Deselect notes with keyboard

In write mode, if I have a note selected I can select adjacent notes by holding Shift and pressing the right or left arrow keys. Is there also a way to deselect notes this way? In text processors it’s common to highlight text pressing the arrow key in one direction and undo the highlighting by pressing the arrow in the opposite direction. Here in Dorico, it will always only select/highlight the notes adjacent to a selection in any direction. This is kinda counterintuitive for me and throws me off everytime.

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Why would you expect Dorico to behave like a text processor?

Probably because you think Dorico should behave like a text processor?

It would be a bit inconvenient in Dorico if you pressed shift-up and it selected a bunch of previous notes in the flow, but hey that’s what my text processor does.

Some software only extends the selection with Shift-arrows. It has always been thus.

One unusual thing you can do in Dorico (and Sibelius) is Undo selection actions. So for example if you Shift-arrowed one note too far, you can Undo once.

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ctrl/cmd D to deselect

Because there are many common workflows and keyboard shortcuts, and at least in some areas there is similar behavior.

Why so snarky? I didn’t say it should behave exactly like a text processor in all aspects. Of course there are some things that have to be different in Dorico, and most of the time it’s very obvious where and when that’s the case. In this case, however, it felt counterintuitive to me that pressing Shift- would select a note (as it selects/highlights text in a text processor) but then pressing Shift- wouldn’t deselect it. Also, I personally think, there is no reason why it shouldn’t behave like this, it’s merely a choice by the programmers.

Thanks for this advice, that I didn’t know (and it’s also different from common behavior in other programs).

tl;dr: Selecting is complicated.

I have observed selecting behavior carefully since Macs first got cursor keys in the late ’80s. The difference is in the concept of anchoring. The older, more basic method is to always extend in the direction of the arrow key. The old Macintosh Finder worked this way when selecting items.

The more advanced method (first promulgated by Microsoft Word, I believe) is to treat the origin of the selection as an anchor point and extend or contract the selection relative to it. Most of us are used to this by now and this is what you’re expecting in Dorico. But making this work intuitively and usefully requires much more complex behavior.

Examples: You can Shift-Option-left & right arrow to extend the selection by whole words – as defined by spaces and certain other characters; these are custom definitions that differ from one program to another. Does the selection include or omit the trailing space? That differs per program too. You can double-click a word and Shift-click anywhere within another word (or double-click and drag) to extend the selection by whole words, because the program remembers that you started selecting with a double-click. This works in Word, TextEdit, Safari, etc., but not in BBEdit, in which I’m composing this post.

More in Safari

In Safari 16 (in which I’m editing this) it’s even subtler: When I Shift-click before a whole-word selection, Safari adds the space after the last word as well! (Good for dragging to move a selection.) If I do it again, the next whole word is also added! (Not so good.)

Another example: Select a range of text, and Shift-click outside that to add more to the selection. Then Shift-left or right arrow: the anchor is determined by which way you select with the keyboard! The first keypress always extends.

This is all great with text. Even with multiple lines, selecting up & down is still all in one data stream. But music scores need to be selectable in two dimensions, and I think the amount of complexity involved there for the ‘anchor’ method of selecting would be too much for both programmers and users to sort out.