Changing the distance between staves in Dorico Elements

Hi everyone
here’s me replying to an old thread again, after searching the forum!
I’m using Elements 4.1 and trying to reduce the amount of space between staves on parts. I’ve tried the settings in Layout Options, Vertical Spacing, but no matter what I reduce the gaps to, nnothing changes.
Also, I can’t see how to specify that I want 8 bars per system, like I could do in Sib and I’m sure is possible in Dorico but I can’t find the setting, only that I can add System Breaks where I want them in Engrave Mode, and then select a number of bars and make them into one system.

Do I need Dorico Pro in order to specify these settings?

Thanks again, for daily help for this very new user of Dorico. I’m liking it very much and many of the frustrations I had with Sib are removed, but learning a new way of doing things is exciting and on a steep curve!

You can fix both the number of bars per system and, if necessary, the number of systems per frame (frame generally = page) at Layout Options > Staves and Systems > Casting Off. Note that Layout Options are layout-specific; you can grab multiple layouts in the right side of the dialog before you make these sorts of changes. It may also be that you’re inadvertently fiddling with Vertical Spacing options for a different layout to the one you’re currently looking at - that’s one possible explanation for why you’re not seeing things change. In part layouts the options most likely to make a change are Layout Options > Vertical Spacing > Ideal Gaps > Inter-system gap and Layout Options > Minimum Gaps > Minimum inter-system gap with content.

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Thanks yet again @pianoleo - I was editing the wrong gaps. Inter-system gaps was the setting I wanted and on reducing the gap here, that worked a treat.
I’m not sure I yet understand the concept of casting off, (apart from when I’m knitting) but that’s something I’ll read up about.
Many many thanks!

“Casting off” refers to making an exact number of bars in each system, without letting Dorico put more in if there is room. Jazz charts are often created with just 4 bars per system, as many tunes have eight-bar phrases. This keeps sections of music grouped on the page visually. I believe it is listed in Layout Options | Staves and Systems, but I don’t have Dorico up at the moment. I believe you can also se the number of systems per page, if desired (instrumental parts might look cramped if there are 14 systems on a page, thus the option for fewer if desired – saves a lot of manual work with each part).

Many scores don’t have a need for a set number of bars per system, but for some types of music it is desirable. Experiment, and see how the score changes. UNDO is your friend!


Thank you @dwlarson that makes sense. In other words it’s similar to the Auto Breaks in Sibelius…I think! I would set it to 8 then reduce it to 4 on specific systems because I like to keep first and second time bars on the same system when possible.
I’ll have a tinker!
Thanks again