Feature of the Week

Filters

| Feature of the Week

There have always been two layers to forScore’s menu system: categories and attributes. You assign metadata to your scores like composers, genres, tags, or labels, and those values give you the ability to broadly browse your library. You can tap on any one of these to see the related scores, and sort them by fine-grained attributes like title, date added, rating, difficulty, key, duration.

For most of its history, forScore has used this system to make browsing simple—pick a category, sort its contents, and find your score. With version 10.1, though, that’s just the beginning. We introduced Filters, a way of combining categories with advanced rules to get far more specific about what you want to see. You can use them in most score menus by dragging the list down until you see the search bar at the top. Tap the circled Filters icon on the left-hand side to get started.

The Filters interface features two sections: the top section shows any active filters and lets you create new ones, and the lower section shows your ten most recent filters for quick and easy reuse. Tap the + button to create a new filter, and then tap to select one or more categories. At the bottom of the panel, you’ll see the current rule matching option (“equals” or “not” if you’ve selected one category, and “any” or “all” if you’ve selected multiple categories). When you’re done, tap the “x” button in the top right-hand corner and continue adding as many filters as you like. Finally, tap “Done” to return to the score menu and you’ll see that your list has been refined to show only the results that match your filters.

With this new feature, you can cross-reference categories and hone in on exactly what you’re looking for. Choose a composer to see all of their works, for instance, then add a filter to narrow the list down to just the piano songs. It’s a powerful and flexible new tool that’s bound to save you time when you find yourself needing it.

Status Bar

| Feature of the Week

Last month we unveiled forScore 10.1, and make no mistake: this is no minor point release. It’s one of the biggest updates we’ve done, and it includes some great features that we’ll be discussing over the next several weeks.

We’ll start with the most obvious visual change—the ability to hide the status bar. Yes, that area along the top of the screen that’s been with us since the beginning. It shows the time in the middle, networking on the left, and power information on the right (along with a few other icons for various system features). Prior to iOS 7, the status bar was distinct from an app’s interface and blocked off with a black background, but that boundary was blurred as iOS continued to evolve.

The status bar displays a lot of important information, of course, but it can be distracting and some people prefer to hide it while using forScore. Thanks to the work we did to support all of the different app sizes introduced with iOS 9’s advanced multitasking modes, we were finally able to add this setting. It’s not the most common feature request we’ve gotten, but it’s been a persistent one and we’re glad to finally be able to offer it.

Goals

| Feature of the Week

We introduced forScore 10 almost three months ago now, and we’ve spent each week since then diving in to some of the great new features and enhancements it brought with it. Next week we’ll move on some of the more recent changes we’ve made, but today’s last look at 10.0 is a neat one: the Goals widget.

Goals, introduced in forScore 9 as part of the Dashboard feature, help you stay on track by letting you set a certain amount of practice time and/or number of views per day, week, month, or all time. They can be specific to a particular piece you’re working on, or they can be the total amount of time you’ve spent playing.

With forScore 9, the only way to check up on your goals was to visit the full Dashboard interface. Now, with forScore 10, you can easily track your progress live, right from the title display in the main control bar. It’s on the second page by default, but like the rest of the icons in the title display you can rearrange them and put your two most important ones on the first page. Put it front and center, then get to playing!

Swipe to Share

| Feature of the Week

One of several big advantages digital sheet music has over the old paper variety is the ease with which you can share copies with colleagues. No more hunting down a photocopier, files can be transferred from one iPad to another in seconds.

That gets even easier with forScore 10, because now you can swipe from right to left over a score or setlist in your library to share it. If you’ve ever used this gesture to delete something from your library then you already know how it works: the item slides off to the left exposing a red “Delete” button, now joined by a gray “Share” button. Simply tap that Share button and you’ll be asked to pick which format you want to share, just like when you use any of the other existing methods to share a file or setlist. It’s easy, flexible, and now quicker than ever.

Rearranging Tabs

| Feature of the Week

One popular feature in forScore is the ability to open multiple scores or bookmarks in tabs. We discussed this feature in our second ever Feature of the Week, so feel free to check that out for a quick refresher.

With forScore 10, we added a simple but important enhancement: the ability to rearrange your tabs. To do so, just tap and hold your finger on a tab until it animates, then drag it left or right as needed. When it’s in the right spot, just let go. Some features are complex and take a lot of words to explain. Rearranging tabs isn’t one of them, but that doesn’t make this enhancement any less useful!

Inserting Pages

| Feature of the Week

While the big news this week is the release of iOS 10 and forScore 10.1, we’ve still got a few features introduced earlier this year that we just can’t skip! Today’s is an extremely helpful addition to the Rearrange tool that combines its flexible features with the merge function to create an even more powerful tool. In fact, if we were naming it today, we’d probably call it the Layout tool instead.

Using this new functionality is easy, just pick a file you want to edit and choose “Rearrange” from the tools menu. The new + button at the bottom of the screen lets you add the pages of any other score in your library to your current workspace. Pick the file you want, and its pages will be added to the bottom of the grid view. You can duplicate them, delete them, rotate them, and arrange them any way you like. It’s a great way of solving some common problems, like when a file you’ve scanned ends up missing a page or when one or more pages are changed later on and need to be replaced.

