Dorico on Mac instead of PC?

Ok, please don’t devolve into an argument between PC and Mac. Here goes:

I’m considering switching from PC to Mac on a laptop for basically just Dorico and Adobe CC. I’d keep my desktop PC, which is fine. It’s because I’d like a better laptop hardware experience (battery life, cooling, build quality, sleep). Mac is appealing to me. If I could start over, I’d go Mac. But PC is what I know and have happily used for 25 years. Not interested in pitting one against another.

My questions are:

  1. Has anyone else switched? Is it frustrating? Difficult to adjust to Mac OS?
  2. Are there any complications involved in switching between two Dropbox-synced machines, one Mac and one PC, sometimes multiple times a day?
  3. Anyone else use Dorico on both Mac and PC regularly? Is the workflow different in any way? I’m aware of the differences in Ctrl/Cmd and Alt/Opt. Are there others?


  1. I fully switched a year ago. I had used macOS off and on since 2001 so I had some previous experience. But, overall I did not find it to be a big deal. I really don’t miss Windows much.

The biggest thing I had to work out is Windows Shortcuts. There is no Mac equivalent. I had some programs I needed to launch with command line arguments. It can be dome on Mac but is not as seemless.

  1. I don’t use Dropbox so can’t advise.

  2. @pianoleo uses both so I’ll tag him.

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Just my very small 2¢:
I use both OS and Dorico regularly. Every now and then there can be a slight misalignment because of Font Issues (at least that’s what I think they are), but synching (in my case with OneDrive) and editing comes very easily.

I mostly prefer working on Mac if I have the choice, because it is speedier (and my Windows Machine isn’t up to date as far as hardware is concerned), but the OS isn’t in the way.

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Tell me more please…

I wonder if it’d be worth renting a Mac for a few days…

I thought of that, but it’s quite expensive…

The same fonts can render with minutely different spacing on Windows and Mac. With lots of lyrics this can, possibly, affect casting off.

Well that’s problematic. Good to know.

I do always lock systems, but often they are at the brink of overfull.

I don’t remember when, but I switched from PC to Mac probably around 2008, or was it 2012? :slight_smile: Anyway, a long time ago.

In any case, I love Mac, and I think Mac was definitely superior in those days – for ease of use and for longevity of hardware. No viruses, great hardware, and the experience seemed more user friendly, even though I learned a bit about some power-user things like Terminal, etc.

I have to have some software in Windows for some of my work – there really is no Mac alternative. So I used to use the free Virtual Box until it no longer could do it. Now I use the paid Parallels for my Windows virtual machine. Parallels is a great experience, but I’m “renting” it, which I dislike (there is a buy-once option, but …)

I think my Windows experience has been better with it running on Mac hardware than it was on PC hardware.

I’ve said all that, but my thought is this: if I had it all to do over again knowing all I know now, I think it’d be better to just stay with Windows and buy good (the best I could find) hardware for PC.

I found the switch to Mac back then to eat quite a bit of time, since I’m a keyboard shortcut lover with lots of muscle memory of shortcuts. Now I have the ones I need memorized for both OSes. And the OS was inherently different. As I recall, the transition was time consuming. I also had to buy some extra software for Mac. E.g., for word processing, I love Nisus Writer Pro.

I also think Mac is regressing now. Windows has one major advantage: backward compatibility. One can still run “ancient” programs on Windows, but Mac plans in a lot more software obsolescence, in my opinion.

As for hardware, I recently retired a 2012 MacBook Pro. I also had a 2018 Mac Mini, which I no longer use. The 2012 MBP was still usable, but new software (Dorico!) was slow on it (the VSTs / audio).

I dislike the fact that the new Macs (at least MBPs) are virtually non-upgradeable and not fixable by the user. When I bought into the eco-system, I could do my own harddrive and memory upgrades. Those days are gone. Now you have to buy a really expensive top-end machine up front.

In your position, I’d stay with what you know well (PC) and invest in really good PC equipment. I know I’m not parroting the Mac-clique points (some of which I think are valid, some of which are not), but there’s something to be said for living in one computer eco-system only.

Your mileage may vary…

I remember sending a completed Finale file to a client from my Windows computer, and when she opened the file on her Mac, all of the instances of the Century Schoolbook font had defaulted to Helvetica, even though she had the font installed.

