Dorico 4 - blah! - Why these massive files?

I’ll probably be told (politely) that—sorry—there are no plans to do anything about it. But I’m still going to say what I have to say in the hope that someone in the Dorico team may just listen and take it on board.
I’ve just finished editing a three-page vocal score I first wrote in Sibelius. No big deal—just four SATB parts. In Sibelius it was 59 KB. I upgraded it to Dorico 3 last year, and it saved at around 590 KB. I thought that was pretty bad. Now I’ve saved it as Dorico 4, and it saved at 1,102 KB.
Well, I like Dorico. It produces beautiful music. But is this the future we have to expect? Significant annual payments for more and more massive files that add invisible functionality that I will never use, and are slow to run, clog up my machine, and demand more and more backup storage? Is there no escape from this downward spiral. Yes, I know someone will tell me to disable playback to get smaller files. But they are still huge and disabling playback doesn’t help me at all. So, frankly, I’m disappointed at Dorico 4 (and Cubase 12 too).
Dorico team, if anything is going to make me leave Dorico for another programme, it will be these massive, slow files. Please, please make it a priority to reduce file size.

Did you actually do the math of how many Dorico projects of this size you can produce before you even come close to running out of space even on the smallest currently available drives?

I’m sorry but I feel this is a non-argument in the 21st century where other professions deal with Gigabytes worth of project files (not even talking about video projects)


The delta in project size between Dorico 3.5 and Dorico 4 is primarily caused by the graphical previews that are saved in the project, so that they can appear in the Hub and (on macOS) be used for Quick Look. If you would prefer the projects be smaller at the expense of these graphical previews, you can switch off the option Generate preview thumbnails when saving for each project in the Project Info dialog.


It’s been a while since I saw “KB” in a complaint about bloat.


A classier reply than what I had to say… :v:

Well, it looks like my view isn’t getting much sympathy. I’m grateful to Daniel for his explanation.
Yes, I know graphics files are big. I use them too. But MS Word files, on the other hand, keep getting smaller year on year, altho their content in terms of language and character support keeps growing. So it seems I’m not the only person in the world who still thinks concise is beautiful.
Me, I’ve got an orchestral score here in Dorico. It’s 278 pages and 14 MB in Dorico 3. Altho my machine is powerful and has good RAM, it still takes a long time to load, it is slow in saving, and slow to navigate. Now I’ve converted it to Dorico 4 it is almost 20 MB. So now it is slower in every way. If it was smaller, it would be better.
Wishing everyone a happy day.

In the case of your original example, the file you are weary of is only 1.1mb. That is a tiny file. Even 15mb for the orchestral score isn’t that much…. Have you ever checked the size of even basic audio files? I emailed someone an mp3 yesterday that was 7mb. An mp3… not even a wav file. I truly don’t mean to be glib, but these files are all quite small.


OK. But mp3s just play. It’s the slowness of Dorico loading, navigating, and saving that gets me.

That’s a separate issue from file size, at least to some extent. It’s ultimately the complexity of the file that impacts things (condensing, for instance).

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I don’t think the size of the file is affecting speed. That’s just disk usage, right?

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Most of that 20 MB file will be your VST presets. What VSTs are you using? You could try applying the Silent Playback Template, then re-applying whatever template you’re using. That may reduce the size, if there’s any ‘unused’ VST data still being saved.

Slowness is not caused by the enormity of your tiny files. Even the slowest SSD can load your 1.1Mb document into memory in under 4 milliseconds.

As implied, you would have to create over 900 files of 1.1Mb to use ONE Gigabyte.

Finally, I dispute that Word files are getting smaller year on year. The file format is an open standard, and has been thus for many years. In fact, there are ‘extensions’ to provide new data structures.

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It’s a SSD RAID. Shouldn’t be any problem with speed.

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As a long time computer enthusiast - this sounds to me like an issue with your hardware and not the, by modern standards, miniscule file sizes. I completely understand your frustration, Cubase 12 takes a silly amount of time to open on my machine (go make a coffee levels) however, I would bet my house on it not being the file size of projects causing your issues. If you post your machines specs, no doubt we could identify the bottleneck.

Machine specs may lead to an answer, but not if extensive background processes unrelated to Dorico are causing the slowdown.

Totally agreed. There are many avenues of enquiry but the easiest place to start IMHO is with the specs. Always check the easiest thing first. Good thing to mention though as many people don’t realise their machines are running huge amounts of processes, let alone that most of them are superfluous and actually inhibit their workflow.

And let’s not forget antivirus programs… they can truly cause abhorrent slowdowns for literally everything, especially when scanning (but some of them, even when not).


I actually excluded all my audio software’s folders from scanning with MS Defender, makes a noticeable difference.
And I have one SSD with all sample data, just excluding that was a game changer!



Well, since folk are wondering about the spec of my machine, voilà:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-9750H CPU @ 2.60GHz, 2592 Mhz, 6 Core(s), 12 Logical Processor(s)
  • 32 GB RAM

So I don’t think the machine is the cause of slowness. And all I run as antivirus is Win Defender.
Having said that, I followed the advice of @dspreadbury and switched off the option Generate preview thumbnails. That reduced file size to only a little more than Dorico 3, which I was glad to see.
At the moment, Dorico takes about 20 seconds to open, if the machine is plugged in, and no other apps are running. But it takes a lot longer if it’s not plugged in and other apps are open.
Btw, If I have several apps open, it always opens Dorico somewhere in the background, even if I just wait and don’t touch the other apps.
Then the little files—2-3 pages, four SATB parts—take about 7 seconds to open. But the big file I spoke of takes at least 25 seconds if the machine is plugged in, and a lot longer if it’s not.
Maybe it doesn’t seem slow to you. Seems slow to me. I still feel the Dorico team should aim to reduce file size.

You still seem to be implying that the filesize is the cause of the slowness. These are TINY files.

The fact that your laptop is much slower when not plugged in suggests the CPU is throttling when on battery. (A common trick to preserve battery life at the expense of performance.)


And to dovetail off of what Ben said, 2.6GHz isn’t that fast of a clock speed. This is where multi-core CPU’s can bite you in the butt. Many powerful desktop CPUs are in the 4GHz range, which means that each core is doing nearly double the calculations per clock cycle. So if you’re default is only 2.6, and rather than boosting, it’s throttling due to battery, any tasks that are [by necessity] single-core tasks may very well be calculating rather slowly by comparative standards.

And indeed, longer than 25 seconds is quite slow!