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↱ Mapping


What is "Beatmapping"?

Beatmapping is the process of creating beatmaps in osu! for players to play. It involves choosing a song, timing, placement of objects, and (optionally) skinning and storyboarding.

To start, press the Edit button.

Mappers usually want to get their beatmaps ranked, which consists of a beatmap approval process, where when completed successfully, a scoreboard will be assigned onto the beatmap and is considered complete unless the mapper wish to add/change something to it.

The most common difficulties created in Beatmapping are:

Clicking each link will display a common set of guidelines mappers follow to be able to create an entertaining beatmap appropriate for its difficulty level.

It is also not uncommon for mappers to use custom difficulty names in place of these. (Like "Mario" for example)

Additionally you may find Guest Difficulties which are commonly labeled as mapper's difficulty (For example: "Larto's Insane").

With the addition of the Special modes, you can now add mod-specific difficulties to your beatmap other than the usual osu! difficulty. It is entirely possible to fill the beatmap with only Taiko/Catch the Beat/Osu!mania difficulties provided there is an Easy/Normal difficulty in it.

Getting Started

How do I start a new beatmap?

As osu! is a rhythm based game, the songs you choose to map should have an obvious and constant beat. Try to avoid songs which have tempo (speed) changes or slow songs until you are more experienced and used to the beatmapping mechanism.

To start a new beatmap, follow these simple steps:-

  • Drag and drop the audio file onto osu! (Opened or not is not an issue here)
Alternative route: Put audio file onto the "Songs" folder.
  • It should open and direct you to the edit screen with your audio file at there.
  • Your new song will be at the bottom of the song list, highlighted in purple.
  • Click on the song to open up Song Setup.
    • Insert and check that the song title and artist are correct, and add Source and Tags if necessary, then enter in an appropriate difficulty name (Easy, Insane and Cruisin' are examples, you can change it later anyway).
  • You can set the other options now if you want, but they can be changed later on. Click OK, and you can start beatmapping! The next step is to add timing to your beatmap.

How do I time a song properly?

Main article: Timing

Timing is vital - incorrectly timed maps will not be considered for ranking. Make sure your timing is perfect before putting any notes in. If in doubt about timing, contact a mod for help first, or submit your song into the Beatmap Help forum. This will save a lot of hassle later on.

Here are some tips for getting your timing right:-

  • Watch the video tutorials for basic timing methods.
  • Make sure the ticks of the metronome coincide with the beat of the song for the entire length of the song. So check the timing at 5%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% of the song, at the very least.
  • Take a look at the BPM gauge. If the number is very close to a whole number (until .10 difference), it is probably better (unless requested not) to round down to that whole number. If so, manually enter in the correct BPM using the Timing Setup Panel.
    • Example: 150.02 should be rounded down to 150.00 unless requested by another mapper that it doesn't sound correct with reason.
  • For fine-tuning of the offset, slow the song down to 0.5x (or even 0.25x if necessary) and adjust the values until the beats exactly coincide with the metronome ticks.
  • Some songs have multiple BPMs. You can cater for this by adding a timing section (Timing --> Add Timing Section) where the timing changes. The BPM and offset for the new timing section can be found exactly as before. The Timing Setup Panel gives a list of all timing sections in the song.

What information do I enter in Song Setup?

You should enter this information before you create a second difficulty, to ensure that the description will be consistent across all of the maps in the set. You are currently allowed to use Unicode characters.

Guide on finding Metadata.

