Considering switching from Finale - What’s still missing

Hi everyone,

As mentioned I’m a Finale 26 user who wants very much to switch over. I’ve done some searching about switching and frequently see lots of vague statements like “there are still things Dorico can’t do” and “it’s not fully ready yet” without concrete details.

So basically, I’d like to avoid the scenario of investing all the time and money only to discover half way through a project that I can’t do something I need and have to remake it in Finale anyway. Has anyone experienced this or have any more specific input about “missing” features that might be dealbreaking in this in this current version of Dorico?

I know this is itself quite a general question but I’d appreciate any input! For reference I write contemporary classical music which, while generally using only standard notation, sometimes becomes a bit outside the box.

As a former Finale user for … decades, I’d say that for ‘standard notation’, Dorico is pretty solid. Certainly, earlier versions lacked some crucial features (and most of the comments will refer to the first couple of years), but updates have come thick and fast. A new version will be along later in the year (hopefully not too delayed by the present crisis), which will once again improve, add, enhance, and amaze.

A quick look through the Help pages will show you all the different things that Dorico can do:

Of course, it would be good to know what sort of thing you consider ‘outside the box’. Speaking of boxes, the one glaring omission for contemporary notation is aleatoric boxes, though there are ways to fake this.

Dorico has matured sufficiently so that there are ways to workaround any lacunae by customizing existing symbols, creating new Performance Techniques, or other tricks. I’d also say that the amount of time Dorico will save you (once you’ve learnt it) means that you can still spend a fair amount of time fixing any obstacle and still come out ahead.

Staff hiding is a bit rudimentary, compared to Finale: currently, you either turn on hiding all empty staves (+/- the first system), or not. You can make a staff ‘non-empty’ by adding a Text item with a space, and then liberally copy that about where you need to show empty staves. (Pro tip: turn off Avoid Collisions in Engrave mode’s Properties panel for the Text item.)

Finally: Dorico works in a very different way to Finale. Don’t assume that things are similar. RTFM, watch the videos – and enjoy!

And Peter, Dorico has a 60-day demo going now if you want to take a look under the hood. That’s twice the usual length of time the demo usually lasts. Using the demo for Dorico Pro, you can also access the Elements and SE version; thought these would not be what you wanted, you could demonstrate them for friends with less extensive needs.

The 60-day evaluation is only for Dorico Elements, which doesn’t have all of the features of Dorico Pro. If you’re switching from Finale to Dorico, you will certainly want to be evaluating Dorico Pro, and not Dorico Elements.

My bad. :blush:

Am I correct that the 30-day demo is still available for those who want to try Dorico Pro?

Of course. They wouldn’t retract an offer of a Pro trial!