Dorico 4 and XML Notation Invisibility for Educators

Through numerous threads here, we are aware XML translation among the various apps is far from perfect and a work in progress for all the developers including Dorico.
Those of us in higher education face creating various assignments for students writing in least 4 different notation apps in our classes.
XML is the best we can do to move music notation files between the apps.
One important part of assignment creation is the ability to make most all manner of notation invisible; clefs, key signatures, bowings, fingerings, figured bass, etc.
One way to make notes invisible in Dorico is to reduce the note size from 100% to 1%. (My thanks to Daniel for supplying this idea.) This tip is especially nice because the note spacing and page layout is unaffected.
Be aware these invisible items in Dorico translated through XML arrive in the other apps with varying visibility. This ranges from only the stems showing, stems and beams showing, to everything showing at 100% visibility.
Please don’t take this as criticism of Dorico, or even XML.
Music educators; simply be aware your assignments may arrive with all the answers visible to your students, which is very confusing for them, and a disaster in terms of student success.
Yes, there are probably numerous other work-arounds in Dorico. This is simply a heads up concerning one avenue of music invisibility in current XML translation from Dorico 4x.

Dorico doesn’t export any information about scaling things to MusicXML at all, so if you rely on that to hide things, when you export the MusicXML and then import it somewhere else (or even back into Dorico itself) all of those items that were scaled down to 1% will appear at normal size.

Thanks Daniel for this additional detail. It will be quite some time before XML instructions support everything, maybe never : )

This is just another footnote to add to the long list of fix requests for XML and Dorico.

Dorico has “far larger fish to fry” before 1% “invisible notation” translation becomes a priority.

My post was intended only to make others aware of an issue I probably should have anticipated, but didn’t discover until it was too late.

Bottom line for educators-

Open your XML files in all the notation apps your students use, and be sure everything appears correctly.

As of 4.3 there is Hide Notehead too.


Even though I’m deep in Dorico every day it can be difficult to keep up with the various “improvements” in the new releases. This reminder is good and appreciated. But will this invisibility survive translation through XML? Based on Daniel’s post I’d guess probably not. Thus the “heads up” for fellow users. This is an XML translation issue unlikely to be solved anytime soon by Michael Good (now retired?) and XML. XML and the Dorico team would probably need to collaborate on the creation of those XML instructions. There are far more important translation issues to solve first.

A two minute experiment will give you an answer: No it does not!

All changes are noted in the Version History document.


I have just now exported to XML a file containing notes which had their stems and their noteheads hidden, as well as some of the notes being scaled to cue size. When that XML file was imported into Dorico, all notes were visible at normal size. The same for importing into Sibelius (latest version) and MuseScore 4.

Up to my armpits in alligators with a project on a deadline.
Thanks again to Janus, (who helped me a few weeks ago with odd Corelli notation,) for spending the 2 minutes to confirm this. And also stevenjones01 for re-confirming similar news.

Daniel suggested this would be the case. I’m glad more users are now aware of this issue. My students couldn’t understand their assignment when what was supposed to be invisible was indeed visible, and they had no homework to do!

Ahh, the odd life we educators live! 46 years of teaching and I’d never have guessed I’d be dealing with invisible notes becoming visible against my wishes…