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Editing Your Scores

Annotating near the top of a page

While you’re annotating, forScore displays a toolbar so you can change drawing presets, tools, save or cancel your changes, or move between pages. This toolbar covers up part of the page, so you’ll need to move it when you want to annotate near the top of the screen.

On either side of the toolbar you’ll see a set of three horizontal lines. This is a standard iOS control that signifies when something can be moved up or down, for instance when reordering items in a list. Tap and drag this control up or down to move the annotation controls out of the way and they’ll stay there until you move them again (even if you exit and re-enter annotation mode later).

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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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Adding or creating new stamps

forScore’s annotation stamps include a general set for music markup, but we’ve also included the ability for users to create and add their own stamps to further customize the stamps palette and tailor it to their individual needs.

You can add stamps by pressing the + button or edit any existing stamps by first selecting them, and then tapping the action button. Either action will launch the stamp editor, where you can use your finger to draw or edit your design.

You can even create stamps by importing your own images. First, create an image on your computer (it must be a PNG image, and for best results should be 72×72 or 144×144 pixels), and add it to forScore via iTunes File Sharing. Then, create a new stamp and press the “Import” button to see the PNG files on your device. Tap on one to place it on the canvas and continue to edit it or simply save it as is.

Tip: The import panel also allows you to manage your files; swipe your finger across any entry to see the “delete” button appear, then tap it to remove an image once you no longer need it.

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Adding text annotations

Text annotations can be used to display custom text directly on the page at all times. With the “type” mode selected, tap anywhere to create a text box. You’ll see two small handles on either side of the box: the left handle allows you to move the text box around the screen, while the right handle allows you to change the width of the box. When you do so, the text box automatically adjusts its height to ensure that all of the text is visible.

Tap inside the text box to edit it, and you’ll notice a toolbar appear with several buttons on it. The “Format” button allows you to change the font, size, and color of the current annotation (save them as the default settings for any new text boxes if you like). The “Delete” button removes the current text box, and the “Done” button completes the edit. You can also tap anywhere on the page outside of the text box to finish editing and dismiss the virtual keyboard.

Tip: We do not recommend using multiple spaces in between text to create exact spacing across a page. (Example: entering chord markings across the top of a line of music.) Due to text scaling differences and font characteristics, the spacing can change when rotating from portrait to landscape or when printing or exporting an Annotated PDF. Instead, try creating a separate text field for each set of text, or, if you’re marking chords, try using stamps instead.

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Using Links to handle repeats

Create a link (Tools menu) between two points in your score to handle repeats with a single tap. Every link that you create consists of two components: a blue circle and an orange circle (an activation point and a target point). Blue circles are visible at all times and act like buttons, taking you to the correct location when tapped. When you do, the corresponding orange circle flashes twice, showing you where to begin playing, but remains invisible the rest of the time.

Note: Links don’t have to be on different pages, they can also be used as visual cues on the same page. If you’re using forScore in landscape mode, it even scrolls up or down if necessary.

To create a link, select “Link” from the tools menu, and you’ll see a new screen appear with two copies of the current score displayed side-by- side. You can use the seek bar or swipe to flip through the pages of either stack.

Tap anywhere on the left-hand page to create a blue circle, and tap anywhere on the right-hand page to create a corresponding orange circle. Both points are required to create a link. If you need to adjust the placement of a link point, simply tap the screen again in the correct position and the circle will move.

Tip: Tap and hold the page for a moment and a magnifying glass will pop up just above your finger, letting you position your links more precisely.

Tip: If you’re using a foot pedal to turn pages, use the Rearrange tool instead to duplicate and re-order your pages for a linear play-through of the song.

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Using the Rearrange tool

Take charge of your music by reordering, duplicating, rotating, or removing pages. When you’re done, save the results to a new file or replace the original. (Note: Rearrange is not available for password-protected files.)

Editing a Score

While links are a great visual way of dealing with repeats, they still require that you reach up and tap on the screen. Rearranging a score in advance, however, ensures that the next page is always the correct one—it’s great for musicians who use the autoturn feature or a foot pedal to turn pages.

While viewing the score you’d like to edit, choose “Rearrange” from the tools menu. The system will take a few moments to generate thumbnails for each page, and then you’ll be ready to customize your score’s layout. Drag pages around on the screen to rearrange them, and use the toolbar along the bottom of each page to remove it, rotate it 90° clockwise, duplicate it, or to create a new section beginning with it (use sections to split up large files into multiple documents). You can also rotate all pages at once using the arrow buttons at the bottom of the screen.

If you’re using forScore 10.5 or later, drag one page and then tap additional pages to move them all at once. If you drop them in a new location, they’re placed there in the order they were picked up. While dragging multiple pages, tap the Cancel button in the top right-hand corner to release all pages and place them back in their original locations, if needed.

Merging Files & Inserting Pages

With forScore 10 or newer, you can tap the “+” button at the bottom of the screen to add all of the pages from another score or bookmark to your Rearrange workspace. When you save, the pages will all be merged into one continuous PDF file. You can also insert one or more pages from a template, including blank pages—they’re fully annotatable so you can use them for just about anything.

