File Menu

The File Menu appears when you select the File Menu icon from the Main Toolbar:

This menu contains all the controls for creating, opening, saving, importing, exporting and printing score documents. On the iPad version of NoteAbilityPro only 1 score may be open at a time. The following menu items may be selected:

New Score

The New Score panel appears when you select New Score from the File menu.

The New Score menu item displays controls that allow you to create a new score based on instruments.

  1. Enter a title and composer name that will appear on the top of your score along with file name that the score will be saved on your iPad/
  2. Choose instruments by selecting the Instrument Category and specific instrument using the scroll wheels.
  3. Add the instrument to the score by touching the Add Instrument button.
  4. Continue adding instruments until your ensemble is complete.
  5. In the bottom area of the panel, select a starting Time Signature using the scroll wheels and a Key using the slider.
  6. Decide if you want a transposed score or a C score by checking one of the radio buttons.
  7. Touch the Create Score button to create your new score.

- C Scores have all instruments notated at their sounding pitch, whereas transposed scores notate instruments at their playing pitch which is transposed during score playback. If you have set up a transposed score, NAPro will make note of the transposition interval for any staves which have transposing instruments and will alter the key signatures to match the transposition interval.

The 4 instruments listed in the above example will create the following score with the Bb clarinet in a different key signature:

Each instruments appears as a separate line in the ensemble listing - this is the order your instruments will appear in the score and the Label is the name that will appear on the first system, and the Abbreviation is the name that will appear on every other system of your score:

Before creating your score, you can delete instruments from your ensemble by touching the red X on the left side of the instrument line, or change the order of the instruments by touching the green arrow to move the instrument up one position. You can also alter the staff labels and abbreviations by typing new text into those fields. If you want to alter the transposition, you can touch the blue Info icon on the right side of the instrument line and choose a different transposition interval and octave.

The Clear button removes all instruments from your ensemble.

The Paper Sizes button brings up a list of paper sizes that you can choose from and the orientation button switches between Portrait and Landscape orientation.

The Margins & Spacing button brings up a window that allows you to adjust sliders to set the margins and default spacing between staves and between systems.

Margin spacing distances are indicated in your preferred measurement units and the staff spacing and system spacing are indicated in the number of staff lines. An normal distance between staves is 7.5 or 8 staff line spaces.

NoteAbilityPro comes with a large number of score templates that can be loaded into the New Score panel. To load a template, touch the Load Template button and choose a template from the list of available scores. Most templates have been saved with US Letter and Tabloid paper sizes, but you can adjust to a different paper size by choosing an item from the table that appears when you touch thePaper Sizes button. Keys, Time signatures and score titles are not saved with the template so you can use the same score layout for different compositions in different keys.

If you want to save your current score setup as a template, type a name to save the template in the Template Name field and click on the Save Template button. Your template will be saved in the Templates folder in your Documents Directory.

- Staff Labels appear on the first system only, the abbreviations appear on all other systems.

- when setting up a new score, the number of systems on the page will automatically be calculated based on the number of staves in the system. This can be changed later if you prefer more or fewer systems on each page.

After the score has been created, all characteristic of the score layout including the page size, staff labels, clefs, playback instruments etc. can be altered using items in the Operations Menu

Custom Score

While the New Score panel is can be used for setting up standard scores, there are times when more flexibility or customization is needed. In these situations, the Custom Score panel can be used. Choose the Custom Score item for the File Menu to display a full page panel that allows you to create a new score by specifying all the characteristics of the score including paper size, margins, staves, braces, barlines, labels, clefs, time signature and key signature.

The right side of the panel has settings for your page margins and paper orientation (portrait or landscape) and a button below on the toolbar which allows you to choose a different paper size.

There are also check boxes which allow you to set staff labels to appear only on the first system and to indent the first system.

- The Document size is calculated by taking the print percentage and the paper size, and will usually be set to a size larger than the paper size. If you are printing at 86% on letter size paper, the calculated document size will be 9.75in X 12.75in. This means that when you print this size document at 86% it will fill letter size paper.

The bottom left area of the panel allows you to set your key signature with the slider and the time signature using the scroll wheels.

The area on the left side has sliders which allow you to set:

  • number of systems on the page
  • number of staves in each system
  • number of measures in each system
  • the space (in staff spaces) between staves in the system
  • the space (in staff steps) between systems.

The display in the middle of the panel shows a miniature view of your score.

The bottom area of the panel has a slider to set the default print percentage - initially set to 86%, the file name that will be used to save your score on disk, and settings for barlines and braces. For braces and barlines, you can choose one of the 6 options that are shown or you can choose custom braces and custom barlines. If you choose to set up custom braces and barlines, this information is entered in the area at the top of the panel.