It turns out her computer couldn’t read the font unless it was titled “CenturySchoolbook” with no space. No idea if the same issue would come up in Dorico (I’d imagine it would?), but regardless I’d imagine it would mostly work with the occasional hiccups.

When did this happen? It sounds like something that might have happened a long time ago, before cross-platform fonts were a thing. Or a specific Finale issue.

Dan, I’m sure Daniel will be able to confirm whether there are any expected font differences in rendering when working between platforms.

Apart from a few issues (bluetooth, static noise, slow Chrome… I won’t go into detail since that’s not your question), functionally for me the most difficult part was (and still is) adjusting from Windows Explorer to Apple’s Finder. Disclaimer: I’ve used windows explorer a few decades and I’m from the generation that likes organizing files…

Probably it’s a matter of time to get used to Finder, but personally I find Windows Explorer more user friendly, so that’s a step back for me (even after a year of working with Finder)

I use Microsoft’s (personal) Onedrive for syncing to the cloud files both from PC (and Android) and Mac and have no issues with that.
Also I have some of Microsoft’s office software (Excel, Onenote…) installed on my Mac and no issues with those apps neither (Apple has its own “Notes” app but I find it quite limited). My Excel and Onenote files are synced to Onedrive, I’m constantly editing the same office files both on PC and Mac. No real issues there, works quite smoothly.

I don’t have Dorico on my Windows computer so can’t give any comments on that part.

You’d be fine, then.

Dan, you could always buy a Mac and return in 14 days for a full refund to try it out. (Not much time, but I’m sure you are acquainted with approaching deadlines!)

You can buy a used older mac mini (i.e. from ebay) and fully try it out, inexpensively. Then if you dont like it, resell the mac mini again on ebay, and not be out much cash, or perhaps make all your cash back. Just note that the lowest tier mac mini will be a very low performance machine (low memory, slug hard drive) so don’t compare speediness of it, or, get a higher tier one. Dorico runs on a low tier machine (8 gb memory) fine.

You can get a mac and run an emulation software app to fully reproduce anything you want in the windows world, it is fundamentally running full windows with any windows apps desired, inside the emulation app, which also has drive shared between both systems, in case you ever have a specific compatibility problem or some quirky synchronization problem. This makes it essentially zero risk to switch.

Windows: frequent reboots needed, often audio driver problems, often printer driver problems, viruses, auto update annoyances or problems…
Mac: finder is very limited, there won’t be “right click” for anything, most everything is apple-format centric (i.e. AIFF format, icloud sync, etc) with less import/export ability to broader formats.

I’m keeping my desktop PC, this would be a laptop.

Just 2 years ago in February 2022, on Finale v27! It’s a minor issue and easily fixable, but still noteworthy. The same issue with mismatched font names came up in my word processing application as well.

In my experience, your planned setup should run fine. I have it the other way round (iMac combined with Surface pro).

  1. I came from Mac and am still struggling with Windows sometimes (just say settings…), so I can’t help you with that perspective. But if you have any mac specific questions, feel free to ask!
  2. Im using Dropbox as well as other cloud services, but Dropbox really does a good job in cross plattform syncing… I don’t remember when I had an issue the last time.
  3. I‘d say no, hotkeys make the biggest difference. The mentioned font problems might occur, but that’s actually a system problem, not a Dorico problem, I think. I‘m not working with text too much, but don‘t remember fonts as a problem in Dorico as soon as the fonts are installed on both systems. Should not be too difficult to test that, but I‘m optimistic you get that runnig properly.
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You might want to ask a fellow mac friend to render a pdf of a project of yours and compare the file with your pdf.
I think that’s the easiest way to find out if and how big of a problem this will be for you.

It might be, that you would just have to adjust your workflow, e.g. always create final outputs on your desktop.

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From my experience, especially for Chinese fonts, there are many font compatibility issues across Windows & Mac. Although I use both, I’ll check what OS my team mates or target users use when there is collaboration required. I think for English this might be less an issue though.

It’s not a big problem, you just need to check and sometimes adjust some details when receiving Dorico files came from another OS. But if you need to send files back and forth frequently between Windows and Mac, be aware that this might happen.

This happens not just on Dorico, but also in other applications as well.