Advanced text editing for instruction sheet

I’m searching everywhere to find some videos for in-depth instructions for all the text editing possibilities for creating instruction sheets and text blocks using text frames in creating a piano instruction method.

  • For example the possibilities in creating a decorative frame around a text paragraph?
  • How to insert music glyphs in the text and change the size of them?
  • How to create a Drop Cap(ital)?
  1. Use a text frame and add a border. Not a lot of options for decorative designs, but it works.
  2. Copy-paste from here. Use Bravura Text font for that.
  3. This is entirely dependent on your font. I use Minion Pro, which has dedicated drop-cap characters

Dan, your help is great as always, but in spite of that in the text formatting area Dorico is still quite weak …
It’s not only glyphs and capitals and frames, but it’s also more fundamental things like (absolute) positioning, but that’s another story and hopefully an known issue …

Jürg, what do you mean by absolute positioning?

Thanks for your reply.

I figured out how to add a frame border. But I must say that the options for styling the borders is very limited. And the copy/paste music glyphs from the page link you added works well too.

The Minion Pro font I can’t find in Dorico. I checked there are many fonts out there that have drop-cap characters, but how to install them? Is it possible to use only the first capital the font with the drop-cap and the rest continue with Bravura Text font?

Minion Pro is an Adobe font, so it’s available if you have any subscriptions to Adobe Creative Suite (or any older licenses). You can find free knock-offs online.

Most decent fonts will include small-cap characters.

How to install a font… you just install it! On Windows, right-click and “Install for all users.”

Is it possible to use only the first capital the font with the drop-cap and the rest continue with Bravura Text font?

Sure, but that’s a pain. You’re better off just finding a font you like and using it.

So I have to install the font on my Mac and not in Dorico? It will appear than in Dorico?

That’s correct. Just make sure Dorico is completely closed when you install the font. I think I’ve heard people recommend a restart for some font issues, but I’ve never needed to. Just install the font and launch Dorico, and you’ll see it in the list.

Thanks for the advice. I’ll going to try it after I decided which fonts I like to install. First I make a little research of what is available.

There may come a point when it’s easier to do the layout in a DTP application, and just import the music as a PDF or SVG vector graphic layer.

Dan, are you sure Minion has “Drop-cap” characters? Drop caps are just big letters at the start of the paragraph, at a multiple of the leading height. I can’t see any such characters.

I installed some special drop-cap fonts, but I can’t make them function as drop-caps in Dorico. In Pages (on Mac) and I’m sure in Words as well it is easy to do this with any font. You just need to select the letter and click ‘make drop-cap’ in the menu. How to do this in Dorico?
This one is in Dorico:


And this one in Pages:
Screenshot 2020-09-27 at 13.41.15.png
As you can see the drop-cap doesn’t automatically act as a drop-cap.

And as for using an other program, well I still have much more music than text. So perhaps to import well designed text frames from Words or Pages as a screenshot image into Dorico and paste it in a picture frame into the score is a better option in my case.

I never worked with a DTP like Publisher. What does a DTP application do different from a.e.Words?

Oh, I’m showing my ignorance. I was confusing it with small caps. Sorry!

Way OT, but I went down a music scribe drop-cap rabbit hole a few months ago. Some of the artwork from these scribes is amazing and kind of shocking in raunchiness! All of the Cambrai drop-caps from this 1542 manuscript are pretty cool (5-line staff too) and some like this M are particularly gross. This letter A is probably NSFW so click at your own risk. This Twitter thread is the one that started me checking these out, but there really is some incredible artwork in these music manuscripts.

Dorico doesn’t have Drop Caps support.

Word is a “word processor”. It’s designed to write letters, and has grown to allow things like bullet points, in-line graphics and lots more things. It is not DTP (Desktop Publishing) software, which offer complete control over the position of images and text; greater control over typography; and features like layers.

If you want to do more sophisticated page layout, then you need a DTP app, rather than Word.

I use InDesign for various fancy stuff like this. I hate paying a monthly fee, but it’s a phenomenally powerful program. The answer to every question of “Can InDesign do X” is basically “Yes.”

As Ben mentioned above, my workflow is to export Dorico files as PDF, and import them into InDesign for “finishing work” that Dorico isn’t designed to do.

Jürg, what do you mean by absolute positioning?

Well it’s an old story, but still there is nothing new there …
I came up with it here, just to be told that my examples are not the “best” in style …
https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=246&t=151624
But actually I need it still for positioning text (and perhaps also tempo text); such simple things like alignment to the frame or to the page border;
I tried it once again in this thread but the years go by …
https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=246&t=151867

So it’s all well known and it comes up every now and then in an other thread and all of us waiting for a better handling of text are a bit on hold …

So while we are waiting, why could the team not also implement those fabulous circles and rounded borders – as for rehearsal marks – to the text box (be it normal or system text).
I’m a bit worn out on workarounds here … so sorry for repeating myself :confused:

You do know there is a new function for aligning text items to the left system margin, right?

I recently completed a 220-page liturgical publication that required a number of workarounds, including a handful of often-repeated functions (like adding little glyphs to text frames) that were actually sort of painful to do. But I’m not going to complain.

  1. The development team works hard and I trust their priority in regards to new features, even if it doesn’t always match mine.
  2. This project would have been far more difficult in Finale. Actually, several things would have been so complicated that I don’t even know if I could have made them work in Finale.

Yes I like that, but I want the text positioned all left of the frame itself, like f.e. instrument names.

All of the Cambrai drop-caps from this 1542 manuscript are pretty cool (5-line staff too) and some like this M are particularly gross. This letter A is probably NSFW so click at your own risk.

These are great and interesting to see all these imaginations of five centuries back. Thanks for Sharing!

I use InDesign for various fancy stuff like this. I hate paying a monthly fee, but it’s a phenomenally powerful program. The answer to every question of “Can InDesign do X” is basically “Yes.”

I’m sure going to check this one out. Still it would be great if one day Dorico does have a little bit more tools built in for giving a little more styling. I agree it is meant for music notation and it does a great job there, but what I need for making my scores a bit more to my taste isn’t a huge arsenal of features.

It is for example possible to make a smaller frame insied the bigger frame, so I have a double lined frame and changing the border thickness of one frame. This gives me a frame with a double border for inputting different kind of info. It can create clarity in an instructional score. But this is a pain when dragging and positioning the frames and possitiong the text inside. Even for inputting text a must drag the frames separtate to input text and drag it back, otherwise it puts always the text in the outer frame. Same for making a picture frame inside a text frame. It would be nice if those frames could be locked unto each other.