The top area of the panel is for setting clefs and adding staff labels if you want them in your score. Main staff labels appear to the left of the staff. Secondary staff labels appear to the left of the staff, but are centred between two staves.

Initially there are 10 staves in this scrolling area of the panel. If you need more staves, touch the + button in the upper-left corner of the panel and more staves will be added. Each system can have up to 80 staves. As clefs are chosen in this area of the panel, the miniature page view is updated to show the changes.

The sixth clef in the clef list is a button which brings up a menu of all the available clefs, so you can set your clef to a transposition clef, as well as clefs used in early music and contemporary music.

- If you need more than one custom clef in your score, you can change the clef once the score has been created by placing your Entry Cursor on the first beat of the staff and using the Clef Pane in the Score Structure Panel

The top-right area of the panel is for custom staff configurations and these settings will be used if you have selected Custom Barline or Custom Brace at the bottom of the panel. For custom braces, indicate the start and end staff for each grouping and choose the brace type you want to appear. Braces may overlap one another in situations where you want to have primary and secondary braces. For custom barlines, indicate the start and end staff for each barline. If the start and end barline are the same, then the barline will appear only on that staff.

In this configuration, each staff has its own barline, but there are 2 braces - a straight brace from staff 1 to staff 4 and a thin line brace from staff 1 to staff 2. As well, main and secondary staff labels were created for the first 2 staves. The score generated by these setting will appear as:

Once you have set up your score, click on the Create New Score button.

The Create Spatial Score button is used to create scores that have no barlines, where each measure is one beat long and the tempo is set to quarter note = 60 (1 second per measure) These scores are designed to use measure numbers which show timing rather than measure numbers and have small timing ticks above the top staff of the system. In spatial scores composers often use graphical notes which can be freely placed on the staves. Below is an example of a spatial score set up using this panel - there are 10 1 beat measures on each system and the measure numbers show timing in seconds.

- After the score has been created, all characteristic of the score layout including the page size, staff labels, clefs can be altered using items in the Operations Menu


The Open... menu displays a list of all NoteAbilityPro files that have been created or imported to your iPad. Select the score you want to open by touching its name.

The 4 buttons on the left side of the panel allow you to reorder your list of scores either alphabetically from A to Z, in reverse order from Z to A, by earliest date to most recent or from most recent to earliest date.


The Close menu closes the current score. You will be prompted to save the score before closing if the score has been changed since it was last saved.


The Save menu saves the current score to the iPad hard drive. While saving is done automatically, you may want to save your changes before quitting the program to ensure that the last changes to the score have been retained.

Save As...

The Save As... menu allows you to save the current score to the iPad hard drive under a new name. In order to keep a history of your project, it is a good idea to save your file at different stages in its creation. That way you can return to an earlier version if you want to.

Extract Parts...

The Extract Parts... menu brings up a panel with the controls and settings needed in order to extract instrumental parts from a score.

The right side of the panel allows you to set the paper size, print reduction, orientation, and margins for your parts document. The Document Size displays the size of the NAPro document that will be created so that when you print at the desired reduction size, the music will fill the paper size you have set.

The The left side of the panel is used for setting the braces and staff labels you want to appear on your part, and the file name is set in the the bottom-left corner of the panel

The middle of the panel contains settings for the number of systems per page and the number of staves to include in the extraction. Normally instrumental parts will be a single line, but there may be times (such as for piano or harp) that you want 2 staves to be extracted together.

The Note Density slider affects how many measures are put on each staff - Low means the music will be quite spacious and High means the music will be quite compressed. The The Size of Empty Measures affects how wide empty measures will be - both single empty measures and measures compressed into multi-measure rests.

The Starting Staff ID slider sets the staff that will be extracted - if more than one staff is set to be extracted, it will add the staves immediately below this staff to the extracton. Please note, that extracted staves are set by their Staff ID not by their physical position in the score. - Staff IDs are indicated on the right side of the staff

The Compress Measure Rests will form multi-measure rests from a series of empty measures.

- Multi-measure rests can be expanded using the Expand Measure Rests button on theScore Graphics Panel.

- If you elect not to compress measure rests during part extraction, you can create them later using the Build Measure Rests button on the Score Graphics Panel.

Once you have chosen the staff to extract and set the extraction characteristics, touch the Extract Parts button. Extracted parts are saved in your Documents folder under the name you indicated in the Part Name text field. While this panel is still open, you can select the next Staff ID and continue with your part extraction. Once you are finished extracting parts, you can open the saved parts files individually for editing.


