Changing the padding in music frames individually

two requests about this topic:

  1. When I select a music frame in Engrave mode an switch on the top or bottom padding for the music frame, the music always jumps to zero. I would prefer, if I could go from the actual value, which is defined in the layout options.

  2. When there is a flow heading at the top of the music frame, I can switch on the padding for the top of the margin and enter a value, but it will not change anything. The values for the flow heading are somehow overruling the padding values, but it was a bit confusing, when I first tried it. I predict, that this is the case, because the value will probablly jump into place, when the music changes and there is no flow heading any more on the top of the frame. Perhaps you could make this a bit more obvious …

  1. It would be nice in general for more properties to be able to show a sensible default value, but this requires quite a lot of work for each individual property type to make it possible, so you shouldn’t expect this to be implemented imminently.

  2. If a flow heading is at the top of the frame, the padding values defined for flow headings in Layout Options take precedence.

I, as well, haven’t been able to see any visible effect when changing music frame top padding (in Engrave mode), and so I read your reply, here, with interest. I immediately went to check out “padding . . . for flow headings” in Layout Options, but all I find there are top and bottom margins for flow headings – with nothing related to “padding”:

Where can I find these settings for flow padding, please?

My interest in this relates to my vain attempts to learn how to create a greater vertical space between flow heading positions and the top staff of the music within default First page Master Pages.


Music frame padding for individual music frames is the local-override-equivalent of the music frame margins setting in Layout Options.

This is separate from the setting for the margins above/below flow headings. The flow heading top/bottom margins are not related to master pages, but to Layout Options.

Hi, Lillie;

I’m afraid that, despite weeks at this, this is still ancient Greek to me, – I don’t understand your reply (in part because you and Daniel seem to have used the terms “padding” and “margins” interchangeably).

Nevertheless, I just experimented with flow heading margins within Layout Options, and see that that’s what I’ve been seeking, to solve my problem.

The problem is/was: how to create more space between a default flow heading and the music below it. Evidently, the flow heading text frame is positioned within its music frame, but the text frame’s lower margin can act as a kind of upper “padding” (in the CSS meaning of the term) to that music frame.

Where the heck does one go (aside from this forum) to learn all these things in proper order?

Thanks, Derrek! That’s the padding that I had asked about: no matter what I entered as a value, there, it had no effect.

Yes, the Properties Padding only pads the Left Margin (rather than above and below or all the way around as I had assumed). To specify vertical separation of the Flow Heading from (non-flow) material above or below it, one must use the Layout Options for the specific flow(s) that need adjusting. This works for me once I confirm the changes. If you were looking for something else, I think we’d need more information.

To set padding differently for some Flow Headings than for others, one would have to create separate Master Page Flow Headings for the different options desired.

I do notice that the padding options for the FlowTitle Paragraph Style do not seem to be functional yet (unless I am missing some companion setting I need to set or understanding of how these operate).

Thanks for this, Derrek!

As mentioned, I had found the Layout Options Flow Heading parameters that allowed me to change the vertical distance between flow headings and the top of the first page’s music (but just per Layout), but I was curious as to whether – and how – one might be able to do this more globally, via editing a master page.

Although I don’t think I’ve found that yet (all I’ve been able to do, so far, is create an over-ride of the master page), your help prompted more experimentation at my end, which yielded surprising (for me) results, as you can see here:

By editing the master page (Engrave Mode) and selecting the text frame for the flow heading, the “Text” properties appear, which – as you showed – include the option to add “padding”. As before, I entered a positive value (1.5") there, but was unable to see any effect as a result. But as I continued experimenting, I changed the value for “Vertical alignment” from “centre” to “bottom” – and volia! – what should I see but an immediate change in the vertical position of the flow heading text: as you can see in the image, it is now lowered, so that it is ~ 1.5" below its text frame!

I experimented further, by selecting vertical alignment of “top”, which immediately raised the Flow Heading by ~ 1.5" above its text frame:


So it seems that vertical padding does exist for flow headings (by editing the master page), but that padding remains invisible unless one also changes the vertical alignment of the Flow Heading’s text.

I have to say that I am in awe of those of you who have somehow mastered Dorico – I’ve been working at it for several months now, and I am still lost in the woods.

Can you please describe what exactly it is you’re trying to achieve?