Name Description
Artist The band, singer, or group that performed or created the song. osu! will pull the artist from the mp3 file, but please double check it to make sure it is spelled and punctuated correctly. Anime/Game titles or companies do not belong here (they belong to Tags). You can usually find the composer for anime and game songs on Wikipedia or other reliable sources such as AnimeNewsNetwork or MyAnimeList. Foreign names should be presented in the same name order as used on Wikipedia (generally, Given Name followed by Family Name, the western order, for consistency).
Romanised Artist The romanised (English) name of the artist of the song. It should be presented in the same name order as used on Wikipedia (generally, Given Name followed by Family Name, the western order, for consistency). This field will become active if you use Unicode characters in the Artist field.
Title The name of the song. It will be pulled automatically from the mp3 file, but double check for spelling or capitalization errors, especially if you get the mp3 online. Use only the official title of the song.
Romanised Title The romanised (English) name of the name of the song. Again, this field will become active if you use Unicode characters in the Title field.
Beatmap Creator That's you. osu! should handle this automatically, so you shouldn't edit this. If you are including a guest difficulty made by someone else, their name belongs in the Difficulty field below, not here.
Difficulty The name of the difficulty of map. The dropdown contains the preset names: Easy, Normal, Hard, Insane. You can select one of the default names, or create your own name. While it's good to be creative, try to make it very clear which one is harder than others as ambiguous difficulty names can annoy players. This would also be the field where you indicate a guest mapper, if this is their difficulty (e.g. "Larto's Hard").
Source Where this song originate from. This field should generally only be included for Anime or Video Game songs, and occasionally for Novelty (Movies, TV, or Internet) songs. If the song is from an anime or video game, or is famous for its use as a TV or movie theme, the title of that source goes here.
Rock and Pop songs should generally leave the field blank. This is not to be used for things like album titles.
Tags Keywords to help in searches. Common uses include album names, guest difficulty creators, company name and other terms that may be used by people when searching for specific wants (like eroge or visual novel for example if your beatmap's song is based on an eroge visual novel). If your map has "collab" elements mapped by other mappers, their names can go here. Tags are separated by spaces. It is not compulsory to fill in but is greatly appreciated when using the Web search and osu! search in-game.
Note: If you have a tag of "qwertyuiop" as a tag on your beatmap, you can also find your beatmap in-game by typing in "qwertyuiop".

Again, to avoid issues, please make sure that everything (aside from Difficulty name) is filled out identically for each difficulty.

Fundamentals of Beatmapping


Bookmarking command
Ctrl + B Add bookmark at current location.
Ctrl + Shift + B Remove bookmark at current location.
Ctrl + Right Arrow Next bookmark.
Ctrl + Left Arrow Previous bookmark.

Bookmark is a tool that marks the timeline. This is useful for planning out the specific places where you may want to place a BPM switch point or reserving space to place a complex design later. Depending on your preference, you may abuse this as you play the song while using the command based on the beat as a rough guide on how the beatmap would be.

Adding normal hitcircles

This should be a straightforward and intuitive process. Below are some useful tips for Normal-type hit objects:-

  • The grid level can be changed for more precision by going to View --> Grid Level. Notes will automatically snap to the grid.
    • You can override grid snapping and time snapping by holding Shift while performing a move/placement action.
  • Right-clicking on a note or a selected group of notes will delete them. Right-clicking elsewhere will toggle a new combo.
  • Common Windows shortcuts also apply in the osu! editor (e.g. Ctrl+A selects all notes, Ctrl+C/V is copy/paste, Ctrl+Z is undo).
  • Notes will snap to visible sliders - so if you want to place a circle exactly on the end of a slider, place it while you can still see the slider and then move it forward/backward in the timeline if necessary.

Adding Sliders

Before delving into sliders, do the following two things:

  • Make sure you set the Slider Velocity (under the Timing tab) to your preferred value. This value will apply for the entire beatmap, so choose carefully! Changing Slider Velocity after placing sliders will result in wonky, mistimed sliders - try and avoid this eventuality!
  • Set the type of slider you want. There are two types of curves - Bezier and Linear.
    • Bezier is recommended as it produces the smoothest looking curves.
    • Linear mode is useful if you want sharp (e.g. 90 degree) corners in your sliders.

Now you can begin adding a slider. Left-click to start the slider, add waypoints with further left-clicks, and terminate with a right-click to make a bezier slider. If you want to create a liner slider, make a bezier-shaped slider first, then left-clicking on an existing vertex will turn that vertex red and create a new anchor point to allow for sharp turns and new curves. It is recommended to make sure the length of the slider is correct before adjusting the shape.