The Import... menu brings up a panel with all MusicXML and GUIDO files currently in your documents folder. You can import either of these formats into NoteAbilityPro.

To make GUIDO files (with the extension .gmn) or MusicXML files (with the extension .xml) available for importing, move them into your iPad Documents folder using iTunes on your computer or the Files app on your iPad.


The Export menu brings up a panel with so that you can save your score in a different file format. NoteAbilityPro exports in the following file formats:

  • PDF (.pdf)- a high resolution graphics format
  • Standard MIDI file (.mid)- for export to sequencers and for web playback
  • MusicXML (.xml)- so your score can be imported by other music notation applications
  • GUIDO (.gmn)- for import into applications support GUIDO interchange format.
  • MaxMSP qlist (.maxpat)- export the note and image data as a MaxMSP qlist
  • Csound score (.sco)- export note data as a csound score.
  • Antescofo (.txt)- export your score so it can be read into the MaxMSP antescofo object
  • Open Music (.om) - export your score so it can be opened in Open Music.

- Once you have exported your score as a PDF file you can use the View PDF... menu item to transfer your PDF file to a PDF reader on your iPad. Other formats can be moved using iTunes on your computer or the Files app on your iPad.

Place Graphic...

The Place Graphic menu brings up a panel that allows you to import any graphics file currently in the Images folder in your Documents directory into your score. A large collection of PDF images such as guitar chord charts, cues, arrows, and percussion mallets are included in NAPro and you can add your own graphics images to the Images folder using the Files app or through iTunes.

  • select either to have the image appear above or below the staff
  • the file crtree.pdf was selected from the list of graphics.
  • it will appear at the Entry Cursor position above the staff.

  • it can be dragged by shifting to Edit mode and dragging the bottom-left corner of the graphic:

  • if you want to resize the image, drag it by the top-right corner of the image.

Place Audio...

The Place Audio menu brings up a panel that allows you to import sound files currently in your Documents folder into your score:

Normally these sounds files are short audio clips that you want played back at a specific location in your score although there is not limit to the length of the imported soundfiles. Soundfiles can be in any of the standard audio types supported in IOS.

Once you have selected a sound file to import, it will appear at the position and on the staff that the Entry Cursor is on. A graphic image appears on your staff along with information about the soundfile:

  • the position of the soundfile in the measure (in beats)
  • the name of the soundfile
  • the playback volume of the sample (0 - 100)
  • the duration of the soundfile in seconds

For each imported soundfile, there is a green slider attached to the bottom of the rectangle that allows you to set the playback volume of the soundfile.

Sound files added to your score can be moved, by dragging the bottom-left corner of the rectangle, or copied and pasted to other locations in your score.

- Sound files are not copied into your score, they are just referenced to their location in your Documents directory. If you remove these sound files from your Documents directory, they will no longer appear in your score until you place the file with the same file name back in your Documents directory.

- In Track Setup, you can set a staff as an Audio Track which is designed to play back audio files. However, audio files will play back on all staves that are not set to Off in Track Setup.

Print Setup

The Print Setup menu allows you to specify the page layout and print reduction before printing your document

The print setup panel provides you will an overview of how your document will appear on the paper when it is printed. You can select a different paper size by touching the Paper Sizes button and selecting a different paper size and you can set the orientation to portrait or landscape. The Print Reduction slider can be used to adjust the score is it prints larger or smaller on the paper.

For the position of the score on the paper, you can set it to:

  1. have the score centred on the paper
  2. draw from the top-left corner of the paper
  3. draw from the top-left coordinates set by the Top Margin and Left Margin settings.

The print format is saved with your score, so each time you bring up the score the print setup will be used for printing.


The Print menu sends your document to your chosen printer. You can indicate how many copies and which pages you want printed. The setting in the Print Setup panel are used when printing.

View PDF...

The View PDF... menu allows you to select a PDF file you have previously exported (in PDF format) and transfer it on a compatible PDF Reader application on your iPad.

Record To Disk

The Record To Disk... menu allows you to create a digital recording of all or part of your score.

You can specify any one of 4 audio formats: MP4, CAF, AIFF or WAVE. When you record to disk, you can elect to either record the entire score or record starting at the measure the Entry Cursor is in. You can touch the Stop button to end the recording or wait until the score is finished playing. Once recorded, the file will be stored in your Documents folder where it can be transfered to another application or shared.

See also

© Keith A. Hamel 2013-2020 - All Rights Reserved