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Tips and Tricks for osu!

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Welcome to the osu! beginner tutorial. The world of osu! can sometimes be a very competitive place. Whether you are looking for an extra push to help lift off your career, wanting to be competitive in osu!, or simply hoping to improve yourself to enjoy the game more, this is for you! This guide will span everything you need to get off the ground and soar around the world of osu!.


Types of Input

By default, a lot of players will start out with the mouse, since it's often the quickest available aiming tool by far. But there are actually multiple means of input to control the cursor and pop the circles:

  • Mouse
  • Tablet
  • Touch Screen
  • Keyboard Clicking

There are other ways you can control the cursor (Wiimote, motion sensor, technology stuff) but for the purpose of the guide, we will focus on the four bulleted points.

Mouse Play

If you are going to stick to use the mouse, it's suggested to get a mouse with a cord for stability, as wireless mice can disconnect or stutter. Any mouse can work just fine, though; some people use mice from a dollar store! It also helps to continue using the same mouse for a long time, so try and get one that will last you a good while! Mouse play tends to excel at:

  • Jumping, especially in right angles or straight angles.
  • Stability and aim, making it easier to click "smaller" circles.

Mouse play tends to struggle with:

  • Jumping back and forth in succession.

Tablet Play

If you are going to use a tablet, you should try and pick an area on the tablet that you can comfortably play with. If you are going to buy a tablet to play osu! with, you should check out the Tablet purchase guide. Additionally, buy some spare nibs, you never know when you will need another one since they tend to wear out quickly, especially in highly active play. While you can use the tablet itself to tap the circles, most players prefer using a keyboard which we'll cover a bit later on. Tablet play tends to excel at:

  • No cursor drift.
  • Precise movement and speed.

Tablet play tends to struggle with:

  • Jumping in right angles.

Touchscreen Play

Although rare, quite a few users play on a touchscreen. You should try not to press too hard on the touchscreen or find one that is quite sensitive to your tapping on the fingers, and better yet one that has a low latency. This should help increase the longevity of the screen you are using. Touchscreen tends to excel at:

  • Streaming long periods of notes and stamina.
  • Jumping long distances, especially corner to corner.

Touchscreen tends to struggle with:

  • Aim, especially with smaller notes.

Keyboard Tapping

For mouse and tablet or any other input device, you may also use your keyboard (Z and X by default) to hit the circles instead. The benefit of doing so is spreading the physical movement across two hands, rather than doing the clicking with your aiming device, thus allowing you to more easily hit faster sections of notes. This takes some time to get used to, but if you decide on using your keyboard to tap circles, it's a good idea to get used to it early on.

Gameplay Techniques

Accuracy and Timing

One of the most important factors when playing osu! is your timing, much like other rhythm games! In this sense, if you've listened to a lot of music, it should be fairly easy to pick up on. The goal of accuracy and timing is to tap the notes at the correct time as precisely as possible.

Each object in the game has an approach circle; a large ring that slowly approaches the hit circle itself. When the ring reaches the circle, it's time to tap it! If you pay attention to them carefully, it will help you recognize whether some notes are on half-beats or full beats, or whether you need to wait for the next note.

Music works in beats and a rhythm. When you start a map (or even before you play) pay attention to the how the song sounds, and you can get a pretty good idea on the melody that you will be hitting circles to. Getting along with the music more closely will help you out in achieving better timing and coordination over it.


In a point-and-click game like osu!, aiming is also another important factor. Being able to get the notes at the right time is pretty pointless without being able to get your cursor to the right location. In this case, the most effective way to improve in this sector is to simply play the game. It also helps to play harder and harder maps, since the spacing between notes will likely get bigger, making you move around more and tap the notes from wider distances.

The best way you can get practice for aiming without osu! is using your computer with the input device. Don't be afraid to practice by clicking around files on your computer if you're a mouse user, or to draw some art with your tablet. The added coordination will help you wonders later on!


Eventually, when you get to harder difficulties, you will need to click the notes more rapidly. Improving in this fact is actually quite simple; all you need to do is push yourself into clicking or tapping the keyboard faster. You can play games that require you to hit input as fast as possible, like Cookie Clicker or other button pushing games (they are very easy to find online if you just Google it).


Another heavy topic, is the fact that osu! is a game with an infinitely rising difficulty curve, meaning there is no "winning" the game. Instead, you'll be focused on improving yourself constantly. Instead of playing one map over and over, you will need to eventually move onto other maps once you start outclassing their difficulty.

The best way to improve is to challenge yourself. The only way you will get used to more and more tenacious difficulties is by exploring past your boundaries. Playing a map that makes you miss quite a few times grants ultimately more gameplay experience than playing many that you can get a full combo on or even get an SS rank on. This works much like an MMORPG, the harder the enemy, the more experience you will get for it.

Don't be afraid to practise something that always makes you miss for one reason or another. You will need to find the challenge, and see what you need to do to meet that challenge. Do you need to hit the buttons faster? Do you need better timing? Do you need to be more precise when moving to notes? These are all questions (and more) that you can ask yourself. This will help you find your answer a lot more quickly and make your experience all the more worth it.

Getting More out of Gameplay

Global Offset

Depending on the devices you use to play osu! with, you may find that the hit circles aren't quite on beat with the music. To correct this, you can change the global offset value in the Settings menu. Global offset will change when the first note appears on beatmaps (either earlier or later than default), which in turn delays the rest of the notes by the same amount. A negative offset value will make notes appear slightly later, and a positive value will make them appear earlier.

In the Offset Wizard, which you can access from the Settings menu, a sample song will play with a metronome beat on top. Adjust the offset gradually using the up/down arrow keys or your mouse wheel until the beats of the metronome match when the bars cross the centre line.

When you are playing a beatmap you will notice the Hit Error graph at the bottom of the screen. Hitting a note causes a white line to appear somewhere along it depending on how accurate you were. If all of your hits are to the left of the centre, try increasing your global offset slightly. If they are all on the right side, try decreasing it.

Adjust your global offset until you are happy with it. Getting the right value will help to increase your overall accuracy!

Raw Input

A commonly overlooked feature of the game is the Raw Input function. This allows for direct reading of your input device into osu! itself. You may use this too if you don't like how Windows handles your mouse cursor, or especially recommended if you use a tablet. Give it a try and play a few maps with it, you might find yourself a lot more comfortable with it!


There are many, many skins to pick from; you can find them on the forums, linked in chat, or even by asking the other users! While these will not improve your gameplay, they can help motivate you, or make playing osu! easier on the eyes. Or, if you prefer to not have a lot of the osu! HUD blocking the screen, you could find a skin with a minimal approach. You can even find skins formed by the pros and see what makes those skins more successful. Some skins have been built for ease of sight, while some are quirky and just for fun. Alas, it's another way you can get more enjoyment out of osu! and make your experience while climbing up the ranks a little nicer. ;)

Beginner Maps

Try giving these maps a go. They are ordered from the easiest to the most difficult, so try working your way down the list at your own pace!


You can begin your adventure with these maps!


After you play a bit, try these maps out.


Want to push yourself and take on a challenge? Try these!

Going Beyond

Once you have exhausted the difficulty of the beatmaps listed here, don't stop there. Keep on going, and find some maps of a higher difficulty rating. Try even searching for beatmaps based on difficulty suggestion, as it will help you get an idea of where you need to go next. Don't be afraid to ask other users too about how you can improve, most often they will be nice and share you a pretty fun map to play that they also enjoyed, where their osu! world adventure begun. Most importantly, have fun!

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