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Adding Files

Tips for scanning your hard copy sheet music

Most scanner software will allow you to create a PDF file directly from individual page scans, but keep in mind that forScore’s performance can vary widely based on the characteristics of the files you’re using. Keep your file sizes low by choosing a dpi of around 100-150 (up to 300 if you’ll need to zoom in often to see small details or if you have a device with a Retina display), and consider using a grayscale setting since color information typically isn’t very important for score. Each combination of scanner hardware and software is different, so try a few different test files to find the best balance between quality and performance to suit your own needs.
Note: most scanner software also has an option to “append” or create “multi-page” PDFs. We highly recommend using this feature to combine all pages from a score into a single file, rather than keeping each page as a separate file.

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Compatible file types

You can view virtually any PDF file with forScore, and use a wide range of free applications for every major platform to convert other files to the PDF format. forScore also works with password-protected PDF files, and will prompt you for the password the first time you open it, then store that password in your iOS Keychain so you don’t need to enter it every time. Note that some PDF files are restricted and require special software, so we can’t guarantee compatibility.
As of version 7.0, forScore can also import TXT, RTF, DOC, and DOCX files and automatically convert them into PDFs for you. In addition, you can import audio files in MP3, AIFF, AAC, ALAC, WAV, and M4A format and store them locally to link to scores in your library for playback.
forScore’s uses the following “4S” formats that can be shared with other forScore users:

  • 4SB: a backup file that contains all annotations, metadata, setlists, and settings from your library, but not the PDFs themselves
  • 4SC: a score file that contains the PDF file and all annotations and metadata in a single package
  • 4SS: a setlist file that contains the setlist data, and optionally includes the referenced PDFs and/or 4SC data

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Adding files using iTunes File Sharing

The best way to add files to forScore from your computer, whether using a Mac or a PC, is through the iTunes File Sharing panel using the following steps:

  • Close forScore on your iOS device
  • Access the iTunes File Sharing panel
  • Click “Add…” in the documents panel to open a file browser
  • Choose one or more files from the file browser
  • OR, drag and drop items from a file browser window over the documents panel
  • The file transfer will start automatically, with a progress bar displaying at the top of the iTunes window
  • When finished, you may disconnect your device and launch forScore

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Moving PDFs from iBooks to forScore

If you previously kept your PDF files in iBooks, or accidentally added them into iBooks through iTunes, you can transfer them from your computer into forScore. Here are some instructions for that process using a Mac computer, with the iBooks app installed:

  1. Connect your device to your computer
  2. On your computer, open the iBooks app, click Collections in the top section, then choose PDFs from the left sidebar
  3. Select the files you’re like to transfer, then click and drag them to your computer’s desktop
  4. In iTunes, access the iTunes File Sharing panel
  5. Drag the file(s) from your desktop into the panel that appears to the right of the forScore symbol
  6. The file(s) will be copied to your device automatically

If you use a PC, iBooks are stored in the iBooks section of your iTunes library. Browse the library to locate the PDF files you’ve added, then click and drag them to your desktop to copy the files there. Once you’ve finished, follow steps 4-7 above to add them to forScore.

If you have purchased music through the iBooks Store, there is no way to transfer those files to forScore due to proprietary file formats and copy restrictions.

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Using cloud services

Use online storage services to access any scores you don’t have room for on your device, to share scores with friends, or to manually back up your most important files.

Note: iCloud Drive has a very specific framework and interface, and does not currently allow for multiple file selection, so it behaves differently than other supported cloud services as described below.

Getting Started

The Services panel can be used to access files in your Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive (personal), or Box accounts, and can also be used to access any number of FTP or WebDAV servers.
Tap the + button in the top left-hand corner to pick which services you’d like to use or to set up a new server connection. Services will ask you to log in as you start using them, while FTP and WebDAV connections must be set up with a name, domain, username, and password up front.
Once you’ve successfully logged in, you’ll be able to navigate through your folders and see your files. You can upload, download, move, and delete PDF files or forScore-specific scores, setlists, and backups (4SC, 4SS, and 4SB files). You can also download some kinds of text files (TXT, RTF, DOC, and DOCX) and they’ll be automatically converted to PDFs once they’ve been downloaded. Other file types are greyed out.

Downloading Files

Tap on a file to download it, and a copy will be saved into your forScore library. If a file with the same name already exists in your library, you’ll be asked to duplicate or overwrite the file, or to cancel the transfer. Tap the stop button in the middle of the progress wheel to cancel a file transfer.