In terms of “globally” - you can’t control the margins above/below flow headings by editing a master page. I believe I said so in my previous reply. You can change it in Layout Options, for one, multiple, or all layouts at once. That setting applies to all flow headings in the selected layouts. You can change the margins (gaps) above/below flow headings on individual pages if you so choose by assigning a flow heading change on the relevant pages. The benefits of following these instructions means you don’t end up with page overrides that might limit your flexibility later on.

Remember that unless you export them from one project and import into another, master pages only exist in one project - if you start a new project, the factory default master pages are provided. However, you could make changes in Layout Options, save those as default, and find your new settings provided in every subsequent project you start on your computer.

As for a general introduction to how this works - perhaps this topic, that acts as the intro to flow headings, where there are hints to the various bits of functionality related to them, including the ways and places in which you can change the margins above/below them.

I have in mind to create some sort of labelled diagram that highlights the different margins in play, including page margins vs music frame margins, which flow heading margins would fit well into. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to fit that in yet.
Well, there is that “10,000-hours to gain expertise” theory. :laughing: That’s why I bought Dorico right at the start, before there was a manual and folks had to depend on this forum for sharing the results of experiments and advice from those I suspect were beta testers.

Following your inspiration to experiment further, I realized that by keeping the FlowTitle text vertically centered and increasing the height of the Master Page Header frame itself, one could create vertical padding above and below the text (so long as one wanted equal padding above and below). Of course this would effect all Flow Headers, but one could create multiple Master Page Flow Headers if one had predictable needs.

Sure looks like it will take that long! :sweat: :wink:
There are many Dorico videos, but they don’t seem to be in any comprehensive tutorial order (maybe I’m missing something . . . ), and many of the entries in the Operation Manual only make sense to me after I’ve already understood what they so concisely define. (It would be amazing if a comprehensive arrangement of video tutorials were linked to the Operation Manual’s table of contents!)

If by “FlowTitle text” you mean (what I’ve perhaps erroneously) been calling “Flow Heading text”, then I run into this problem: while it’s easy to increase the height of the the Flow Heading (and even Flow Header) text frame by lowering it, it doesn’t seem possible to raise it, because its top margin seems to be nested within the top margin of the music frame. However, lowering the Flow Heading’s text frame margin also brings the Flow Header text much closer to the top staff of music:


. . . which requires another operation to create more vertical space between the now lowered Flow Heading and the top of the first system/staff of music.

This would be perfect, if I could figure out where I’m going wrong here . . .

Thanks for this help, Derrek!

It looks like you’re lowering the bottom edge of the flow heading text frame directly on the page. This produces a page override, and music won’t automatically update around it.

Edit the flow heading itself and increase the height of the text frame there if you want the flow heading text frame to be bigger. This will then cause all flow headings using that template to update automatically.

Or, change the margins above/below flow headings as linked in previous replies - either for all flow headings in each layout (but you can change this setting for multiple layouts at once), or on individual pages using flow heading changes.

If you want the flow heading to have a larger gap above it when it appears on a page using the First master page template (i.e. for the first flow in the layout, or if you’ve set the First master page to be used for any flow starting at the top of a page), then lower the top of the music frame on the First master page (by editing the master page itself of course , not just one an individual page - although you can override individual pages if you like, with awareness of the subsequent considerations). Flow headings get put inside music frames, so if the top of the music frame is lower, so will the flow heading be lower too (ie the top of the flow heading matches the top of the music frame).

(Also, I don’t know if you saw my reply before Derrek’s last one, ? Hopefully the links and explanations in it are helpful?)

Thank-you for these replies, Lillie!

Aha . . . now I get it: editing it within the Master Pages “Flow Headings” section prevents a page override, and applies that/those edit(s) to all Master Pages within the project, yes? Simply selecting and editing the Flow Heading text frame, within Engrave Mode, creates a Master Page override, and also makes that edit a “one-off”, for that particular page alone, yes?

(Were I to want to use those Flow Heading edits in a future project, would I then use the Flow Headings’ section’s “create a new flow heading”, do the edits there, and then save that heading with a new Flow Heading name? Or could I simply re-name flow heading? [Later: or use "assigning a flow heading change?] )

I see that one cannot raise the position of the Flow Heading frame relative to the page — one can lower it (via Properties/Frames/Top), give the frame greater height (via Properties/Frames/Height), or perform both changes together. However , it appears to me that since the Flow Heading frame is nested to the top of music frame, one can go into Edit Master Page, raise the music frame there, and the Flow Heading frame will be raised along with it. Doing this will make the music frame overlap the composer, lyricist, and possibly project title frames, but one can decrease the height of, or delete, those frames if desired. Since these would be Master Page edits, could I save them for future projects as well by saving them within a differently-named Master Page, to be imported later?

