Dorico Feature Requests/Gripes

Having used Dorico for awhile now, I have some feature requests, or gripes (depending on how you view them), to share. I’m not sure how others may feel about these, but as someone whose income largely comes from music prep work, I felt these were worth bringing to Steinberg’s attention.

1: Applying Dynamics/performance techniques to specific measures of cross-measure tied notes is currently not possible via popup. You have to go in, find the given object, attach it to the given measure, go to back to engraving, and then you can finally adjust visual. Most common culprit, > on final measure of cross measure tied notes.


  • Staccato Tenuto, please let this have an always outside feature. Like the other articulations. Not sure why this was ignored.
  • Inconsistent Staccato Tenuto Shapes/Sizes.
    image image

a2’s showing up on EVERY BLOODY PAGE TURN. Also, it would be nice for an option for split steams in lieu of a2. I spend so much time removing these, I wrote a script to go in and do it for me, but they still make it past me.

On most of my concert or recording session work, I–and most of my colleagues–never use this marking. It’s mostly redundant the majority of the time: especially with how Dorico handles them.

If there is a single line of music, most people assume everyone plays until there is a modifier like: A) Split voicings with rests, or B) a “1/I, Solo, or Player identifier” indicating that it is not in unison. Then it is alright to have an a2 as a safety, but not on every page. If you go from divisi to unison again, the assumed default is that everyone still plays. I have yet to see someone just stop playing because there wasn’t an a2 marking. I personally just like having it go into divisi with whole rests underneath and return to a regular single line afterwards. It’s clear, and it doesnt require an unnecessary marking.

Frame editing, page layouts et al:

  • Selecting specific frames if edges are close or overlapping is sometimes impossible.
  • Option to show handles or make selection sticky would be appreciated.

Bar Numbers:

  • Manual movement of bar numbers and selecting multiple at a time would be great.

Use case, if you want all bar numbers on a given page to be even due to note ranges, but not a global change, its pretty much impossible to do at the moment. An align feature would be nice, just like what there is for dynamics (not just the engraving options setting).

Additionally, for scores that have measure numbers at the top, middle, and/or bottom of page, manual adjustments for each row is needed. Manually adjusting the top adjusts the bottom, which prevents optimal layouts from being made.


Dorico does not always handle beaming/splitting of densely voiced piano-style chords well. The norm is to have the stems next to each other. By default, Dorico does not do this.

image This is what dorico does. image This is with stems together, even in this case the flat of the E should be to the left of the note.

Additionally, if you reposition a dotted note, Dorico gets a little wonky with how it hanndles the dot. It appears that the dots are intrinsically attached to the note itself. This makes it awkward if extreme repositioning is necessary. It usually does a good job, but every now and then it borks.


General Popover comments – Some form of wildcard/token addition needs to be added for one off additions that we may wish to type in any popover–especially expressive text.

For example, Performance popovers. Rather than having to go over to the window, add a new performance technique to be added in a single place, some character combination should be utilized for us to quickly keep working and adding things efficiently. Example, if I only need to write, “play this ludicrously” in one place, it would be nice to do something like: shift – p > $play this ludicrously > enter.

Tempo Popover- Unable to currently place text after a note “value = #”: “quarter” = 76 Pesante y Espress.. This option needs to be available since it has become practice to put larger, general musical context phrases here after a tempo markings or in the tempo marking area.
a) Reduces clutter on conductors score.
b) All parts can see this as it is a general musical marking.
c) Provides another indicator on the score during rehearsal/recording scenarios.

Staff Justification:
For whatever reason, by default, Dorico does not fully justify final systems that are partially full. Yes, there is a setting within the layout options that allows us to fully justify the final system regardless of present notes, but why is this not the default? In my years of playing music and working in prep, I have never seen a final staff cut short. The margins are in place for a reason. It’s great that dorico allows the option, but it is weird that it is the default behaviour.

default: image

fully justified: image


When slurring a note over a system break, the slur shape and direction usually gets a little crazy. Example, D6 slurring to E6:

image image

Thanks for your feedback, @Piano_Pete.

  1. For any situation in which you find it awkward to create something, whether it’s a dynamic or anything else, on a particular staff when there’s cross-staff notation in play, position the caret on the target staff rather than attempting to do it from a selection.

