not delete user preferences; compare with the -F option
Set image resolution for conversion to PNG files.

Default: 300 DPI (actually, the value of “Resolution” of the PNG option group in the Export tab of the preferences)

| style
Load a style file first; useful for use with the -o option
Disable the integrated software synthesiser
| margin
Trim exported PNG and SVG images to remove whitespace surrounding the score. The specified margin, in pixels, will be retained (use 0 for a tightly cropped image). When exporting to SVG, this option only works with single-page scores.
Set test mode flag for all files
Display the name and version of the application without starting the graphical user interface
Disable the web view component in the Start Centre
| factor
Scale the score display and other GUI elements by the specified factor; intended for use with high-resolution displays
Display the full name, version and git revision of the application without starting the graphical user interface
Save files in template mode (e.g. without page sizes)

MuseScore supports the automatic Qt command line options (see below).

Batch conversion job JSON format

The argument to the -j option must be the pathname of a file comprised of a valid JSON document honouring the following specification:

  • The top-level element must be a JSONArray, which may be empty.
  • Each array element must be a JSONObject with the following keys:
    Value is the name of the input file (score to convert), as JSONString.
    Value is the filename of a plugin (with the .qml extension), which will be read from either the global or per-user plugin path and executed before the conversion output happens, as JSONString. Optional, but at least one of plugin and out must be given.
    Value is the conversion output target, as defined below. Optional, but at least one of plugin and out must be given.
  • The conversion output target may be a filename (with extension, which decided the format to convert to), as JSONString.
  • The conversion output target may be a JSONArray of filenames as JSONString, as above, which will cause the score to be written to multiple output files (in multiple output formats) sequentially, without being closed, re-opened and re-processed in between.
  • If the conversion output target is a JSONArray, one or more of its elements may also be, each, a JSONArray of two JSONStrings (called first and second half in the following description). This will cause part extraction: for each such two-tuple, all extant parts of the score will be saved , with filenames being composed by concatenating the first half, the name (title) of the part, and the second half. The resulting string must be a valid filename (with extension, determining the output format). If a score has no parts (excerpts) defined, this will be silently ignored without error.
  • Valid file extensions for output are:
    Free Lossless Audio Codec (compressed audio)
    standard MIDI file
    internal file sanity check log (JSON)
    MPEG Layer III (lossy compressed audio)
    measure positions (XML)
    uncompressed MuseScore file
    compressed MuseScore file
    uncompressed MusicXML file
    compressed MusicXML file
    OGG Vorbis (lossy compressed audio)
    portable document file (print)
    portable network graphics (image)

    Individual files, one per score page, with a hyphen-minus followed by the page number placed before the file extension, will be generated.

    segment positions (XML)
    scalable vector graphics (image)
    RIFF Waveform (uncompressed audio)
    uncompressed MusicXML file

See below for an example.


Set this (the value does not matter) to skip initialisation of the JACK Audio Connection Kit library, in case it causes trouble.
User configuration location; defaults to ~/.config if unset.
User data location; defaults to ~/.local/share if unset.

Note that MuseScore also supports the normal Qt environment variables such as QT_QPA_GENERIC_PLUGINS, QT_QPA_PLATFORM, QT_QPA_PLATFORMTHEME, QT_QPA_PLATFORM_PLUGIN_PATH, QT_STYLE_OVERRIDE, DISPLAY, etc.


/usr/share/mscore-2.3/ contains the application support data (demos, instruments, localisation, system-wide plugins, soundfonts, styles, chords, templates and wallpapers). In the Debian packages, system-wide soundfonts are installed into /usr/share/sounds/sf2/, /usr/share/sounds/sf3/ or /usr/share/sounds/sfz/, respectively, instead.

The per-user data (extensions, plugins, soundfonts, styles, templates) and files (images, scores) are normally installed into subdirectories under ~/MuseScore2/ but may be changed in the configuration. Note that snapshot, alpha and beta versions use MuseScoreDevelopment instead of MuseScore2 in all of these paths.

$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/MuseScore/MuseScore2.ini contains the user preferences, list of recently used files and their locations, window sizes and positions, etc. See above for development version paths.

$XDG_DATA_HOME/data/MuseScore/MuseScore2/ contains updated localisation files downloaded from within the program, plugin information, cached scores, credentials for the community site, session information, synthesiser settings, custom key and time signatures and shortcuts. See above for development version paths.


Convert a score to PDF from the command line:

mscore -o 'My Score.pdf' 'My Score.mscz'

Run a batch job converting multiple documents:

mscore -j job.json

This requires the file job.json in the current working directory to have content similar to the following:

    "in": "Reunion.mscz",
    "out": "Reunion-coloured.pdf",
    "plugin": "colornotes.qml"
    "in": "Reunion.mscz",
    "out": [
      [ "Reunion (part for ", ").pdf" ],
    "in": "Piece with excerpts.mscz",
    "out": [
      "Piece with excerpts (Partitura).pdf",
      [ "Piece with excerpts (part for ", ").pdf" ],
      "Piece with excerpts.mid"

The last part of the job would, for example, cause files like “Piece with excerpts (part for Violin).pdf” to be generated alongside the conductor's partitura and a MIDI file with the full orchestra sound, whereas the equivalent part of the Reunion conversion will be silently ignored (because the Reunion piece (a MuseScore demo) has no excerpts defined). is a sample MIDI import operations file for the -M option.


The mscore utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.


fluidsynth(1), midicsv(1), timidity(1), qtoptions(7)
Online Handbook, full user manual
Support Forum
Further documentation of command line options
Reverting to factory settings (troubleshooting)
Project Issue Tracker

Please check first to if the bug you're encountering has already been reported. If you just need help with something, then please use the support forum (see above) instead.
Documentation of automatic Qt command line options


MuseScore attempts to implement the following standards:

  • MusicXML 3.1 (score interchange format)
  • SF2 (SoundFont 2.01)
  • SF3 (SoundFont with OGG Vorbis-compressed samples)
  • SFZ (Sforzato soundfont)
  • SMuFL (Standard Music Font Layout 1.18)


MuseScore was split off the MusE sequencer in 2002 and has since become the foremost Open Source notation software.


MuseScore is developed by Werner Schweer and others.

This manual page was written by mirabilos ⟨⟩.


The automatic Qt command line options are removed from the argument vector before the application has a chance at option processing; this means that an invocation like

mscore -S -reverse

has no chance at working because the -reverse is removed by Qt first.


MuseScore does not honour /etc/papersize.

Probably some more; check the project's bug tracker (cf. SEE ALSO).

November 29, 2018 MuseScore