That’s not all, though, because you can also use this new feature to insert one or more blank pages. These blank pages can be placed anywhere you like, and once you save your changes you can even annotate on them. It’s Rearrange, and it’s Merge, and it’s even more—all in one easy place.

Darkroom: Adjust

| Feature of the Week

As we’ve discussed over the past several weeks, forScore 10 brought a lot of big improvements to the Darkroom feature. First, we took a look at the Crop tool which allows you to get the best possible view of your page by accounting for margins, rotation, and shifted perspective. Then we discussed the Enhance tool which gives you better results by adjusting brightness, contrast, tone, and more with just a single tap. Finally, today we’ll be taking a look at the Adjust tool which lets you modify your images even more granularly: it’s like the Enhance tool in manual mode.

Like Enhance, the Adjust tool can be used to modify one specific image or all of your images at once: tap the Adjust icon (three overlapping circles) in the toolbar at the bottom of Darkroom’s main view or tap an image to show the full-screen preview and use it there to adjust only that specific image.

When you tap the Adjust tool, a new view appears with controls for saturation, contrast, and brightness. Drag these sliders back and forth to see how they change your image: the preview updates instantly while the full image is only updated when you dismiss the panel. Tap the preview image at any time to switch between a thumbnail image or a zoomed in closeup.

Darkroom’s three new tools work together to help you get even better results when digitizing your scores on the go. So next time someone hands you paper and there’s no flatbed scanner to be found, don’t forget to put them to good use.

Darkroom: Enhance

| Feature of the Week

Last week we began our discussion of the major improvements made to forScore’s Darkroom feature in 10 with the Crop tool (read more about that here if you haven’t had a chance to already). Today we’re looking at another new tool, Enhance.

The Enhance tool is easy to use: tap the magic wand icon in the toolbar at the bottom of Darkroom’s main view to use it for all of the photos in your workspace, or tap an image to show the full-screen preview and use it there to affect only that particular image. In short, it makes your images better.

Behind the scenes, iOS scans your photo and creates a customized set of filters that are designed to give you the best possible results by adjusting brightness, contrast, tone, and more. Then, since we know we’re working with images of printed paper rather than portraits or scenic landscapes, we remove color information and increase the contrast a little more (both of these changes are editable since they’re made using the Adjust tool, which we’ll be discussing next week).

Easy to use, and a little more complicated to explain, the end result is that your images generally look clearer and more like they were made on a flatbed scanner than with a point-and-shoot.

Darkroom: Crop

| Feature of the Week

When adding new music to your library, digitally-produced PDF files are certainly best. They feature the highest quality and lowest file sizes. For paper scores, a flatbed scanner is a decent option for archival digitization: you’ll get full control over color, resolution, and more.

But, like they say, the best camera is the one you have with you. If you need to digitize a score on the go, Darkroom is the way to do it. It lets you snap photos with your iPad’s camera or import images from your device’s Photos library, then turn them into a PDF in minutes. It’s a feature that’s been around for a while now, but with forScore 10 it takes a big leap forward with several major improvements. Today we’ll take a quick look at cropping, a feature that lets you remove the edges of a photo and get the best possible view of a page.

After adding a photo to your workspace, tap on it to see a larger preview, then tap the Crop icon at the bottom of the screen (the second-to-last icon). First, forScore will scan your image to try and find the edges of your page. If it can, it’ll set the crop box to the area it thinks you’ll want to keep. Otherwise, it’ll start you off with a 10% margin on each side. Drag the edges or corners of the crop box to fit your page, then tap “Crop” in the top right-hand corner of the screen. Anything outside of the selected area will be removed, accounting for shifted rotation and perspective if needed.

It’s a quick and easy way of getting great results, especially for files you’ll only be using temporarily. That’s just the start of what’s new in Darkroom in forScore 10, though, so be sure to check back next week for more!

Setlist Folders

| Feature of the Week

Setlists are a popular and flexible way for users to organize their music exactly how they need it, and we’ve often heard from people who keep those lists around so they can duplicate and tweak them as needed to suit their weekly events. After a few weeks, that list of setlists can grow and really start to get out of hand. That’s why we introduced setlist folders in forScore 10: they let you group and organize your setlists much like files on a computer, so you can separate them into groups as needed or archive them after each performance.

When you tap the “Edit” button in the Setlists menu, the “+” button that normally lets you create a new setlist changes to let you create a new folder instead (the icon changes to a folder with a plus symbol inside of it). Tap here and supply a name to create a new folder. All of the different ways you can sort your setlists work the same way with folders: use Manual mode to arrange them any way you like, sort them alphabetically, or sort them by least-recently played.

To move a setlist into your new folder, tap the circled “i” button to the right of the setlist to show the setlist panel. Select any folder in the “Folders” section to move your setlist into that folder, or tap the “New Folder…” item at the bottom of the list to create a new one (creating a folder here works exactly the same way as it does in the main Setlists menu, this way just saves you a few taps). Use the Setlist menu’s edit mode to select multiple items and move them all into a folder at once.

Now you don’t have to choose whether you want to keep your older setlists or sacrifice them to clean up a cluttered list—get the best of both worlds by organizing them into folders instead.

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