Confused about bars per system, layouts, and flows

I’m creating some piano exercises and experimenting with Dorico settings. Each exercise is a flow. For the first exercise, I wanted 6 bars per system and I found the setting for that. However, the second exercise needs more generous spacing. I tried creating a second layout with the fixed bars per system turned off. However, when I change the layout, the change applies to both flows.

If flows are for separate movements, there’s a good chance you’d need a different bars/system setting, including not using fixed bars/system. It seems to me that the setting is being applied at the wrong level. Am I doing something wrong?

Thank you for the insight that I need.

Pam, this isn’t the global set-and-forget you’re looking for, but it is quite easy in Engrave mode to make a given selection into a system. Select the first desired element (first note of a system), Ctrl-click the last desired element (ending bar line is best), and Shift-S to make into system.

Pam, you’re not the first person to ask for a per-flow setting for the fixed casting off options in Layout Options. As you’ve found, that’s not how they work at the moment, but we do plan to introduce a means of producing a “casting off change” at some point in the future that will allow you to change these options on-going at any point in the music. In the meantime, as Dan says, you can use manual system and frame breaks to achieve the results you need.

a “casting off change” at some point in the future that will allow you to change these options on-going at any point in the music.

Very good news! :slight_smile:

Thanks! I will do the formatting manually for my two-page piece. :slight_smile:

Dan And Daniel et al, can I ask a follow up here. I tried hard to get an answer for this.

See attached.

I have a chart that I’ve locked to 4 bars per system. I want to change one system and have it contain 6 bars, not 4. Dan, I tried your instructions above; in Engrave mode, I clicked on the note in bar 49, then Ctrl-Clicked the barline which ends bar 54 (hope you can see, it’s a bit blurry) After quite a bit of detective work, I was thinking ‘Eureka! This is going to work’ but when I clicked Shift-S, it didn’t make those 6 bars into a system.

Then I got the bright idea that I need to unlock the systems (in the Casting Off area) so I did that but the whole score immediately switched to 8 bars per system (sometimes 9, strangely). ‘Okay’, I thought, ‘Let me at least see this working’. But the same procedure in Engrave mode did not allow me to cram a bunch more into one system.

So then I thought ‘Maybe the act of locking this once makes it hard for Dorico to think about it being unlocked’. So I started a new project, added a grand staff, and tried again. Doing the procedure Dan outlined does something, but it always results in fewer bars in the system, not more.

I tried… I’m sure the answer is obvious.


Shift+S is the shortcut for adding a system break, which is not what you want. You want the Make Into System command, which doesn’t have a shortcut by default, but can be found in the left panel of Engrave mode.

edit: it might be that Dan Kreider has changed it on his computer, or he might just have been tired!

Yes! That’s it. That even works when I’ve locked the layout to 4 bars per system. Thanks a lot.