  2. We know that there are situations where users would prefer not to see player labels at the start of each systen, and we plan to introduce more options for this in future.

  3. I agree that selecting close or overlapping frames can be tricky, but if you can get hold of any handle belonging to the target frame, you can use Tab to move between the handles, then use Alt+arrows to move or resize the frame. You can also use Shift+Alt+click repeatedly to select overlapping items.

  4. In the next major version of Dorico you will be able to adjust the positions of multiple selected bar numbers at the same time.

  5. Dorico prefers head-to-head placement by default, and I think in fact head-to-head is more commonly used in published music than stem-to-stem arrangements, in most situations, because it can on the whole be more horizontally compact. But you can tell Dorico to use stem-to-stem by default on the Voices page of Notation Options.

  6. We know that greater flexibility in the parsing of tempos and dynamics is necessary, and also that it would be needed to show the written tempo instruction after the metronome mark. We plan to introduce this option in the future.

  7. If you would prefer always Dorico justify the final system by default, you can save that option as a default for all future projects via the Layout Options dialog. Let me know if you’re unsure how to do this.

  8. We made a number of improvements to the handling of slurs over system breaks in Dorico 3.5. Make sure that you have the new option Interpolate vertical position of end points either side of break in the Endpoint Positioning section of the Slurs page of Engraving Options activated.


#3. I find that indenting centered frames by 10 from left and right margins makes L & R-aligned frames easy to select. I have made this alteration on my master pages and saved the sets for import anywhere I need them.

I’m not quite sure what you’ve done with your defaults, but the examples you’ve given here do not reflect factory settings.

The first system below reflects factory settings, and the second system below reflects what you get if you change solely the first option at Notation Options > Voices.

Regarding frame selection: you can also simply use the arrows to change the selection to a different frame. I agree the mouse is a bit fiddly in selection, but arrows work flawlessly. That, plus Tab.

Daniel, what about an option by which, when frame tool is active, clicking inside a frame selects that frame? That feels the most intuitive to me. Even clicking on a frame border, if you manage to get the right one, sometimes selects a handle instead of the frame itself.

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I love this idea! I often use custom playing techniques for repeated text instructions. This would be great.

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Thanks for the reply.

Honestly, my experience with Dorico since version 3 has been fantastic over all. So whatever things I have with it, or work arounds I find myself needing to do, are no more than I have to do in Finale or Sibelius. Generally, the work arounds end up being fewer and less complicated than the other programs. My macro lists in Finale and Sibelius dwarf what I use in Dorico, and many of them are to accomplish simple things Dorico just handles correctly out of the box.

I think in the past year or so, I have only needed to adjust note spacing and pagination on maybe 5 scores? The only serious instance I can think of-- off the cuff–was a single measure.

After having set up my default settings, it holds to them fairly well. How Dorico handles Parts–by itself–made the wait to switch over to Dorico worth it. I have been pretty much using full-time since.

I should also clarify that my list was just a collection of random bullet points that I have made over the past year or so. I apologize if anything was brash or grammatically weird.

Good to hear what the plans are for the future of the software. The changes and improvements you guys have been making are great. The only question I have from your post is whether there are any plans to create one-off popovers.

At this point, I believe I have gotten the majority of my expression/performance text placed into my templates, but clients still come in with the odd adjective that derails the flow of work. It’s minor, especially compared to some of the time sinks in Sibelius or Finale, but considering how well the other aspects of the software work, this would be icing on the cake for me!

If you would prefer always Dorico justify the final system by default, you can save that option as a default for all future projects via the Layout Options dialog. Let me know if you’re unsure how to do this.

I have already gone in and changed this awhile back. I just thought it was interesting that it was not the default behaviour.

We made a number of improvements to the handling of slurs over system breaks in Dorico 3.5. Make sure that you have the new option Interpolate vertical position of end points either side of break in the Endpoint Positioning section of the Slurs page of Engraving Options activated.

Wow, I cannot believe I missed this. This is much better. Thanks!

@pianoleo, You are correct that the latter example I posted does not reflect the behaviour with Stem to Stem selected in the voices portion of Notation Option. I do not think I was aware of that option back when I made that screen shot. (I made these over the course of the year or so). If I remember correctly, that screenshot was made while I was still working on something else.