Creating and moving flows

  1. If I have, say, a four flow project and decide that the contents of flow 3 need to be moved to come before flow 2, how can I make this change?

  2. Can I create a new flow anywhere other than at the end of the project? I might want to do this if I have written the first movement, slow movement and finale, and later decide to add a scherzo before the finale.


Switch to Setup mode, and click and drag the flow using the middle bottom panel. You can order them however you wish.

If you want to do some large-scale reordering of flows, it may be easier to use the File > Project Info dialog.

For a large project, this has the advantage that you don’t have to wait for each individual change to be done. Set up all the changes, hit “apply” and go and do something else for a few minutes while Dorico does its thing.


Funny! I tried that earlier and the flow didnt move. It did this time. I thought I would ask because I couldnt find anything about it in the manual. (I had searched on “move flow”)

Thanks – and for your advice Rob, also!



As @david-p mentioned I experienced that the flows don’t move, regardless wether I use the drag and drop method or the project info method. They move in the list but not within the Write/Engrave/Play/Print-tabs.
What do you mean, @Rob_Tuley saying ‘a few minutes while Dorico does its thing’? I applied, but nothing happend so far …
Would be grateful for advices, thanks!

EDIT: Maybe I should mention that I largely work with layout frame chains (for every flow a separate layout chain).

It’s hard to tell without seeing the project, but if the Flows are listed in the new order in Setup mode, but not within Write mode, then that might mean that your frame chains are explicitly calling the flow in a way that isn’t affected by their order.

Thank you @benwiggy for you fast and helpful answer.
I use Master Layouts only for flow headings / page numbers.
For all note frames I use layout chains (because I have many things to adjust).

The order of my chains / flows currently is: LA / LT / LU / LW / LV / LX (note: W comes before V)

then that might mean that your frame chains are explicitly calling the flow in a way that isn’t affected by their order.

This clarifies a bit as it affects another question I have: how to assign the order within the naming (the letters, that is) of the layout chains?

The first flow uses a chain called LA (given by default)
When I create a second flow and set up a new chain for that, this one is called say LW automatically by Dorico - and I found no way to change this W.

Howsoever, imagine the import of a number of flows using different layout chains from other projects into a single new project, say to create a songbook. It would be great to move the flows within the new project regardless wich names their chains have, as long as they have different names. Is this possible right now or if not, do you know if this is a feature to come?

You’d have to move the pages around by hand, I think, from the top of the right panel of Engrave mode.

Yep … but this is obviously kind of a workaround, isn’t it?

Well you’re using a separate frame chain for each flow, so, erm, what did you expect?

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I expected / hoped for what I mentioned above: moving flows around.
But the way you’re asking me raises the question concerning hierarchy: I thought flows would have higher priorities than chains. Am I wrong?

Setup mode affects the order of the flows in all frame chains. But if you’ve told your layout to use multiple frame chains and then filtered each frame chain down to an individual flow, it doesn’t matter that the list of flows has changed order; each of those frame chains still filters the same flow as before you reordered the flows list. And by necessity, by the sounds of things, given presumably each flow has different layout needs and various other surrounding frames (which are page elements, not flow-linked elements).

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It might be interesting/useful to see the layout, to decide whether there’s a better way of achieving the desired result.

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I read the manual again after your explanation and got now better, that flows are rather within chains than the other way round.
@pianoleo & @benwiggy I would like to understand the concept of chains which I did not at all so far.
Why or when are multiple layout frame chains useful? I searched for an answer in the manual and in the forum but found none so far.

The most obvious use case is a piano duet layout, where you want the primo player’s staves on the right pages and the secondo player’s staves on the left pages.

What’s your use case? I’m kind of in agreement with Ben here that it would be good to know.


Another use would be an incipit in the index. That music frame should not include the master frame chain; it should include only the flow used for the incipit.


Along similar lines, see the first page of Rodrigo Ruiz’s sonata - there’s an image about 2/3 of the way down this page: Dorico Showcase: Composing and recording "Behold the Stars" with Rodrigo Ruiz – Dorico

The scordatura indication to the left of the first system is actually a separate flow in a separate layout frame.

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Now I understand, thank you.
@benwiggy and @pianoleo asked me to deliver a layout, how to do this here in the forum? May I explain my situation?

  • Musicians: A vocal ensemble, six voices (SSATTB), sometimes accompanied by keys. As the pieces (see below) are different, I created solo players (S, Mezzo, A, T1, T2, B) as well as ensemble players (S1+2, T1+2). Which of them appear in every single piece/flow is set in the Setup mode.

  • I have several pieces of music, some more homophonic, some more polyphonic. They shall be assembled within in a song book. Due to reasons of ligibility and personal preferences concering the layout I would like to adjust the number of bars in a staff and the numbers of systems on the page etc. individually on every page and for every piece. Therefore I work a lot with frame breaks and system breaks and manual adjustments of the frame sizes and positions.

  • There are some pages only filled with text frames, too.

Actually, this is not very special., so I need obviously only ONE layout chain, not multiples, right?
The reason why I began to use multiple layout frame chains instead of a single layout frame chain is that I experienced that changes in flows at the beginning of the book (such as removals or additions of bars and pages) affects all the following flows (as they are part of one single chain).
I find this kind of strange, I feel I would like to handle each flow ‘independently’.

I think the main reason of using flows is of compiling pieces (flows) as parts of a larger work, isn’t it? I at least do not think in chains, I think in those parts / flows.

I, too, was miffed on discovering (some years ago) that adding or removing flows early in a layout would potentially mess up vertical spacing and master page changes further down the line, but the development team have evidently had higher priorities over the last few years (and I say that absolutely from a place of respect and admiration).

I think it’s a case of choosing your poison, really. The options you have are:
a) Get everything in a single layout, single frame chain, but don’t get into fine-tuning the staff spacing until everything else really has been finalised.
b) Set each flow in a separate layout, then compile the PDFs in third-party software. It’s up to you whether you deal with page numbers manually in Dorico or superimpose them in your PDF app.
c) Do what you’re currently doing.

I tend to go with option A, but I recognise that things can and do sometimes change down the line. The best compromise is to set up things like short pages (ones with a single music frame that needs to be kind of vertically centered) as custom master pages, because this way it’s only a few clicks to switch out one sort of page layout for another sort of page layout. If you can get your vertical spacing settings right (in Layout Options) then there should rarely be any need for manual staff spacing.

And as to Frame Breaks and System Breaks, they’re frame-chain-specific but they’re tied to the music, not the page, so you won’t lose those if the sequence of flows changes.

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