Aligning player and layout sort order

When setting up the players for a large ensemble (e.g. orchestra), one adds players and drags them to an appropriate position in the player list. Once the player list is in the desired order, is there a quick way to sort the layout list into the same order, or is it necessary to drag each layout into the equivalent position in that list?

Which version of Dorico are you using? If you’re already on Dorico 4, there have been changes in this area – by default, Dorico now sorts players in orchestral order, and layouts according to the order of players.

Ah, that’s good to know. I have downloaded and installed Dorico 4 Pro but as I am about 20% through a 340-bar transcription for full orchestra that I started last week in Dorico 3.5, I was reluctant to switch mid-project, partly from a concern that the UI might be a bit different, but also because I saw a note on the web site that the next few weeks would be spent making sure that everything that works in 3.5 also works in 4.0, I was a software developer for much of my career and I know well the issues that sometimes arise at the junctions between major point releases. I am, however, definitely planning on making the move when I finish my current transcription project.
SEPARATE SUBJECT: I know that you worked on some of the excellent tutorial materials for 3.5 – you pointing me to the First Steps tutorial was a <> help in starting up the learning curve – so can I ask you if you have any pointers, tutorials, etc. about the specifics of working with full orchestra in Dorico. At the moment, I’m not as concerned with the nuances of Play mode, Playback Templates, etc., but rather with the most efficient processes for getting up and running (Setup), getting the information in (Write – including MIDI recording), and getting a decent looking score (Engrave), If the answer is just ‘Take what you learned in the tutorial and scale it up,’ that’s fine. I just thought I’d take advantage of the fact that you responded to my post to ask you since you have been so involved in Dorico education. Thanks in advance!

That’s understandable that you want to wait until finishing your project to switch over. If it’s helpful to know, here’s what Daniel wrote to a user with a similar quesition:

I’m really glad to hear the First Steps guide helped you get familiar with Dorico!

Do I have any specific advice about working on a larger project – I think I could do:

  • in general, try to hold off on enabling condensing (if you plan to use it) until you’ve done the majority or all of your note/notations input work. Condensing can cause projects to run slower, due to the calculations involved.

  • likewise, try to wait until you’ve cast off layouts (decided which bars go into each system, and which systems onto each page) before moving staves vertically. Staff spacing overrides generally get lost if their page number changes – if you tweak staves on every page, then go back and insert a page at the start for a title page, you’ll most likely lose all your staff spacing overrides.

  • related to the last point, spend some time getting familiar with how staff spacing defaults work in Dorico – watch either or both of these two videos: Staff & System Spacing | Discover Dorico Google Hangout - YouTube and Learning Leading Layouts | Discover Dorico - YouTube ; if you can get these settings right for a layout, you might not even to tweak individual staves/systems at all.

  • also, getting the right balance (especially in large scores) between page size, staff size, margins, vertical spacing, and note spacing will go a long way – if you generally want fewer bars per system, try increasing the note spacing; if you want more, try reducing it. This can reduce the need to insert system/frame breaks everywhere.

  • Setup: Dorico 4 introduced an overhauled ensemble picker with a default key command Shift-E; I’d already assigned this for myself in 3.5, and I’d recommend it – it makes adding e.g. a string section much easier.

  • Make sure you’re comfortable with how players, layouts, and flows interact and the things you can do with them (e.g. tacets)

  • Ditto some of the key functionality options relating to solo players holding multiple instruments (instrument changes), section players (who can divide), percussion kits (which you can display with different kit presentations in each layout), etc.

  • Getting music in: the caret is amazing, it does more than “just” input notes, it lets you input dynamics anywhere in the middle of tie chains, for example, and extending the caret across multiple staves lets you input the same notation (using popovers) on those staves at once.

  • Beaming / rhythm dots: in the majority of cases, you won’t need to beam things manually or use Force Duration to specify how particular note durations appear, if you’re using the right time signature (including specifying the beat grouping as part of it if needed, e.g. [2+3+2]/8 for a 7/8 time signature that groups notes/beams into 2+3+2 automatically) plus Notation Options for Note Grouping and Beam Grouping.

  • In general, if you find yourself moving a particular type of item closer to/further from the staff a lot, or changing how something appears using the Properties panel – go looking for whether a corresponding default setting exists, because it probably does. E.g. I often change Engraving Options for the distance between text items and the staff (smaller gap) and playing techniques and the staff (bigger gap).


Thank you very much!! It’s clear I still have lots to learn…but having started on Finale 1.0 when I was teaching at the Grove School of Music <> back, and then moving on to Sibelius, Dorico is such a fabulous evolution of what an industrial strength composition and arranging tool can be…the learning curve is/will be interesting at worst and fun at best. Kudos to all who have worked on Dorico…and to Steinberg Executives for supporting the vision of Daniel and the team in the post-Avid meltdown in 20212


The manual says: “You can click and hold or right-click Sort Layouts to change the setting to one of the following options”. If I click and hold or right-click Sort Layouts (or Sort Players) nothing happens. Then I left-click Sort Layouts (or Sort Players) button – nothing happens. I have to left-click Sort Lyaouts (or Sort Players) button one more time for the change to take effect. Is this intended behaviour?

You right-click or click and hold to open the menu and choose the new sort order, but that itself does not sort the players: you do indeed need to click the button itself with the left mouse button to actually sort the players.

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Sure, I understand, that the right-click is a selection only and then I need to left-click the button. But after that left-click nothing happens. I have to left-click the button second time to see the effect.

A problem occurred when I added a new instrument to the orchestra (I added a tuba) and it was impossible to change its position in the layout : it was positioned below all staves.

Tried to drag the instrument up and down in player section, created groups for each sub section, customized player order via layout options (ctrl+shift+L), changing sort instruments options back and fort form orchestral to none. Nothing of the latter was useful.

I had to create a new Full score layout, I had two of them, the new one was chaotic (staves superposed) but all was automatically sorted even in the first one ! So when I deleted the new full score layout I had the result I wanted !

In the layout options the newly added instrument appeared separately alone in a new list and did not integrate the orchestra instrument list, so could not move up or down. It seems that this kind of problem occurs when importing an XML from another software (Sibelius in my case).

Thank you for reading.