Bar number collision improvements

Recently had a project where I needed bar numbers on every bar. I ran into two challenges that I hope can be improved in a future update.

  1. Collisions with clefs.
    I know the team is aware of this, but it’s relevant to the rest of the post so I’m including it.

  2. Collisions with other items.
    Sometimes, the bar number collides with another item, such as a tie or slur. Currently Dorico moves the bar number much too far for my preference. A great feature for text items is the ability to toggle collision avoidance both globally (via Engraving Options) and locally (via the properties panel). This functionality would be great on bar numbers as well. If Dorico’s collision avoidance for a bar number is too conservative, I can turn it off either globally (via Layout Options I presume) or locally (via the properties panel), and manually place the bar number. Sometimes the original position of the bar number is fine, it’s just inside a slur/tie and Dorico treats that as a collision. It would also make it easier to have a consistent placing for the bar numbers if I can force them to their original position before moving them manually.

I bring up clef avoidance here because clef avoidance would (I hope) be independent of the collision avoidance I described above. Even if collision avoidance for bar numbers is turned off globally, I would still expect that they avoid clefs.

Any improvements to bar number placing are greatly appreciated, as most of my editing time on this project was getting those pesky numbers into place.

Were you placing bar numbers centrally in each bar, or centred on the barline, out of interest? Perhaps you could attach a picture showing the kind of placement you are looking for.

Sure thing. I should have had that in my original post. This applies mainly to parts.

I have them on every bar, centred on barline, below the staff, minimum distance from staff: 1/8 spaces, minimum distance from other objects: 0 spaces, and “align bar numbers across width of system” is turned off.

I would prefer 55 instead of 54 and 59 instead of 58. And obviously no clef collision at 56.

There’s room inside the tie for the number (55) which Dorico doesn’t take into account (54).
59 is moved horizontally slightly, and Dorico only moves bar bar numbers vertically (58).

Right, so a number of people have requested that bar numbers in this situation go as close as possible to the barline and that other things should avoid them, rather than the other way around. Hopefully we’ll be able to achieve this in future.

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I generally don’t like moving things to make room for bar numbers, but I do like them as close to the barline as possible. I look forward to whatever solution you and the rest of the team come up with!

Have there been improvements on this topic? Had an orchestra project with many flows which took hours to make the parts presentable because the bar numbers moved every time there was a slur. I could never get the bar numbers to align perfectly after that because I couldn’t get bar numbers to show the new rulers in Engrave mode in v4.

I think there’s been some new options since now, bar numbers have their own Layout options section with probably some mire options…

The current options don’t show anything about them not moving when detecting a slur or collision. You can have them at 0, but they will still move.

I’d like to throw in a vote for this feature too, please.

+1. Would love to have an option to allow them “under” slurs, ties, etc.


Yes, me too. There are many cases where there is more than enough space for the bar numbers to ‘live’ under a slur - especially the longer phrase slurs.