To download all files within a folder:

  • View the folder you’d like to download from
  • Tap the Edit button in the upper right corner of the panel
  • Tap the “select all” button along the bottom of the panel (a circled check mark)
  • Tap the “download” button (cloud with an arrow pointing down out of it) to start downloading the selected files

Tip: tap and hold a PDF or 4SC file with two fingers and—assuming you have some setlists in your library—you’ll be prompted to either download it normally, download it to the current setlist, or download it to any setlist in your library. You are also prompted with these options when downloading multiple files at once. Learn more here: Feature of the Week: Services to Setlists

Moving Files

While in edit mode, tap to select one or more files, then choose “Move” from the control bar. The selected files will turn blue, and you’ll be able to select directories or use the back button to navigate to the desired destination. When you’re ready, tap the “Move” button once again to send the selected files to the current directory.

Uploading Files

To upload files, tap the + button at the bottom of the panel. You’ll be presented with a searchable list of all the files in your library, and you’ll also see an option in the lower right-hand corner to use the forScore-specific 4SC file format which includes annotations, metadata, links, and more. Tap one or more files to select them, then tap the “Upload” button in the upper right corner of the menu to begin the upload process. If you would like to select all files, tap the All button at the bottom of the panel.

*While we provide access to some third-party services through our app, we have no control over their service or terms and conditions, both of which are subject to change at any time. Please be sure to visit their respective websites if you have any questions prior to signing up or using these service.

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Converting images or scanning to PDF

Use forScore’s Darkroom to digitize scores on the go: it allows you to take photos with your device’s camera or import images from your Photos library, then turns those images into a PDF file and adds it to your music collection. To begin, choose “Darkroom” from the tools menu.

In the middle of the navigation bar you’ll see a segmented control with a camera icon on the left and a photos icon on the right. The first time you use either of these methods to add photos to Darkroom, iOS will prompt you to grant forScore access to your device’s camera and/or photo library. Darkroom cannot function without permission to access at least one of these. If you decline, you will not be prompted a second time; you must use iOS’ Settings app to change these permissions. (In the “Privacy” section, see “Photos” and “Camera.”)

After you’ve added a few images, tap and hold, then drag to reorder them as needed. Or, to remove an image, tap the “x” button over its top left-hand corner. Use the automatic enhancement or manual adjustment tools to improve the contrast, brightness, tone, and saturation of your images, or tap on any image to see a full-screen preview and make similar changes to just that particular image. In this full-screen view, you can also rotate your images or use the Crop tool to eliminate white space and correct any perspective or rotation issues. When you’re done, tap “Save” to give your new file a name.

Note: if you’re using forScore 9 or earlier, please note that Darkroom does not feature most of these image processing capabilities and is intended to provide a quick method for digitizing scores, not as a replacement for a true scanner. For the best results, we highly recommend upgrading to forScore 10 or using a fully-featured “scanner” app like Scanner Mini or Scanner Pro, which then allows you to export as PDF to forScore.

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Using forScore’s in-app store

We know how hard it can be to find high-quality scores online that don’t force you into using proprietary systems or obscure formats, which is why forScore includes an in-app purchase storefront. It’s the best place to discover, preview, and download free and paid PDF scores that are perfectly optimized for the iPad. Note that the in-app storefront is not available in forScore mini.

Finding Scores

The storefront can be accessed by selecting the “Store” entry in the tools menu, and lets you browse by artist, genre, instrument, and publisher. Tap on a score to see details about the piece, including a preview of the first page, a description of what it contains, and more. You can also switch between “browse” and “purchases” at the bottom of the screen to monitor your downloads or to access and re-download any previously purchased scores.

Purchasing and Downloading

Your Apple ID is your gateway to purchasing digital content, so you don’t need to worry about entering your credit card information into the app. The download button next to each score tells you the item’s price—tap the button to purchase the score, then once more to confirm. The app will prompt you for your Apple ID authorization, then begin downloading your file. When the download is complete, the button will change to a blue Purchased button, and the score will be immediately available in your forScore library. You can check the status of downloads and review your purchase history in the Purchased section of the Store.

If you accidentally delete a purchased score from your library, don’t worry! You can re-download the original content at any time at no additional charge. Just return to the Purchased section of the Store and tap on the “Purchased” button to download it to your library again. You can also use the Restore function to unlock any previous purchases that you may have made from another iPad or with a different Apple ID, then re-download them as needed.

Copy Protection

Publishers may elect to use copy protection with some or all of their scores, changing how you can work with these files in several important ways. These files can be backed up to a computer for safe keeping, but they can only be viewed on the iPad that was originally used to download them. They cannot be shared, printed, or rearranged.