Saving a Score

When you’re done adjusting your score’s layout, tap “Save As…” to create a new file or “Save” to permanently overwrite the original file. “Save As” copies the original score’s information but does not duplicate its versions. “Save” overwrites the original file and cannot be undone, and all score information (including versions) is updated as needed. In both cases, Links and Bookmarks are preserved and updated as long as their start and end pages haven’t been removed and, in the case of Bookmarks, that they haven’t been inverted (a bookmark’s start page must precede its end page).

Note: Rearrange was updated to preserve bookmarks and links with forScore 10.4 and forScore mini 3.4. If you’re using an earlier version of either app, your bookmarks and links will not be preserved when saving a rearranged file.

Keep in mind that some files use special fonts that the iPad cannot reproduce, and in some cases this can result in missing text or blank pages. Before overwriting any file, we strongly recommend that you save a copy first to ensure that the results are usable.

If you’ve split the file into multiple sections, the “Save” button won’t be available, but you can use the “Save As…” button to create a set of new, sequentially numbered files.

Tip: Use the “white marker” annotation preset or the rectangle shape to cover up the portions of repeated pages that you don’t need to play again. Since each page includes its own annotations, you will still be able to see that information on other copies of the page.

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Why is there a gray bar in annotation mode?

In annotation mode, forScore can display a ruler that helps you draw straight lines or better align elements like stamps or shapes. You can drag the ruler around on the screen with one finger to reposition it, or place two fingers on it and rotate them to adjust its angle. Tap this icon in the annotation toolbar to control whether or not the ruler is visible (the icon is outlined when the ruler is hidden and filled when it is shown):

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Can I copy and paste parts of my PDF?

forScore is not able to copy and paste the contents of the PDF page itself, but you can use the Selection Tool to copy/paste, move, or change the color of annotations you’ve made within forScore.

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Fixing crooked scans

With forScore 10 you can use the Crop tool to not only remove excess margins around the page, you can also correct crooked scans by precisely adjusting the angle of the page. The slider at the top of the screen can be dragged left or right, rotating the page by up to 20° in either direction.

Note that while your annotations, links, and buttons will all be updated to align properly with the page, these changes are not backwards-compatible with forScore 9 or earlier. If you need to share files with colleagues using an older version of forScore, sending an annotated PDF is the best way to keep your edits intact.

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Using stamps and shapes for common markings

Some musical symbols cannot be typed into a text box or drawn precisely, but with the “Stamps” and “Shapes” presets you can place these kinds of annotations on the page quickly and easily. Stamps is the first item on the second line of the annotation toolbar (a flat symbol by default), and shapes is the second item (a slur tool by default). Tap on either tool to select it, and tap again to see all of the available options. Drag the size slider at the bottom of either panel left or right to adjust stamp size or shape thickness.

Stamps

Tap the “tint” button at the top of the Stamps palette to color your stamps on the fly. Set a preferred color and enable tinting by tapping the switch in the top right-hand corner, then use the stamp tool like you normally would. Tinting only affects new annotations; existing ones are unaffected. On iPad, the arrow button in the top left-hand corner of the Stamps palette lets you collapse the view into a single column so you can see more of the page.

Shapes

The Shapes panel also allows tinting but on a per-shape basis. Tap the arrow button to the right of any shape to adjust its color and, in some cases, additional settings. For instance, the oval and rectangle tools can be filled or outlined, and the staff shape can be customized to draw a different number of lines. (Shape settings are available with forScore 10.5 or newer.)

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Using Versions

Scores in your library can have a lot of information associated with them, including metadata, annotations, links, notes, and more. In some cases, you may prefer to work with the same file but with different sets of information depending on the context.

A music teacher, for instance, might want to keep multiple sets of information for the same piece depending on the student they’re currently working with. Some people prefer to keep separate notes for practice or performance. For others, it’s a way of backing up and restoring individual scores independently of the rest of their library.

In the tools menu, choose “Versions” to show the version tray. From here you can view all of your versions for the current score, create new ones (up to 24), and update or restore an existing version.

Creating Versions

As long as you have fewer than 24 versions, the last item in the tray (all the way to the right) will be the “Add Version” button. Tap it, enter in a name, and tap the “OK” button to create your new version. You’ll see it appear at the end of the list with an arrow next to the title, indicating that it’s the most current version.

Viewing Versions

Swipe left or right to see up to 4 pages of versions (3 in landscape orientation), and tap any version to see more information about it. You’ll see the version’s screenshot, date created, and metadata.

Working with Versions

Any time you create or restore a version you’ll see an arrow appear next to its name, indicating that it’s the most current version. Changes that you make to your score during this time aren’t saved automatically, but you can update it at any time by pressing the “Update Version” button in the version’s info panel, and if you decide to restore another version you’ll be prompted to update the current version first.

Note: Versions can be created for both files and bookmarks, but it’s generally a good idea to stick with one or the other for each PDF in your library. Using versions with a file and its bookmarks concurrently is not recommended.

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Working with annotation layers

Introduced with forScore 10.4 and forScore mini 3.4, annotation layers allow you to separate your markings so you can organize them, show or hide them, and edit some of them without affecting others. All drawn markings (including stamps and shapes) and text annotations belong to a layer, while links and buttons are separate and always appear above other annotations on the page.

