Block text as a text item?

Is there a way to set the line length of staff or system text?

I’m transcribing songs for a show that often has spans of dialogue that need to be included (sometimes the length of a whole paragraph), preferably attached to rhythmic positions.

Using text frames gives me some flexibility, but I’m fighting with page overrides and vertical spacing changes as I work. Every time I make a change to my master pages, I get stuck having to remove the overrides, which deletes my one-off text frames.

As far as I know the answer to your initial question is “No, not yet.” I have found I have to enter manual line feeds to space the text and may then have to use system breaks to position the affected measure where text does not run off the page.

The Dorico team has over the months & years made the SHIFT+X and System Text boxes more capable, and one hopes that that process will continue. Admittedly, working in dialogue over a musical theater vamp is still a challenge in Dorico (as it is in Finale).

Roger that; thanks for the clear, straightforward answer! Here’s hoping for this feature.

You can set the Leading in the Paragraph Styles dialog. This sets the spacing between lines ( I think that’s what you’re after). You could create a new style with the setting you want and apply that when you enter the text.

thanks Craig! I’m actually referring to the line length, i.e. how long horizontally the line of text can go before overflowing onto a new line.

Ah ok. Yeah, auto-wrap to a specific length isn’t possible with Shift-X text.

I think you need to make some choices about workflow. Dorico works best if you get all your notes input before you start messing with layout. I would probably input any dialogue text initially as staff/system text (just as placeholders) before making decisions about where exactly anything needs to sit on the page. Generally I would not be messing with page templates unless there were clear patterns of text v music.

But others are probably more expert in this area than I am…

good call. as for master page templates though, it’s something I’ve been figuring out over time. it’s a tv show, so getting all the necessary header/footer information on there in a way that looks right has been a process.

Sorry, I’ve no magic bullet to offer. Though I really would like Dorico to flow text frames in chains as it does music.

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I realized something that might be a good design consideration if/when block text items become implemented:

If you’re inputting spoken words at a point in time above the bars, ideally you could tell Dorico how many bars/beats those words take up, and Dorico can do its intelligent formatting magic, making decisions about the width of the text block and how to break up the bars in the layout.

Just wanted to check in on this point now that Dorico 5 is out. Is this feature in the works by any chance?

It’s a weekly frustration in my workflow, so any implementation would be enough to justify updating to Dorico 5. Whether it’s definable text box widths for staff text, or even better, the ability to specify the time span of staff text for Dorico to auto-format.


I’m afraid there’s nothing new to report on this front as yet, @gills.

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Ahh that’s a shame, but the confirmation is much appreciated, thanks Dan.

Hope to see this happen!