At A Glance

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Getting Started

See also: Basics in our online user guide

Overriding your device’s sleep setting

In the settings panel you’ll find a forScore-specific option called “Auto-lock”. If enabled, forScore will allow your device’s screen to dim then sleep if it’s set up to do so. If you disable this option, forScore will override the device’s settings and prevent it from going to sleep as long as forScore is visible on the screen.

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Half-page turns

When your device is in portrait orientation, half-page turns allow you to see the top half of the next page while finishing up the bottom half of the current page. This feature can be enabled by tapping on the button in the main control bar shown below. Tap it once to enable half-page turns (it will turn blue) and tap it again to disable them (it will turn gray).

A blue horizontal divider shows you where the page is split so you don’t get lost, and you can reposition this divider vertically by dragging the three horizontal lines up or down. The divider’s position is saved per page of score, so you can set it once to the most convenient location for each turn and it’ll always split in that same spot.

forScore 11

forScore 10 or earlier

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Backing up your data to your computer

This article provides step-by-step instructions for backing up your information using forScore’s Backup panel, but it’s also important to understand where your data is stored and how forScore works with iOS backups, iCloud, and your computer. For more information on these topics, visit this page.

Note: this article references 4SB Archives which are available as of forScore 10.4.7. Archives take up significantly more storage space on your device and may not be available in all situations. Learn more about the difference between 4SB backups and archives here.

Using iTunes

This method is the fastest and most common way of backing up your data. We recommend this process instead of using the Services panel whenever possible.

  • In forScore, open the Tools menu and choose Backup.
  • Tap the + button to create a new backup (recommended) or an archive, if available.
  • Connect your device to your computer with its USB cable and access the iTunes File Sharing panel.
  • If you created an archive, select it from the list. If you created a backup file, select all of the files in the documents panel by clicking on one and pressing Ctrl-A (PC) or Command-A (Mac).
  • Click the “Save To…” button and specify a location on your computer. The transfer begins immediately (see the progress bar near the top of the iTunes window). Once the progress bar finishes, it is safe to disconnect your device.

Using the Services panel

You can also back up your library to a supported cloud service through forScore’s Services panel. When using this method, we strongly encourage using Archives instead of Backups since only a single file needs to be uploaded and ensures that you don’t end up with an incomplete backup of your library.

  • In forScore, open the Tools menu and choose Backup.
  • Tap the + button to create a new backup or archive (recommended, if available).
  • Return to the Tools menu and choose Services, select your account if not already visible, and navigate to your preferred upload directory.
  • If you created an archive:
    • Tap the + button, navigate to the “Backups” tab, select your archive and choose “Upload” to begin the transfer.
  • If you created a backup:
    • Tap the + button, navigate to the “Backups” tab, select the backup you just created and choose “Upload” to begin the transfer.
    • Tap the + button again, navigate to the “Scores” tab, tap “All” in the lower left-hand corner to select all files. Ensure that the upload format is “PDF” in the bottom right-hand corner, then choose “Upload” to begin the transfer.
    • Tap the + button and navigate to the “Audio” tab. If any files listed, tap “All” in the lower left-hand corner to select all of them and choose “Upload” to begin the transfer.
    • Repeat the last step for the upload picker’s “Other” tab, if necessary.

Using forScore Backup Utility for MacforScore 10.5

Archive your library directly to a Mac running macOS 10.13 or newer by downloading our free backup utility. This creates a single 4SB Archive file on your computer that can be used to recover your entire forScore library if needed. If you need to be able to browse through and access your documents on your computer, see the “using iTunes” section above.

  • Connect your iOS device to your computer using its USB cable
  • Launch forScore Backup Utility
  • Open forScore and choose “Backup” from the tools menu
  • Create a new archive by tapping the + button in forScore’s Backup panel, or restore from an existing archive by clicking “Restore…” in the Backup Utility app on your Mac

Please don’t leave your hard work up to chance, back up regularly!

