Czech orthography in Dorico

I apologize in advance for this question, as I should be able to figure this out for myself, but so far haven’t been able to.

I’m pretty ignorant when it comes to getting correct orthography markings in non-English languages; for example, the accent grave in French. Or the two dots over some letters in German. (I’m thinking particularly of a composer’s name on the first page of a score.)

The hardest one for me is Czech. I’m trying to get the little upside-down caret mark over the ‘r’ in Dvorak, and the acute accent over the ‘a.’

Yes, I know I can ‘correctly’ spell it Dvorak, with no marks at all, according to some authorities, but I’d like to do it the old-fashioned way, with the marks. Help?

One should always use the appropriate diacritical marks; not using them will always be a mistake, and any “authority” that claims they can be dispensed with is wrong. A letter without its diacritic is not pronounced the same way, hence their importance. A sentence like “LE COUP DE DE DE DE GAULLE” makes no sense, unlike “LE COUP DE DÉ DE DE GAULLE”. A rare exception up to a rather recent past was French, which (too) long resisted using accents on capital letters with the exception of capital e with an acute accent (É), but things have changed a lot recently. In Québec though, accents on all capital letters have been the norm for at least forty years. Of course, it has never considered OK to omit them from lowercase letters.

This being said, one way to use any accented letter is to look up the appropriate character using a utility such as the Windows Character Map or the corresponding module on Mac, then copy and paste it. You can also look up the name on Wikipedia whence you can copy and paste it. You will then be able to write Antonín Dvořák or Björk Guðmundsdóttir easily.

Dear Marc-André,
It has never been correct to omit accents in French, even with uppercase letters, in typed texts, and you gave the reason (the meaning could be lost). The technology is faulty about the bad habits, as well as false “authority” claims. It used to be very difficult to input those À, É, È, Ô before the computer era. Nevertheless, the mistakes are everywhere now, even in opera houses (I noticed that the translations projected during the performances consistently lack those accents)…

Czech is a real nuisance, both on Windows and on mac. On Windows it’s a case of tracking down the Alt codes; on mac it’s probably a case of copying and pasting characters from somewhere else. When setting some Dvořák songs I actually programmed up my Stream Deck to copy and paste all the characters I needed.

You might find it easier to go through this website than to copy and paste from Font Book.

Just for the records: it’s pretty easy to find special characters in macOS: with the key combination Ctrl-Cmd-Spacebar you can bring up a popup window with all available special characters, dingbats, emojis and whatever. Type “r” into the search field and you’re going to be presented with all characters that contain the letter r in one way or another, and ř among them. Just click it and it will be inserted where the cursor is.

Stephan, have you tried this in conjunction with Dorico’s Project Info or the lyrics popover? I suspect not.

When I had to write lyrics in Czech, I simply added the Czech keyboard layout to my available keyboards. I admit it was before Dorico 2, so I have no clue about Dorico 3 behavior, with the lyrics editor…

On the Mac, I highly recommend the utility PopChar, which has been around since Classic MacOS days. It gives you a little menulet that lets you browse all glyphs of any font, and then insert them. Useful for Bravura, too.

There is also a Windows version. It costs €30 or equivalent, which is well worth it.

Dear Ben,

you can do that without any additional product on mac os. Keyboard visualizer in the little keyboard language menu. Select the Czech layout (added in macOs Preferences>Keyboard layouts) and the visualizer lets you see the Czech keyboard so you can type with your own keyboard knowing what glyph is going to be inputted.

Popchar wouldn’t have been selling for over 20 years if it just replicated an existing feature!

Keyboard visualizer shows you the glyphs available in the current keyboard language, not all the glyphs within a particular font. (And of course you have to know which keyboard layout the glyph is in.). You can also save frequently accessed glyphs for easy re-use.

Thank you everyone. I’ll try all the possibilities and let you know which solution I find easiest to use, for my purposes.


Just to ensure this is clear:
This is a problem with lyrics in Dorico 3. The popover now expects whole syllables to be pasted, not individual characters, so if you paste into the lyrics popover any existing characters in the popover will be deleted.
Note that the lyrics popover closes when Dorico no longer has focus; this means that apps that “insert at the cursor” can’t be used in conjunction with the Lyrics popover.

I realise this thread was originally about composer names, but seeing as we’ve gone off at this tangent we might as well get it right.

Thanks, Leo. My problem is with the composer name field entirely, but it’s good to know about the lyric problem, in case I ever run into that.


No, I haven’t. But you could open a TextEditor document and copy/paste from there. Or even focus the browser’s search or address bar and use that temporarily, then copy/paste from there. Endless possibilities. :mrgreen:

In Windows, just install support for Czech (it takes seconds) and use the On Screen Keyboard (pin it to the taskbar if you’ll be using it a lot). Switching between languages takes two clicks (in the notification area of the taskbar).

Another issue is that not all typefaces include every diacritical mark. A particularly rare mark, which some major commercial typefaces lack, can be found in the name Martinů.

If you’re on a Mac (US KB layout), here’s a quick guide to common diacriticals (no need to remember any special codes or reference the chart if you internalize these).

[NB: you press alt+letter to get the diacritical mark (it will be underlined to indicate it is waiting to assign it to the next letter you press), and then strike the letter you want it to apply to. For instance, alt+e (then) e = é whereas alt+e (then) a = á.]

alt+e = ´
alt+i = ˆ
alt+u = ¨
alt+n = ˜
alt+c = ç

And for you Latin fans out there:
alt+q = œ
alt+’ = æ

Another useful one is alt+g = ©

Moral of the story, try pressing alt+[any key] and also try it in combination with the shift key. You’ll find that there are many special characters that do not require any copy+pasting or lookup tables. Lastly, there is no need to download special apps if you’re on a mac. Just tell the mac in preferences to show the keyboard layout switcher up in the task bar by the clock. Then, if you ever need it for the more obscure marks, click the symbol and select “Show Emoji & Symbols” and the character viewer that is built in pops up. There is a “Latin” subsection with every marking known to mankind.

Julian’s comment about the limitations of various fonts is very critical as well.

Screen Shot 2019-10-25 at 9.10.42 AM.jpg

Romanos, this is a thread on Czech orthography.
Using the method you’ve described, type
“Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)” into the Project Info > Composer field.
Go on, try it. I figure you’ll get as far as “Antonín Dvo” and then you’ll get stuck.

Now type these lyrics into the popover:

Come back when you’ve actually tried it.

I understand that, Leo, but many people do not have any clue that the other more common marks are readily available which are used by many different languages. It was just meant as a PSA to help people who use the other marks.

I said, “You’ll find that there are many special characters”. I didn’t claim that there were all the Czech characters.

Just discovered something interesting. On the Mac, if you have the window open which Romanos showed in his post above, you actually can use it to enter symbols into Dorico which aren’t readily available using keyboard shortcuts. These symbols can be entered both in the Info fields and in the lyrics popover. This works because the symbol window doesn’t necessarily have to be in the foreground to nevertheless be able to select characters from it. First make sure that the symbol window is available and then in Dorico make sure that either the Info window or the lyrics popover is foremost. The trick is then to double-click the glyph in the symbol window.