Cut, Copy, and Paste Operations

In order to perform any editing operation in NoteAbility, you must first select the images that you want to alter. Use the Select Image or Select Score tool to make your selection. Selected images are redrawn in gray to show you that they are selected.


The Cut operation (invoked either from the Edit menu or by typing Command-x) removes the selected images from the score and stores them in the pasteboard so that they can be pasted elsewhere in the score. The example below shows the score with a selected area and then the same score after the Cut command was issued.

Notice that elements that are part of the music structure such as clefs, key signatures, time signatures, staves, braces and barlines are not considered to be selected and are not removed from the score. Only images you have added to the music structure can be removed from the score using the cut or delete commands. Notice also that the slur and crescendo are removed even though only part of them has been selected - all images that have a Control Point in the selection area are considered to be selected.


The delete operation (invoked either from the Edit menu or by typing the Delete or Backspace key) removes the selected images from the score, but does not save a copy of them on the pasteboard. Whatever was in the pasteboard before issuing the Delete command will remain there unaltered.


The Copy operation (invoked either from the Edit menu or by typing Command-c) is similar to the Cut except that the selected images are not removed from the score. As in Cut, the selected images are stored on the pasteboard so they can be pasted elsewhere in the score.

- Whenever you make a cut or a copy that includes more than one staff (as in the example above), it is important to remember where the first note (or rest) occurs in the selected passage so that you will be able to place the Entry Cursor at the correct location when you later paste the selection elsewhere in the score.

Paste Into

The Paste Into command (invoked either from the Edit menu or by typing Command-v) is the standard paste command (i.e. the one you will most often use). The previously cut or copied material will be added to the score (and merged with existing material beginning at the location of the Entry Cursor). Place the Entry Cursor where you want the first note (or rest) that occurred in the cut or copied passage to appear - for more information refer to Setting the Paste Location below.

When using Paste Into, the data in pasteboard is considered to be unformatted (i.e. the beam, tie and accidental information is not retained) so that the data will be formatted according to the music structure in the new location. The examples below should make this clear. The passage selected and cut above was pasted:

1 - at the beginning of a 2/4 measure:

2 - at the beginning of a 3/8 passage:

3 - into a passage with different clefs:

4 - into a passage with a different key signature:

- Some images (eg. slurs) may extend beyond the group of notes cut or copied and others may need some slight adjustments or modifications. Theses alterations can be made after the paste has been performed.

- Paste Into can also be used to paste TIFF, PDF, ASCII text or RTF material cut or copied from other applications. If the other application supports several pasteboard types, PDF has precedence over TIFF and RTF has precedence over ASCII text.

Paste Exact

The Paste Exact operation (invoked either from the Edit menu or by typing Command-V) is a modified version of the Paste Into operation. It is used whenever you want to retain specific details of the original cut or copy rather than having the pasted passage reformatted according to the new music structure. Paste Exact retains the following information from the original cut or copy:

If examples 2 and 4 above are performed with Paste Exact, the results would be:

1 - at the beginning of a 3/8 passage

2 - into a different key signature

- Of course, the correct pitches are retained in a Paste Exact operation regardless of the clef or key signature of the section you are pasting into.

Paste Over

Paste Over operates the same way as Paste Into except that any images located in the area you are pasting into are cleared before the new images are added. This operation is useful for replacing a part of an existing passage with copied selection. In the example below, two beats are pasted over the second and third beats of the measure


The Insert operation (invoked from the Edit menu) inserts the copied or cut data at the Entry Cursor after first shifting all the music from the Entry Cursor through to the end of the score to the right in order to make room for the paste. In calculating how much room is needed for the new music, only notes and rests are counted, and the music is shifted so that no overlapping will occur between the pasted notes and rests and those already in the score. If the following passage is copied, a total of three beats is calculated (even though the second staff only has two beats).

Before inserting, the score appears:

After inserting the copied passage beginning on the second beat of the first measure, the score appears:

Setting the Paste Location

In most cases the placement of the Entry Cursor for pasting is intuitive, but there are some instances where it may not be obvious where to place the Entry Cursor when performing a paste operation. The basic rule is that the first note (or rest) found in the copied data is the image which will appear at the beat location and on the staff of the Entry Cursor when the paste is performed. All other images are positioned relative to this first image. In determining which note (or rest) is the first one selected, it is necessary to know that the data stored in the pasteboard voice by voice from the the top staff down through all the staves in the system. If there are no notes or rests in the selection to be pasted then the first image found will be placed at the Entry Cursor. In the example below, if the entire measure is copied, the first note will be the rest on the second beat of the top staff. Therefore, this rest will appear at the Entry Cursor when pasted, and the notes on the first beat of the second staff will appear on the staff below and on the beat before.

original copied data - - pasted at Entry Cursor

Remember to position the Entry Cursor on the staff that has the first image - this may not be in the first measure of the music data as in the example below:

original copied data - - pasted at Entry Cursor

Caution should be used if you are pasting data from mulitple staves onto a place in the score where the staff layout is different, or where the staff format (i.e. the number and arrangement of staves) changes from system to system. In these cases, the pasted data may not always end up on the staves you want them. When unsure, copy and paste the data staff by staff.

- If you accidentally paste data into the wrong location on the score it is better to undo the paste, move the Entry Cursor to the correct location and paste again than to try to move the incorrect data.

See also

© Keith A. Hamel 1998-2005 - All Rights Reserved