If you ever need to restore your data from a forScore backup, see this article: Restoring your library from a forScore backup file

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Cropping pages to enlarge your music

Most PDF files contain white space around the edges, but these margins are more important for printing something out rather than displaying it on a screen. To crop individual pages within a PDF file, use Crop tool by following these steps:

  • Open the Tools menu (toolbox icon) and choose Crop
  • The app will attempt to detect the edges of the music and auto-crop the score
  • Use two fingers to zoom in or pan around and enlarge the page further if needed
  • Use the slider in the crop toolbar to adjust the skew of the page if needed
  • Tap the next page arrow to move through the rest of the file and make further page-specific adjustments if needed
  • Tap Crop when finished to save your changes

If you’d like to adjust the margins for all pages in a file at once, learn more about margin adjustment.

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Using Margin Adjustment to remove white space

Most PDF files contain white space around the edges, but these margins are more important for printing something out rather than displaying it on a screen. The margin adjustment slider allows you to zoom in equally towards the center of every page of that score at once. It doesn’t affect the original file, so you can still print it out later if you need to.

  • Open the metadata panel for the item you’d like to adjust (tap the title display for the current item or tap the round arrow button to the right of an item in a menu)
  • Make sure the “Layout” tab is selected about 2/3 down the panel
  • Use the slider at the very bottom to make a global adjustment to the margins of the file
  • The preview image will update when the slider is released, and you can page through by swiping or tapping the blue arrows to check how the adjustment affects the other pages in the file
  • When finished, tap away from the panel to close it and save the changes

To crop individual pages differently or off-center, consider using the Crop function in the tools menu instead. Note that cropped pages won’t zoom in when you move the margin adjuster.

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Deleting Files

There are two ways to delete scores within the app, but you can also delete them directly from your device through iTunes, or through the Console web editor. Below are instructions for all four methods.

Swipe to Delete:

  • In the scores menu (music note icon), swipe from right to left across the title of an item and a red “Delete” button will appear.
  • Tap the Delete button to confirm, and it will be removed from your library immediately.*

Delete One or More Files:

  • In the scores menu, tap the Edit button in the upper right corner of the menu, then tap to select one or more files from the list.
  • When finished, tap the Delete button that appears in the menu options at the top, then confirm when prompted to delete the files immediately.*

*If you use either of the two methods above to delete files using forScore 10.5 or later, certain items like scores, setlists, and backups are not immediately destroyed but are instead moved to the “recently deleted” section of forScore’s backup panel and can be restored for up to seven days. Learn more about this recovery feature here.

Managing Your Files through iTunes:

  • Connect your device to your computer and access the iTunes File Sharing panel
  • Select one or more file like you would in your file browser, then press the Delete or Backspace key to delete them, and confirm when prompted.

Deleting files through the “Console” web editor:

  • Make sure your iOS device and computer are on the same wi-fi network
  • Open the forScore Tools menu and choose Console
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to authorize your computer to access your forScore library
  • Click on an item in the menus in your browser to display its metadata
  • Click on the file name to view the PDF in a new tab if needed
  • Click the Delete icon (trash can) to delete the file. (You can also hold Ctrl/Command or Shift while clicking to select multiple items and delete them all at once.)
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Understanding Backups, Syncing, and iCloud

Backing up your data is an important part of using forScore, and with today’s cloud-connected devices it can be hard to know exactly where your data is at all times. This document explains how and where forScore stores your information and gives you a broad understanding of how you can effectively back it up. For step-by-step instructions, visit this article.

App Storage

Every app on your device has a standard set of folders that it uses to store information. The Documents directory is commonly used to store user content, like documents you add to (or create within) an app. If an app chooses to do so, like forScore does, it can make the contents of this folder available through the Files app or through iTunes on a computer when your device is connected to it.

Other data like app settings, which are designed to be changed through the app’s interface and not edited directly, are stored in a number of private app directories instead.

Documents (Public)

PDFs, CSV indexes, recordings, tracks, 4SB backups, and more

Library (Private)

Annotations, setlists, bookmarks, metadata, settings, and more

4SB Backups

When you access forScore’s documents through the Files app or with iTunes’ File Sharing panel, you’re only seeing some of forScore’s data. If you were to back these files up and copy them to a new forScore installation, you’d find that your annotations, metadata, setlists, settings, and certain other information would all be missing. To help you keep all of that extra information, forScore’s Backup panel lets you export its private app data as a single 4SB backup file that’s stored in the Documents directory alongside the rest of your documents. Together, an up-to-date 4SB backup and a copy of every other file in forScore’s Documents directory is enough to duplicate or restore your music library. Backups cannot be used on their own: they snapshot forScore’s information about your files, not your files themselves.

