Staff spacing

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

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

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

  • Change the staff spacing between individual staves.

Staff spacing changes project-wide

You can change the default values between staves for each layout independently on the Vertical Spacing page in Layout Options.

The options available include changing the default ideal gap between individual staves, between staves and bracketed groups, between staves in a braced group, such as for piano or harp, and between separate systems. You can also change how full pages must be before systems are automatically justified across the full height of the page, and change when empty staves are hidden.

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.

Individual staff spacing changes

You can make adjustments to the vertical position of individual staves when Staff Spacing is activated in the Formatting panel on the left of the window in Engrave mode. When Staff Spacing is activated, the following handles are shown:

  • A smaller square staff spacing handle on the bottom left corner of each staff.

  • A larger square system spacing handle on the top left corner of the top staff in each system.

Figure: System spacing handle and staff spacing handle in Engrave mode when Staff Spacing is activated

Staff spacing handles allow you to adjust the vertical position of the selected staves. The gap between staves in millimeters is shown, and you can click these numbers to change the gaps between staves by a specific measurement. System handles allow you to adjust the vertical position of whole systems.

When staff spacing handles have been moved, their color changes. If you move system handles, both the square handle and the highlighted strip at the top of the system change color.

You can copy manual changes you have made to the staff spacing on individual pages to other pages in the layout.


When Staff 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 Staff Spacing or return to Write mode.