Here are some other tips regarding sliders:-

  • To add repeats on a slider, drag the end of the slider in the timeline after finishing placement.
  • Drag an individual waypoint to move it. Right-clicking removes a point, and Ctrl+clicking adds a point.
  • In the same way as hit circles, you can override any snapping by holding shift. This can be useful for aligning sliders perfectly.

Try and put some effort into making your sliders look nice! Lopsided/overlapped/wonky/plain-ugly sliders really ruin the look of a beatmap! Additionally, ensure that your sliders do not overlap one another, the tail end of your slider is always visible, and that the slider path is not obscured in any way - such as unpredictable U-turns or making the head and tail of the slider overlap. These slider-crafting pitfalls should be avoided!

Adding Spinners

To add a spinner to your map, left-click to begin it, then scroll the timeline to where you want the end to be, and terminate with a right-click. Try and keep your spinners to a reasonable length - overly long spinners are tiring and boring, whilst spinners that are too short are not nice. ^"Spinner spam" (as in, more than 5 spinner in one time) is a definite no-no!

^"Spinner Spam" note: This is because Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Wizards In Winter (Impossible difficulty) have roughly 48~51 count in ~5 seconds. The beatmap itself contains lengthy streams of hit-circles and perfectly rankable if excluding the ninja spinner spam.

What are Combos?

Combos are groups of notes, essential to the scoring in osu!. Different combos have different colours. It is important that you use combos in your beatmaps to ensure better perception and understanding of the song stanza. Typically, combos should be based on the sound (drumming, guitar-streaming, singing) of the music in some way so pay attention to the stanzas displayed in the timing panel if you need some guidance. As a rough guide, a good length of a combo should be around 5-15 excluding streaming (10-30).

Note: End combos (Geki and Katu specifically) will increase the HP bar by a good amount compared to typical 300. Short combos are preferred since longer combos yield less health in comparison and may cause the beatmap to become unnaturally hard due to HP drain.

How do I add Breaks into my beatmap?

To give players a bit of rest time during a longer beatmap, you should include a Break. To do this, simply leave a gap in the beatmap where you want the break to be, and click the "Insert Break Time" button in the editor. Note that you must insert a break between two hit objects, so place notes at the start and end to "mark out" the break before inserting one!

A couple of rules of thumb are:-

  • Generally, try to keep play segments below one minute long. A two minute song should have at least one break in it near the middle, a three minute song should have at least two breaks evenly spaced. This may change depending on the song used.
  • Keep break lengths reasonable. Breaks of less than 1 second are pretty pointless (unless you try to imitate the video game style by summoning warning-arrow), and breaks of 30 seconds are hardly used and not practical. Try and aim for 5-15 second breaks.

Here are some advanced tips on planning breaks through the use of Bookmarks:-

  • Before you start the map, play through the song and decide where you want the breaks - try include one at regular intervals.
  • Use bookmarks to mark out the start and end of each break on the timeline!
  • Put in a temporary "marker" (a Normal hitcircle will do) at each bookmark, then click "Insert Break Time" whilst you are in between to add the break.
  • An example is shown below:-


  • Note how the breaks are evenly spaced throughout the song and are not too short/long, ensuring the player gets adequate recuperation from their intense clicking marathon, without falling asleep in the meantime! Breaks are displayed as the white brackets on the timeline at the bottom of the editor window.
  • Notice the bookmarks at the start and end of breaks also, they allow the mapper to know where breaks start and end in advance. Bookmarks are useful! Use them to your advantage.

What is Beat Spacing?

A quick illustration

For intuitive play, your beatmaps should have good "beat spacing"! In general, beats that are close together on the timeline should be close together on the beatmap, and vice versa. This is to ensure the flow of the song sync with the beatmap design harmonically, making the beatmap much more enjoyable.

The simplest way to ensure beat spacing is correct on your beatmaps is to utilize the editor's Distance Snapping function, found in the upper-right hand side of the editor. The relative distance between notes can be adjusted using the mouse wheel. If you stick to using Distance Snap for the whole song, correct beat spacing is guaranteed!

How do I add more difficulty levels for a song?

To make a new difficulty level, simply open your existing difficulty, choose "File" --> "Save As New Difficulty..." and change the entry in the Difficulty box.