Hmm. . . but don’t the above procedures do precisely that? The only way that that sentence makes sense to me is if there is a distinction between changing frame positions and changing frame margins . . . Are these not “margins”?


Thanks – this was the main thing that I gleaned from your first email (above), and I posted that earlier.


Thanks, Lillie – I hadn’t seen this before. I’ll give it a try!

Thanks again, Lillie – I really appreciate your help!

These properties in relation to a frame from a flow heading on an individual page act like any other settings for frame position, and when done on a page in a layout, constitutes a page override. Please read this page for information about page overrides.

Not all master page sets - just the master page set in which the flow heading exists. Flow headings are part of master page sets, as described on this page introducing flow headings (which I do believe I linked you to earlier). If you made this change in say the full score layout, the parts wouldn’t automatically be affected because they by default use a different master page set. Additionally, if you wanted to reuse a particular flow heading template or a set of them in another project, do so as part of a master page set.

This is why I ask about what is it you want to achieve, rather than getting too bogged down in the details about what happens in X situation vs Y. Dorico lets you do all sorts of things, but in terms of “best practice” I would humbly suggest following the way it’s intended to work for as long as that suits.

Everything I’ve linked you to and all other suggestions should give you plenty of options for achieving your desired end results.

I don’t get it, Lillie: you took the time to show me how to edit Flow Heading frames via the “Edit Flow Headings” feature in the Master Pages panel, and indeed, those edits do not create master page overrides. (If I remember correctly,) you also showed me how to make Master Page edits via the “Edit Master Page” feature, which also does not result in page overrides – but then you wrote “you can’t control the margins above/below flow headings by editing a master page”, but we’ve been doing just that, with no overrides.

Yes, Lillie. And I’ve read every link you’ve ever recommended . . . which doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ve understood it, or – on occasion – that I’ve fully remembered all of its contents.

Thank-you – I didn’t realize that these edits would not automatically apply to Part Master Sets.

Argh, Lillie – what do you think I’ve been trying to learn all these weeks?!

I wish you would give a concrete example of what you want to achieve, how you will use this info in a practical situation. An image of a page that (realistically) uses these altered headers could give us a much better (and less time-consuming) way to help you. Images of Flow Headings sitting partway between staves doesn’t look practical to me. What are you trying to produce?

Flow heading margins are the things you set either in Layout Options or as part of a flow heading change. That has semantic meaning in Dorico that Dorico understands.

(Edit after rereading the thread: don’t worry about the concept of ‘padding’ when it comes to the space above/below flow headings. Padding is space inside a frame, whether music or text. Margins are the gaps around frames, for a very simplistic comparison that I hope will help you clarify the distinction for yourself.)

“Enlargening the flow heading so its text frame is taller” is not the same as increasing the margins above/below flow headings, even if the graphical end result looks the same. It has a different function. Likewise, “editing the master page so the top of the music frame is lower” isn’t changing the flow heading margin either - it affects where the flow heading appears, but not exclusively. Hence my encouragement to you to go to the places that are exclusively and dedicatedly for flow heading margins in the first instance, with supporting changes if need be. I wouldn’t encourage you to see all the various ways of influencing where a flow heading appears as “all” to do with flow heading margins.

Again, this is all easier to explain and get your head around with real-world examples. In some situations, some of the other methods will be preferable - but “it all depends”.

I appreciate that as you’re learning, the specifics of what we call things might feel different or odd, but they are important. The documentation includes very (very) careful wording for this reason, and that’s why I like to make sure that I link to the places where it should all be assembled. It’s interesting for me to know when that doesn’t convey the information I wanted it to.

1 Like

Here you go, Derrek – sorry for the delay.

I see that one can lower flow heading margins via Layout Options/Flow heading margins, but – despite its presence as a feature there – one cannot actually raise them. I can’t seem to be able to raise them via the Pages Flow Headings editor, either. My guess is that the text frames above the flow heading (eg, lyricist, composer, project title) force this constraint.

How would you recommend going about raising flow heading positions?

So far, the only way I’ve found has been to re-size or delete some/all of those other text frames, either as page overrides or as master page edits. Both methods provide the space into which the flow heading frame can then be moved.