Change layout options for different flows

I’m having a problem adjusting separate flows within a project so that each ends the last page of the flow “nicely”.

I am engraving a book of songs which I have created as a single Dorico project. I have created separate flows for each song based on the same set of Master Pages and have inserted a frame break at the beginning of each flow (I’m working with the Full Score, if that matters).

If I understood a prior answer in this forum, I should be able to change the Layout Options (in this case, space size) for a single flow chosen from the Setup and that the change will be applied up to the next frame break. However, when I then apply a different staff size to the second flow, the first flow changes as well.

Did I misunderstand the application of Layout Options to a flow? Is there a better way to adjust individual flows?



Dear Ed,
Layout options are Layout dependant, not Flow dependant. Space size is a parameter that is allowed to be changed on a local basis — on each system break if you need! But that is one single parameter (a huge one, I agree). If you need to change another parameter for some flows (like vertical spacing or the appearance of instrument changes or anything else in Layout options that you cannot control in the properties of Breaks in Engrave mode) you can fake it by using a new Layout with your new rules for that flow.

Thanks, Marc, for reply! If I read correctly, I should be able to change staff spacing–but no other layout parameters–at a break. But that is exactly what I’m doing; staff spacing is the only change to layout I’m making. What is puzzling, and what I forgot to mention in my post, is that I’m pretty sure I was able to make the change to separate layouts some time ago as I was working on the book. I did save quite a few backups, so I’ll see if I can find out when it went wrong. It is certainly possible that I made an accidental change to another parameter in this latest version.



I must add that you can also change the label options at each break (for the sake of completeness of the information for those who read the thread) and also the Note spacing (in Engrave menu), as Daniel points it out in the next post, this one can be changed at any point of the score.

Ed, I’m sorry to say that you’re mistaken about being able to change the Staff Spacing options on from Layout Options at a break. You can change the staff size at a break, and you can also change note spacing values at any position, but the values on the Staff Spacing page of Layout Options apply globally throughout the layout, and cannot be changed either at a break or at the start of a new flow.

Hello, I’m having the same problem working on a book with pieces for vocal ensemble.
The pieces (every single piece appears as a single flow) differ concerning the vocal parts (3-parts, 4-parts, 5-parts, 6-parts, 8-parts), therefore the layout of the pages looks very different and the vertical spacing of the systems in some flows needs to be adjusted seperately.
I understand that additional layouts would help, but the downside of this is that my flows don’t appear in a single ‘flow-chain’ anymore (a book, that is).
Is this correct? Maybe I still haven’t understood the general philosophy of flows/layouts at all, but is it that complicated to exclude some flows from a layout and others not - but having all the flows remaining in a ‘flow-chain’?

It’s difficult to give precise instructions without seeing the project, but my guess is that in the flows with only a few voices you have multiple systems on the page, whereas the flows with eight voices you may only get one or two systems on the page (depending on the size of the paper and the amount of information attached to each staff).

In my experience, it tends to be the flows with lots of voices (staves) that are problematic, because a single system may take up just slightly more than half the vertical space on the page, but two systems would therefore overfill the page. The default vertical justification thresholds in Layout Options are to not justify the gaps between staves if a page is under 60% full (and the actual percentages of each page are displayed in Engrave > Staff Spacing mode). I think this is often roughly right; it doesn’t help anyone if a single system is artificially stretched to fill the vertical space on a page, but equally it can look naff if the page is nearly half empty. Changing this setting (and the one below) can help, but in layouts where there’s a range of differently sized forces it can’t cover every situation.

If I’m guessing your scenario correctly, I think there are two solutions:

  1. Construct a separate master page that has a shortened music frame, then bring this master page in for the flows where you’ve only got room for one system per page. The downside to this method is that master page changes are linked to the page, not the music, so if you change the order of the flows you’ll need to rejig if the master page changes. The upside is it’s a happy medium - you get staves vertically justified down maybe 70% of the page, which leaves some blank space but not too much between staves.
  2. Shrink the space size (staff size) for the flows that have many voices, in order that you can squeeze two systems tightly rather than one system loosely. You can do this from any Frame Break or System Break, in the properties panel. Some publishers disapprove of this, but, for instance, the European Sacred Music volume (Oxford Choral Classics) does this.

Thanks a lot for your fast and helpful reply, @pianoleo . It is exactly as assumed: my problems occured on pages with a lot of parts / staves.
In my case your suggestion to use a separate master page could work well, but I’m going to try both ways. Last question, may I quote you:

to reh …? Typing error or some insider wording? Thanks again!

I typed that reply on my phone - it was an autocorrect. “Reh” is a legitimate (personal) abbreviation of “rehearsal” in my calendar, or it least it used to be…

Considering that you wrote that long and well-structured explanation on the phone it is remarkable free of mistakes :+1: Well, thanks again, I will try this out and give some feedback when appropriate.
It worked without using extra master pages after all. I got a satisfying result by playing around with several adjustments in the LAYOUT OPTIONS / Vertical Spacing:

  • Ideal Gaps: decreasing the spaces between Staffs
  • Vertical Justification: “Distance between staves and system … 40%” (in my case)

As of late I work a lot with Frame Breaks and - as @pianoleo mentioned - in Engrave / Staff spacing mode the percentage of filling of each frame is shown. But what I didn’t get before is that decreasing the height of a frame manually decreases the distance between the staves as well. In combination with the percentage settings (see above) this was very helpful (at least for me).
Hope this helps others with similar questions.

Yes, if you have suitable Vertical Justification values, then the page should fill nicely, regardless of whether there’s different number of staves per system.

I always think of manual Breaks as a last resort, rather than something you need to apply everywhere.