Be sure to add variation between different difficulty levels. Add, take away or rearrange notes to make new patterns. Flip or rotate existing notes. The beatmap difficulties should feel familiar to some degree (like the speed of BPM, BPM change points or certain beatmap design) while ^retaining the distinctive difference in accordance to difficulty.

Note: Changing the difficulty settings (e.g. HP drain rate) is not considered a new beatmap difficulty. This is called plain laziness, and will likely be requested to create a new beatmap design.

^"retaining the distinctive difference in accordance to difficulty": Difference in beatmap design (as in, no exact repeated flipped design from Easy for Normal).

Why do combo numberings change as I play through the song?

If you have a circle on your mouse cursor (i.e. you are in placement mode) it will act as if you have placed it - changing the combo numbers/colours for any circles that occur after it.

Visualisation of beatmap

How do I change the background colour?

Click on the "Design" Tab. There is a button called "Set BG Colour" which allows you to choose your own background colour. Theoretically speaking, it is most likely to be replaced by background image/video unless you are planning to use a storyboard.

How do I add a background image or video?

Click on the "Design" Tab. There is a button called "Insert Background". When clicked, a dialog box will appear, allowing you to browse around your computer for the image or video you want to be added. The image/video will automatically be copied into the song folder, and will be included when submitting your beatmap.

Some notes:-

  • Images can be in .JPG or .PNG format. It is best if you keep them under 800x600 in size. (To save file size)
    • Try to compress your images if possible. There are a couple of programs on the internet that can help you.
  • Videos should be encoded using DiVX, xvid or similar codecs. Using codecs like H.264 is not recommended.
    • Remove the audio of the video to decrease the file size.
  • Images and videos can be removed by deleting them from the song folder.

How do I add custom images and sounds to my beatmap?

  • Create your desired image/sound file.
  • Save it with an appropriate name.
    • Random name: For storyboard. Does exactly nothing when not implemented onto the beatmap.
      • Example: A, Lyric1, 007, etc. (As long as you know which one is which one)
    • Skin name: The beatmap will use the file automatically, replacing one of the player's skin element. You will notice this.
      • Example: normal-hitnormal (This sound file will be played instead of player skin's sound file)
  • Drop it into your song's folder.

A list of appropriate custom sound filenames can be found here.

How do I create a storyboard to my beatmap?

Click the "Design" tab to open up the SBE (Storyboard Editor).

Keyboard Shortcuts

Are there any Keyboard Shortcuts?

Yes, and here's a list of them. It is best you print them out for the sake of easier reference.

General Shortcuts
H Help (including these shortcut keys)
Z Stop.
X Play from start.
C / Spacebar Pause/Resume.
Left / Right Skip through the song.
Shift + Left / Right Skip through the song at 4x speed.
Ctrl + B Add bookmark at current location.
Ctrl + Shift + B Remove bookmark at current location.
Ctrl + Left Arrow Jump to previous bookmark.
Ctrl + Right Arrow Jump to next bookmark.
Ctrl + L Revert to saved.
Ctrl + S Save Beatmap.
Ctrl + N Erase all notes on the current Beatmap.
F1 Compose Mode.
F2 Design Mode (Only basics available at the moment)
F3 Timing Mode.
F4 Song Setup.
F5 Test Mode.
F6 Timing Setup.
Compose Mode
Number Keys (1, 2, 3, 4) Change selection/placement mode.
Q, W, E, R,T,Y, L Change right-hand option modes. Respectively, "New combo," "Whistle," "Finish," "Clap," "Grid Snap," "Distance Snap," "Lock Notes."
Shift + (Q, W, E, R) (Hitsounds) Specify the base hitsound's sampleset
Ctrl + (Q, W, E, R) (Hitsounds) Specify the addition's sampleset
Delete Remove selected notes.
Ctrl + Z Undo last action.
Ctrl + Y Redo last action.
Ctrl + A Select all notes.
Ctrl + X Cut selected notes.
Ctrl + C Copy selected notes.
Ctrl + V Paste selected notes.
Ctrl + D Clone selected notes.
Ctrl + G Reverse selection.
Alt (while placing) Snap distance based on time duration since last note.
Shift (while placing) Ignore grid snapping.
Shift (while modifying) Ignore both grid and beat (time) snapping.
J Nudge backwards in time.
K Nudge forward in time.
G Cycle through grid precision.
Ctrl + 1-4 Change grid size.
Ctrl + Shift + R Rotate selected notes by a specified angle.
Ctrl + < Rotate anticlockwise.
Ctrl + > Rotate clockwise.
Ctrl + H Flip horizontally.
Ctrl + J Flip vertically.
Timing Mode
T Tap using the keyboard.
Shift (while adjusting BPM/Offset) 4x speed.
Ctrl + B Reset current timing point.
Ctrl + P Add timing point.

