2.3 Point and click

Point and click lets you find notes in the input by clicking on them in the PDF viewer. This makes it easier to find input that causes some error in the sheet music.

When this functionality is active, LilyPond adds hyperlinks to the PDF file. These hyperlinks are sent to the web-browser, which opens a text-editor with the cursor in the right place.

To make this chain work, you should configure your PDF viewer to follow hyperlinks using the ‘lilypond-invoke-editor’ script supplied with LilyPond.

For Xpdf on UNIX, the following should be present in ‘xpdfrc1

urlCommand     "lilypond-invoke-editor %s"

The program ‘lilypond-invoke-editor’ is a small helper program. It will invoke an editor for the special textedit URIs, and run a web browser for others. It tests the environment variable EDITOR for the following patterns,


this will invoke

emacsclient --no-wait +line:column file

this will invoke

gvim --remote +:line:normchar file

this will invoke

  nc -noask +line file'

The environment variable LYEDITOR is used to override this. It contains the command line to start the editor, where %(file)s, %(column)s, %(line)s is replaced with the file, column and line respectively. The setting

emacsclient --no-wait +%(line)s:%(column)s %(file)s

for LYEDITOR is equivalent to the standard emacsclient invocation.

The point and click links enlarge the output files significantly. For reducing the size of PDF and PS files, point and click may be switched off by issuing


in a ‘.ly’ file. Point and click may be explicitly enabled with


Alternately, you may disable point and click with a command-line option:

lilypond -dno-point-and-click file.ly

Note: You should always turn off point and click in any LilyPond files to be distributed to avoid including path information about your computer in the .pdf file, which can pose a security risk.


[1] On UNIX, this file is found either in ‘/etc/xpdfrc’ or as ‘.xpdfrc’ in your home directory.

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