The Layers panel

The Layers button replaces the Snapshots button in the annotation toolbar and allows you to view and manage layers, and to select one layer to make it active. Every page always has at least one layer and can have up to eight layers in total. To create a new layer, tap the Layers button and tap the + icon at the bottom of the panel. Your new layer is given a default name and automatically made active (represented by a slightly darker background), and you can tap its title to rename it or tap other layers in the list to change the active layer at any time. Any markings you create are placed within the layer that’s currently active.

Items shown in this list from top to bottom represent layers from back to front (the layer at the top of the list contains annotations shown behind all others, and annotations within the layer at the bottom of the list are displayed in front all others). To the right of each layer in the list you’ll find three icons for toggling its visibility, merging it with the one behind it (above it in the list), and duplicating it. Use drag and drop gestures or tap the “Edit” button and drag the reorder control on the right-hand side of a layer to move it up or down.

Deleting or clearing layers

To delete a layer, tap “Edit” and then tap the red button on the left-hand side of a cell to confirm and remove it and all of its associated markings. Without activating edit mode, you can also remove a layer by swiping over it from right to left in the list view. This action also gives you a quick way of clearing all of the annotations on a particular layer without removing it entirely.

Moving annotations between layers

If you’ve made markings on one layer and want to move it to another layer, the Selection tool can help. Its copy and paste functions work within whichever layer is currently active, so you can select annotations in one layer, copy and then clear them, choose another layer, and paste them there. You can also move text annotations between layers: while editing a text annotation, tap “Layers” in the toolbar just above the keyboard (or along the bottom of the screen if you’re using an external keyboard) to move that annotation to a different layer.

About Snapshots

The Snapshots tool has been retired with forScore 10.4 and forScore mini 3.4 since Layers provide many of the same functions with even greater flexibility. If you’ve previously created snapshots for any page of the current score, you can still access those by tapping the Snapshots icon in the top left-hand corner of the Layers panel. A conversion tool within the Snapshots interface allows you to transfer each snapshot’s contents to a layer instead, so you can move to the new system when you’re ready. If you prefer to use snapshots instead of layers, you can re-enable this feature in the “Legacy Settings” section of forScore’s settings panel.

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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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Using Indexes to create bookmarks

When you’re using one long PDF file with multiple pieces within it, bookmarks are an essential part of ensuring that forScore can be at its best, giving you all of the great features you’d get with individual PDF files for each score.

Since adding bookmarks can be a daunting and time-consuming task, use the Indexes feature to create bookmarks from a comma-separated value (CSV) file. To begin, import a CSV file by downloading it through the Services panel, copying it to forScore from another app (or using Drag and Drop), or by adding it to your forScore library from a computer using iTunes’ File Sharing panel.

While viewing your score, open the Bookmarks menu and tap “Indexes” in the top left-hand corner and choose your CSV file. Values found in each column are listed in the “values” section—tap any of them to assign their information to specific types of forScore metadata, then browse through each record to make sure things look right. The minimum values to create bookmarks are title and starting page; if you want to be able to add individual metadata or add bookmarks to setlists, you’ll also need to set an end page. Set a page offset value, if necessary, and check the thumbnail preview to make sure each bookmark lines up correctly. Skip any header or footer rows as needed, then tap “save” when you’re ready.

If you have multiple CSV files that are structured similarly, you can save and reuse your current value mapping by selecting “default to these settings.”

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Opening and Editing Files In-Place

With iOS 11 and forScore 10.4 or forScore mini 3.4 or later, the contents of forScore’s documents directory are now available through the Files app and you can view or edit them directly through other apps on your device. If you share files from forScore to other apps, it’s important to understand what features they offer and whether you may be permanently altering your files. Visit this page to learn more about in-place editing.

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Preventing finger input while drawing

If you’re using Apple Pencil (1st or 2nd generation) or Logitech Crayon to annotate, iOS provides great palm rejection right out of the box. While the system is good at ignoring unintentional touches, there’s still a chance that your fingers can make stray markings while you draw with one of these styluses. If that’s the case, the “prevent finger drawing” option in the Apple Pencil section of forScore’s settings panel may help. When this setting is enabled and active, you’ll be able to use your fingers to interact with forScore normally (switch tools, zoom in on the page, and tap other interface elements), but only your stylus will be able to draw markings on the page.

Because your stylus isn’t always around, and because Apple doesn’t give developers an efficient way of checking whether or not a stylus is currently connected, forScore uses different techniques to determine when to apply this setting or not. In previous versions of forScore (10.0-10.4.9), this setting only worked if you entered annotation mode by tapping the page with your stylus.

As of forScore 10.5, forScore simply tracks the last time the stylus touched the screen. As long as you’ve used your stylus within the last 15 minutes, finger drawing will be prevented no matter how you activate annotation mode. If you need to re-enable finger drawing because your stylus is out of reach or out of power, tap the new hand icon in the center of the annotation toolbar. If you do, you’ll be able to continue drawing with your fingers until the next time you use your stylus.

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