What about the Mouse Controls?

Here's a list of them:

Mouse Controls
Left Click Place normal hit circles, start a slider or add a new point to a slider being placed. Select circles.
Ctrl + Left Click Add new point to existing slider.
Right Click Toggle new combo, end a slider placement or remove a point, remove a circle (only when in selection mode or while not playing audio).
Mouse Wheel Seek forwards/backwards. Hold Shift for 4x seeking.
Ctrl + Alt + Mouse Wheel Change placement/selection mode while in gamefield.
Ctrl + Mouse Wheel Increase/decrease the snap divisor.
Alt + Mouse Wheel Increase/decrease the alt-snapping distance multiplier. Change timeline zoom while in timeline.
Drag Moving selections of notes (position and time), moving points in a slider. Dragging the end of sliders or spinners on the timeline to extend them.

List of Guides in osu!
FAQ/Ranking Guidelines
General Mapping Guides What is a beatmap? How do I beatmap? How do beatmaps get ranked? Difficulty appropriate gameplay elements How to time songs Song Setup Mapping Taiko Difficulties Fitting the Size-limit
Modding Aides AIBat
Mapping Techniques Mapping Techniques Making Good Sliders How to do 15° Patterns
Modding Info How do I mod?
Skinning/Hitsound Guides

Cropping with Complex Backgrounds Cropping with Simple Backgrounds Making Properly Centered Spinners What are Custom Sample Overrides? Custom Hitsound Library Adding custom hitsounds

Storyboarding Guides Storyboard Scripting Storyboard Scripting (Cheat Sheet) SGL Tool Reducing SB Load
Audio Editing Guides Audio editing Basic MP3 modifications Getting songs from Video Games
Video Editing Guides Compressing Videos Videos from YouTube
Gameplay Guides Play Styles How to increase your rank Making nice recording for Youtube Live streaming osu! How do I use the Chat Console?
Common Mistakes Changing the Map's Artist or Title
osu!forums Guides BBCode Starting a Beatmap Project How to not Embarrass Yourself in the Projects Subforum How to not Embarrass Yourself in the Modding Queues Subforum
Miscellaneous BanchoBot Changing Title Text Music Theory Setting the Offset on the Correct Beat Collab Information Shortcut Key Reference GL Support Issues What is Internet Relay Chat? How to Run osu! on Your Mac without using Boot Camp

Contents of
Getting Started Registration Installation Newbie's guide Game Interface Options Hit Objects
osu! Game Styles Basic explanation Multi-play
External ports » osu!stream osu!droid opsu! osu!wp T-Aiko Beats
External clients » osu!tourney osu!MapDownloader
World of osu!
Miscellaneous » Mascots osu!academy osu!talk
Beatmap Editor Compose / Design (Scripting) / Timing / Song Setup

Beatmapping Beat Snap Divisor / Distance Snap Custom Sample Overrides Kiai Time Mapping Techniques Skinning Skin.ini Storyboarding

Online Editing
and Ranking
Beatmap forum Submission Beatmap Approval (How to Get Your Map Ranked) Modding (Getting Your Map Modded) Music Theory Audio Editing Kudosu / Star Priority
People The Team Administrators/Global Moderation Team Quality Assurance Team Beatmap Nomination Group Language Moderators osu! Alumni Support Team Community Contributors List of notable people