Custom master pages - some basic questions

Layout Options are independent of master pages/page templates.

You’ll need to edit the Default master page and recreate your changes.

Edit: Actually, you could try creating a new master page, make it the new Default type, and base it on your custom page template – that should replace the existing Default template with this new one, and the new one starts by matching the custom template. (With retained links to shared frames, so be aware if you then edit something in a shared frame on one template, the other will be affected.)

Whether that’s the best solution for your needs depends on what you want to achieve at the end (hence my suggestion you focus on desired end results, rather than methods: you will learn about the methods on the way, but the conversations you have will be more productive, less long-winded, and stymied by fewer tangents.)

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Most of this thread began with a very concrete problem and question, way back here: Shorten (all) systems with fewer bars - #7 by Doug_Walter
A number of forum members very kindly offered their own solutions, and all my subsequent questions have been in relation to carrying out those solutions. Because I am far less experienced with Dorico, there are numerous gaps in my knowledge, which makes carrying these solutions out difficult – hence my many follow-up questions.

Thanks, Lillie – that’s what I was looking to learn.

Alas, I should have looked into this days ago! I mistakenly presumed that custom master pages could include things like large numbers of flows and precise Layout Options settings! So much for that. . .

Obviously, I’m still unclear as to what custom master pages can and can’t achieve.

Custom Page Templates is offering containers in which Dorico can Lay-out music, and how Dorico fills these containers regarding the options in layout-options.

I agree with @Lillie_Harris , that as I mentioned having multiple flows is better achieved via layout options, than via a page template. Also, if we knew this was your goal from the beginning, we would’ve advised you strongly into this direction way earlier.
There is a lot Dorico does for the user, and it’s usually best to let Dorico have the upper hand there, except for when you really know what you are doing. (And still then Dorico keeps the upper hand, you just nudge it a little).

Maybe let me also share some examples of what custom master pages can do, besides the general layout of first and standard pages, where the design choices are more clear maybe.

First: Program Notes with music examples. Why a custom master page? Because you want to be able to quickly apply it to scores and parts of a piece (in this case orchestra). All the scores and parts can use the same master page while simultaneously differing significantly in layout options, especially page format(!), but also other things such as staff size or note spacing.

Second: pages with only text but no music, again as a front matter. That means, a custom
Master pages doesn’t need to contain a music frame and will this push the music just further back, again possible to be used in different layouts:

Third: changes in layout for a single page only. This can be used if for example you need footnotes on only one page and thus don’t need a frame for it on all other pages. Or in this case, I added another chapter headline above the flow, it’s from my opera. #9 is a normal flow header, but with #10 starts the third chapter of the opera and thus I added the headline to a variant of the default page template, which lived within the same page template set.

There are obviously many more use cases, but having multiple flows on one page is something dorico handles natively in layout options and creating page templates for that is this unnecessary, which means page templates are not (normally) used for this kind of layout change.

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