How To Scan Sheet Music Into MuseScore Using ScanScore

In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through how to scan music into MuseScore using our software, ScanScore.

In 2002, Werner Schweer started a hobby and developing a completely free music editing software that could be used by educators and musicians everywhere. The problem, as he saw it, was the firm grip larger companies had on the music editing industry and the higher prices they charged to use them.

From there, Schweer and more partners developed and presented MuseScore to the world. Branded as the “World’s Most Popular Notation Software”, MuseScore is unique in its balance of quality and free access. But it lacked a simple and accurate way to scan sheet music into an editable, digital form.

ScanScore is the perfect companion to MuseScore by providing this service. Read on for easy instructions on how to scan music into MuseScore using ScanScore.

Step By Step Instructions

Read carefully through the directions as you go, so you get a good grasp on what you need to do. Once you get into it, it’ll be quick and simple.

1) Check Your Programs For Updates

The first thing you should do is download the programs themselves. But since you’ve probably already done that, it’s a good idea to check both programs for updates.

MuseScore is completely free and available on Windows, Mac, iPhone / iPad, Android, and Kindle Fire. For our purposes with scanning sheet music, the Windows and Mac options are the most relevant.

ScanScore is compatible with Windows only at this time. There are also app versions available on the Google Play Store and at the App Store for Apple devices.

Note: In order to use the app, you will need to scan a QR code that appears on the desktop program. This prevents stealing the program. Do not worry, ScanScore on up to three devices.  

IMAGE ScanScore how to scan

2) Scan The Notation

If both programs are up and running, it’s time to scan the notation (sheet music). Fire up the ScanScore program. On the opening screen, you’ll be asked about scanning the music:

Scanner – This option accesses your actual scanner. A direct scan from a purposeful device usually provides the best results.

Import From File – You can import a PDF or image type file. If the quality of the image is good, this is also effective.

Scan With The App – You can also take a picture using the app. Be careful, a poor picture results in a poor digital copy.

Pro-tip: Make sure you get as clear an image as possible. If using an image file or the app, make sure the sheet music is well-lit and taken at a parallel and even angle.

Image ScanScore editing the sheet music

3) Proof For Mistakes

It’s here that ScanScore really starts to shine. After your image is scanned, you get a side by side look at the original and digital versions for quick and easy comparison. Now you need to proof your sheet music for mistakes.

ScanScore helps with this by catching some of the mistakes and highlighting them in blue and purple for you to see. When you find a mistake, you simply drag and drop it over the correct notes and change them with the easy-to-use toolbar.

One of the best features about ScanScore is when you zoom in on the digital version of the piece, the original zooms at the exact same spot to give you detailed looks at each part.

As a final proofing, take advantage of the MIDI playback option. Although ScanScore doesn’t have the instrument sounds like that, it does not have any other way.

Pro-tip: As you work, make sure you save your file regularly using the “Save as” option under the “File” menu. This keeps your work from going to waste.  

Image ScanScore export to musicXML

4) Export To MusicXML File

Once you’re sure everything is correct it’s time to export the file into musicXML. This file type is the standard most notation programs, including MuseScore, when it comes to editing sheet music.

To export to the left-hand side of the ScanScore program, click on the export to musicXML button. Then you select where to save it. We recommend saving it in a place that will keep all of your XML files, so you can find it easily.

Pro-tip: It’s always a good idea to save the file under a name that helps describe it. I recommend using the format ” piece_composer_part.” Here’s an example: “FugueGminor_JSBach_organ.”

5) Import Into MuseScore

It’s now time to import the file into MuseScore. This step is simple to do if your program is up-to-date.

Open up your MuseScore program. Go to the “File” menu and select “Open in MuseScore.” Then, find your very-well-labeled XML File where you saved it and select it to open.

After a brief moment, the file should pop up in MuseScore’s program. Congrats! You know how to scan music into MuseScore using ScanScore.

Note: With other notation programs, you can select the file itself and choose “Open with …” when you right-click. MuseScore users said this did not work as well as opening from the MuseScore program itself.

For more help, check out this video describing the basics of using the ScanScore program.

Commonly Asked Questions

Will ScanScore read any music? A resounding yes! If you’re using the standard Western notation (excluding things like Gregorian chant), then ScanScore reads the notation no problem. ScanScore has three options for different kinds of scores.

The “Melody” option is the most affordable, but it can only read one stave scores. This may be perfect if you’re a band director who only needs to edit or transpose one part at a time.

Another option is the “Ensemble” subscription. With this, you can scan up to 4 staves per system. This is useful for small ensembles or condensed scores work.

The premium choice is the “Professional” line. This cost the most, but it handles almost any full score. It goes all the way up to 32 staves per system which would be perfect for full scores and composers.

Can I just use ScanScore edit my sheet music? ScanScore’s purpose is to easily scan and correct sheet music. Beyond that, you need a notation software like MuseScore.

Here are some things ScanScore is not:

  • Layout
  • Transposition
  • Parts
  • Specific instrument playback

ScanScore’s place in your music editing setup is a highly effective scanner. From there, it’s the best used in combination with bigger editing software.


Now you know how to scan music into MuseScore using ScanScore. These simple steps are picked up quickly. Here’s a quick review:

  1. Check your programs for updates
  2. Scan the notation
  3. Proof for mistakes
  4. Export to musicXML file
  5. Import to MuseScore

If you have any questions, please go to ScanScore Support.

Have fun writing some music!

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