To view protected files on another iPad authorized with your Apple ID, you must re-download those files through the storefront. As long as you use the same Apple ID each time, you won’t be charged more than once.

Note: Protected files are listed with the letters “DRM” below the title in the storefront’s detail view. You’ll also see an additional notice below the copyright on the lower left-hand side of the screen.

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Adding files to a specific Library

To import new scores to an existing library, use the following steps:

  • From the Libraries menu, tap to select a library you’d like to use. The Libraries menu should close and return to the main score menu showing only the selected library.
  • Add the files via iTunes, email, or Dropbox and they will be imported into the currently selected library by default.

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Adding files from an email attachment

When you are viewing an email in the Mail app with a PDF attachment, here’s how you can import it into forScore:

  • Some larger files may not be completely downloaded yet. If that’s the case, the PDF icon will say “tap to download”. Tap the icon and the file will download completely
  • Once the file is downloaded, tap and hold on the PDF attachment icon, and a list of options will appear
  • Choose forScore from the “Open In…” list, and the file will open in the app and be saved to your forScore library
  • If you accidentally tap quickly on the PDF icon, the file will open in “quick look.” In this case, tap once on the screen to show the file options, then tap the “share” button in the upper right corner (the box with an arrow pointing upward), and you’ll see the same sharing options and be able to choose forScore

Note: if you use a different email app, this process may be different, but most mail clients have a “share” or “action” function that will allow you to send a file to another app on your device.

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Sharing files via Bluetooth

If your devices do not support AirDrop (the preferred method for transferring files between iOS devices), you can share files with nearby forScore users via Bluetooth using the following steps.


  • On both devices, tap the “Bluetooth” item from the tools menu
  • On one device, tap the “Connect” button in the top left corner and select the device you’d like to exchange files with when it appears in the list of nearby devices
  • When prompted on the other device, choose to accept the incoming connection

Sharing: Tap on any item from the list to share it (use the search bar to quickly find something by name). Setlists, backups, and audio files appear at the end of the list.

At the bottom of the share panel, you can choose to send scores as 4SC files (which include editable annotations, links, notes, and more), or you can send the original PDF file as is.

Note: Due to recent changes in iOS, forScore 7 uses a different API that is not compatible with older versions. As such, file transfers are limited to nearby devices running forScore 7.0 or later.

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Adding files from the web

Use Safari to save PDF files to your library from just about anywhere.

In iOS 11

  • Use the Safari app to navigate to a PDF file offered by a website. Direct access to the PDF file is required (some websites use frames to obfuscate the file source).
  • Once the PDF has downloaded and loaded into the “preview” view, tap the “share” button (a box with an up arrow) in the main toolbar.
  • Select “Copy to forScore” to save a copy to your forScore library.

In iOS 10 or Earlier

  • Use the Safari app to navigate to a PDF file offered by a website. Direct access to the PDF file is required (some websites use frames to obfuscate the file source).
  • Once the PDF has downloaded and loaded into the “preview” view, you will see a toolbar appear briefly at the top of the file with either “More…” (iOS 10) or “Open in…” (iOS 9 or earlier) on the left side. On the right side, it typically says “Open in iBooks…” or another common app used to view that file type. If the toolbar disappears too quickly, tap the PDF file to show the toolbar again, then tap the More or Open In button.
  • Select “Copy to forScore” to save a copy to your forScore library.

Many other apps—including Mail—offer similar functionality, and scores imported in this manner are copied to forScore’s documents folder so you won’t need to be connected to the internet to use them later. The more often you choose forScore for opening PDF files, the more likely that “Open in forScore…” will appear on the right side of this toolbar as a shortcut.

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Score metadata is changing automatically

If newly imported scores are “disappearing” from the menus, the app might be reassigning metadata it finds within the PDF file . In this case, the “Automatic fetching for new files” option in the app’s settings panel is enabled, which scans imported music for existing metadata and assigns it to common fields like Title and Composer, among others. Some PDF exporters will generate this metadata automatically, so that’s probably what you’re seeing. If you turn the option off, it will stop scanning the files and retain the file names as the title of the score.

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Adding files from other apps

Use any app that supports the “open in” feature to send a copy of a PDF file to forScore. In general, look for an “action” or “share” button that will provide a pop-up called a “share sheet,” then choose “Open in forScore.” Each app works a little differently, so consult their documentation for explicit instructions.

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Scanning for new files

To make things as speedy as possible, forScore only scans for new files periodically and may not always show your newest files immediately. If you’ve just added something and it’s not showing up, drag the score menu’s list downward until you see the refresh symbol, then let go to update the listing.

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