4SB ArchivesforScore 10.4.7

You can also use forScore’s Backup panel to create 4SB archives. An archive is a single 4SB file that includes a copy of every file in forScore’s Documents directory as well as the private information that’s contained in a standard 4SB backup. Because they duplicate all of your documents, archives require much more free space on your device, but they are more convenient because they contain everything you need to migrate or recover your entire forScore library. They can be uploaded to your preferred cloud storage service or copied to a computer using iTunes.

iCloud Backups

Depending on your settings, iOS can regularly back up your entire device through iTunes or iCloud. If your device is lost or damaged, you can usually use this information to get back up and running quickly. Keep in mind, however, that iCloud offers limited storage and that you can’t restore data for a single app—it’s all or nothing. Because of this, we also recommend manually backing up your forScore library on a regular basis.

iCloud Syncing

Some apps use iCloud to store and synchronize their content between devices. This gives you access to your documents from any device, but it also comes at a cost: an app may not always be able to access those documents immediately. If the system is busy syncing, or if the content simply hasn’t been transferred over to your device yet, the app must wait. Since forScore was built for speed, we don’t use this system. When musicians turn the page from one score in a setlist to the next, they need it to be ready at a moment’s notice.

Deleting forScore

If you delete forScore from your device, all of your information goes with it. If an Apple employee tells you to delete the app to fix a problem, be sure you have made a complete backup first. We don’t store a copy of your files and can’t help you get them back if they’re erased.

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Turning pages from one score to the next

By default, forScore’s settings allow you to turn pages from one file to the next in the queue when viewing a setlist, but not from the main score menu (music note icon). You can adjust this in the app’s settings panel under “Flip between scores.” The options are:

  • Off: Only allows you to flip between pages within the same PDF file.
  • Setlists: Allows you to flip from one score to the next when viewing a setlist. Queue order is determined by the sort order you’ve selected in that setlist (Manual, Sorted, Fresh, or Shuffle)
  • All: Allows you to flip from one score to the next when viewing a file from either the Score or Setlist menu. Queue order is determined by the sort order of the menu or sub-menu where you first viewed the file.

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Jumping quickly to a page using the seek bar

forScore features a seek bar (dotted line) along the bottom of the screen that appears or disappears like the rest of forScore’s controls when you tap once in the center of the screen. Drag the white circle left or right to see page numbers and thumbnail previews of the current score’s pages and let go to navigate to that page. If you’d like the seek bar to stay put at all times, enable the “Always show seek bar” option in the app’s setting panel.

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Customizing forScore’s settings

You can customize forScore’s settings as needed to tailor the app to your particular needs. Below are descriptions for each of the settings available through the Tools menu.

Note: These settings are found in forScore 11.0. Other versions may differ.


Auto-lock: Disable this setting to prevent your device from sleeping automatically while forScore is open.
Display Zoom: Exclusively for 11-inch iPad Pro, these settings help you get the best view of your music.
Search: Adjust which kinds of results are shown and in which order, how many recent items are listed, and more.
Devices: Connect to certain types of accessories like the AirTurn PED or IKMultimedia BlueBoard.
MIDI: Toggle the ability to send and receive MIDI commands or use the piano keyboard as a synthesizer.
forScore Pro: Get more out of forScore with this optional, auto-renewing subscription.


Gestures: Configure forScore’s taps, swipes, and shortcuts to better suit your needs.
Page turners & shortcuts: Use keyboard shortcuts, MIDI signals, page turner pedal presses, or an Apple Pencil 2 double tap gesture to trigger certain actions.
Page transitions: This setting affects the transition animation that is used when turning pages.
Flip between scores: Choose when to advance from the end of one score to the beginning of the next, like a book.
Two-up page advance: Choose whether to advance one or two pages at a time when using two-up mode.
Up next: See the next queued item’s title in the status bar when you reach the last page of the current item.


