Note spacing

The positions of notes relative to each other, and the automatic gaps between notes, are known as note spacing.

You can change note spacing in your project in the following ways:

  • Change the default note spacing project-wide in each layout in Layout Options.

  • Change the note spacing from a specified point in individual frame chains in individual layouts.

  • Change the note spacing at individual rhythmic positions and for individual notes.

Note spacing changes project-wide

You can change the default note spacing values for each layout independently on the Note Spacing page in Layout Options.

The options available include changing the default space for quarter notes (crotchets) and the scale space for grace notes and cues. You can also change the minimum percentage value for how full final systems must be before they are justified.

You can open Layout Options in any of the following ways:

  • Press Ctrl/Cmd-Shift-L in any mode.

  • Choose Setup > Layout Options in Setup mode.

  • Click Layout Options at the bottom of the Layouts panel in Setup mode.

  • Right-click an instrumental part or a full score in the Layouts panel and choose Layout Options from the context menu.

Note spacing changes from specific points in layouts

In Engrave mode, you can open the Note Spacing Change dialog and change or reset values affecting the spacing and scaling of notes.

Changes you make in the Note Spacing Change dialog only apply to the selected layout, and to the frame chain containing the item selected when you made the note spacing change. The preview in the dialog updates in real time as you change values, allowing you to see the effect the changes will have in your project.

Signposts are shown at rhythmic positions where you have made changes to note spacing using the Note Spacing Change dialog.

Note spacing at individual rhythmic positions and of individual notes

You can make individual spacing adjustments and move individual notes graphically when Note Spacing is activated in the Formatting panel on the left of the window in Engrave mode. When Note Spacing is activated, dashed lines representing spacing columns and handles for each spacing-significant item appear.

Figure: Handles and dashed lines are shown when Note Spacing is activated.

Each rhythmic position that contains a significant item, such as notes, grace notes, rests, clefs, key signatures, and time signatures, can be adjusted using the square note spacing handles. Note spacing handles allow you to adjust the spacing of the selected rhythmic position, which changes the position of everything at that rhythmic position.

Selecting square note spacing handles above items, such as noteheads, causes a circular handle to appear. Circular handles allow you to adjust the graphical position of that individual item, independently of its rhythmic position.

Additionally, larger square system handles are shown at the start/end of each system when Note Spacing is activated, allowing you to adjust the start/end horizontal position of individual systems. System handles are positioned on the top left and bottom right corners of each system.

When note spacing handles have been moved, their color changes.


When Note Spacing is activated, you cannot make any selections or make other types of edits to items in the current layout. To resume normal selection and editing, deactivate Note Spacing or return to Write mode.