Show status bar: Controls whether the system status bar along the top of the screen is visible while using forScore.
Sepia effect: Tint forScore’s views to provide a warmer tone.
Always show seek bar: The seek bar (the dotted line along the bottom of the page) usually appears and hides along with the control bar. Enabling this setting keeps it on the screen at all times.
Always show tab bar: Prevents the tab bar from hiding automatically when only one tab is open.
PDF annotations: Choose which kinds of embedded PDF annotations should be visible (and interactive, if applicable).


Score menu includes bookmarks: Bookmarks typically appear in two places—the bookmarks menu itself, and alongside other files in the score menu. Disable this to hide bookmarks from the score menu.
Smart sorting: When enabled, items are sorted by ignoring common prefixes like “the,” “a,” or “an.”
Sort composers by first name: Alphabetizes by first word in the composer value instead of the last word.
Automatic fetching for new files: Allows forScore to scan new files for PDF metadata and import it automatically.
Use external audio: When forScore launches, it checks to see if iOS’ shared audio system is currently in use. If so, this option will allow you to control playback of that track, temporarily overriding any linked tracks.


Apple Pencil: Adjust how annotation works when using Apple Pencil or the similar Logitech Crayon.
Annotation tools: Control how forScore saves your last-used preset between annotation sessions.
Variable width: Adjust how much forScore should emphasize your drawings based on speed or Pencil pressure and tilt.


App icon: Change forScore’s app icon.
In-app purchases: Access any downloadable content you’ve previously purchased through forScore’s storefront.
Accessibility: Enable Reflow, change the app’s color, use full-screen menus, or use custom metronome sounds.
Advanced options: Enable older features or settings that have limited support and may be removed in future updates.
Restrictions: Set a passcode and hide certain features.
Reset: Restore default app settings, stamps, or drawing presets, or scan your library and remove any unused data.

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How do I “close” my files?

forScore doesn’t use “windows” like a conventional desktop app, so there’s not a home screen or a way to close the score you’re viewing, and the app will always recall the last thing you were viewing when it relaunches. You can select a new item from any of the menus and the one you were viewing previously will effectively “close”. forScore then clears that previous item out of memory automatically so you don’t need to worry about having too many things open at once.

If you would like to show multiple things at once, you can open items in new tabs, much like a web browser. To do this, tap and hold an item in the menu until the preview image appears, then tap the “+” button to open it in a new tab.

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Understanding forScore’s menu layout and navigation

Menus are a big part of forScore, so understanding how they’re organized in general can help you move from one to another without getting lost.

Menus usually feature a navigation bar along the top. This bar includes a title as well as edit, add, and back buttons (when appropriate). On iPhones or iPod touches, or when you’re using the iPad’s narrow multitasking modes, some of these buttons may appear in a toolbar along the bottom of the menu instead.

Below the navigation bar, you’ll see a series of buttons that alter the content or sort order of the list below it. While you’re editing a list, this bar may also show available actions, and it may scroll left and right if needed to display all of the options.

Most menus also include a search bar hidden between the navigation bar and the sort bar—drag the list downward to access it. When you’re done searching, or when you scroll down, the search bar slides back under the control bar and hides out of sight until you need it again.

Menus may also include an index down the right-hand side which allows you to move quickly through longer lists. Tap or drag your finger up and down over it to jump to a particular spot or first letter (if the list is sorted alphabetically).

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Organization Basics

The score menu organizes your files by Composers, Genres, Tags, and Labels. These lists are generated dynamically, so they’ll only show values currently being used by one or more items in your library. (Learn more about changing an item’s properties using the Metadata panel.)

Tap any of these entries and you’ll see a new list containing all of the scores that pertain to that category. A single score may be visible in several different lists, so long as it matches the corresponding category or setlist. (For example, a score with “Johann Sebastian Bach” as its composer and “Romantic” as its genre will be listed under both of these categories.) Most submenus can be sorted by date added, rating, difficulty, key, time, or alphabetically.

Note: By default, forScore sorts Composers alphabetically by last name and sorts scores by omitting common words like “the,” “a,” and “and.” You can change both of these behaviors in the app’s settings panel to better suit your needs.

The setlist menu lets you create lists and group things manually so you can play through them in any order you need. Setlists even allow you to place the same item in a list more than once. Learn more about setlists here.

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Does forScore sync content across devices?

forScore doesn’t offer any syncing capabilities due to the complexity of the app’s data structure, but you can use these instructions to copy your entire library to another devices: Transferring your forScore library to another device

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Searching for items in your library

In many of forScore’s menus, a search bar hidden up at the top of the list will allow you to filter down its items and find exactly what you’re looking for. If you’re viewing a list of composers, for instance, drag the list downward and type a few letters to see composer names containing those letters. If you’re viewing a list of scores, you can also use multiple words in any order to match either the score’s title or its composers.

In most cases, however, it’s easier to find what you’re looking for by using the global search function (the magnifying glass icon in the main control bar). You can search for any score, bookmark, setlist, or category (composer, genre, or tag). You can even search for an action or tool by name to get to it quickly.

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Downloading scores from

With forScore 10.4 or later you can access your purchases and download them as standard PDF files into your forScore library. To begin, choose “Services” from forScore’s Tools menu and tap “Musicnotes” in the list. Log in when prompted, if necessary, and your list of purchases will appear.

Purchases can be sorted by title, composer, date purchased, or by key. Tap any single item to download it or swipe from right to left and choose “Download…” to download the item and add it to a specific setlist. You can use Edit mode to select multiple files and download them at once.

Notes: The “…” button in the Services list will open the Musicnotes website in a full-screen view to allow you to manage your account. Sharing is disabled for files imported from Musicnotes purchases.

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Turning pages

Turn the page with two basic kinds of gestures: swipes and taps. Swipe left or right across the screen like flipping through pages in a book, or simply tap either side of the screen once.

You can also adjust the page transition type in the app’s settings panel under the Tools menu, and choose between curl, slide, stack, or no transition at all.

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Toggling the control bar

To help you get the best view of your music, forScore’s controls are hidden by default. A quick, single tap in the middle of the page reveals the control bar along the top of the screen. This control bar gives you access to six important items (in blue): scores, bookmarks, and setlists on the left, and search, audio utilities, and the tools menu on the right.

The darker area in the middle of the toolbar displays the current item’s title, composer, and gives you quick access to commonly used tools and functions. Tap the arrow button on the right to reveal a second page of tools, or swipe left and right to move between pages. The “···” button on the second page lets you rearrange these items, placing up to two of them on the first page for easy access (the second item replaces the arrow button, but you can still swipe left and right to move between pages).

On iPhone or iPod Touch, the default first item activates Reflow. On iPad, it defaults to a button that toggles half page turns when your device is held in portrait orientation and two-page mode while in landscape.

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Using forScore in landscape orientation

To get a better view of your score, turn your device sideways: the page will fill up the screen’s width and extend downward if necessary. Swipe or tap to scroll from top to bottom and between pages, or drag the page up and down with your finger.

You can also view two pages at a time in landscape orientation.

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Zooming in on a page

If you’d like to quickly see part of a page up close, place two fingers on the screen and move them farther apart to zoom in, or closer together (pinch) to zoom out. Double-tap the screen while zoomed in to return to the normal size.

Learn more about cropping and margin adjustment for more permanent options.

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About iPad multitasking

Since iOS 9, iPad users have been able to use Split View and Slide Over multitasking modes to work with multiple apps more easily. With iOS 11’s addition of the dock and Drag and Drop gestures, things have gotten even more powerful. Apple’s support article explores this topic more generally, and it’s the best place to learn how to use all of iOS’ multitasking features.

forScore has supported Split View and Slide Over multitasking modes since iOS 9’s release, and we updated forScore to deeply integrate with Apple’s Drag and Drop gestures ahead of iOS 11’s launch. Use both to work more efficiently and naturally than ever before.

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Do I need an account to use forScore?

No, forScore does not use accounts and does not collect any information about you. Some of the system features on your device require an iCloud account from Apple, and forScore’s Services panel allows you to access content from third-party cloud storage services and content providers. If you choose to use these features, information essential to their use will be transmitted to servers we don’t control. Read our complete (and short) privacy policy here.

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