Dvorak keyboards

I am extremely excited about Dorico and can’t wait to buy my crossgrade when the time comes. I have a question regarding Dorico’s support for alternate keyboard layouts. I type in Dvorak but use the very handy “Dvorak-QWERTY” layout (which functions as Dvorak but reverts to QWERTY when the modifier key is pressed) in order to retain traditional keyboard shortcuts. Sibelius and Microsoft Word do not play nicely with this layout: Word only sometimes recognizes the modifier key, and Sibelius doesn’t quite recognize all the layout and won’t allow me to change layouts on the fly via the menu bar (a reboot of the program is required for a change to the QWERTY layout to take full effect). I could get around this by remapping the shortcuts in the program options, but if the program just interpreted correctly what the OS fed it with respect to keyboard input, this wouldn’t be necessary. Will Dorico be able to work smoothly with an alternate keyboard layout such as Dvorak-QWERTY?

The short answer is that I don’t know, I’m afraid. I assume the keyboard itself has a special modifier key that triggers this change in mode, or is that handled in software?

I’m sorry, I think I wasn’t as clear as I should have been. I use the standard Apple keyboard that comes with new Macs (that you referenced in the SoundNotion interview). In the system preferences I have enabled both the US QWERTY and Dvorak-QWERTY input sources, and I can switch freely between them at any time via the right side of the menu bar. So the mode change when I hit the command key in Dvorak-QWERTY takes place in the software.

To be very specific, my experience using these input methods in Sibelius is as follows: Sibelius recognizes QWERTY just fine (obviously) when it is selected as the input source prior to Sibelius startup. If I select DQ prior to launching Sibelius, it will type text correctly, but not note names, and keyboard shortcuts involving the modifier keys don’t behave as they should: sometimes they act as if the modifier hasn’t switched things back to QWERTY (i.e., command-S often gets interpreted as command-O), and sometimes they just don’t respond at all. Things go really bonkers when I try to switch input sources from DQ to QWERTY while Sibelius is running: text will type correctly but note names still won’t! I basically try to remember to switch input modes to QWERTY prior to launching the program, and this becomes ridiculous when whatever I’m working on requires lyrics, etc.

Obviously I’m not looking for a Sibelius solution, but rather an insight into whether Dorico interprets keyboard input via the input source selected by the operating system or whether it bypasses the input source, as it appears Sibelius (and MS Word, for that matter) is bypassing it at least some of the time.

(Elephant in the room: of course I could just type in QWERTY, and sometimes I do, but Dvorak is just so much more comfortable! That and the DQ solution really should just work everywhere. Many thanks for your indulgence on this admittedly extreme fringe-minority issue!)

Dorico uses the same underlying framework as Sibelius - Qt, so I would expect Dorico to have the same behaviour. This may be a Qt bug that it doesn’t respond to keyboard layout changes or an OSX bug if it isn’t remapping the keystrokes correctly for the application. I suspect the latter is more likely since you say that Word is affected too, and that won’t be using Qt.

I’m willing to try to have a look to see whether or not Dorico is well-behaved with the Dvorak Qwerty input source, but I’m finding it pretty baffling. According to this Apple support document:


you should be able to switch back to regular QWERTY by holding down the Command key, but this doesn’t seem to work for me even in TextEdit: whether I hold the Command key and hit e.g. the “n” key on my keyboard (which should produce “b” in Dvorak by the looks of things) or whether I tap the Command key and hit “n”, I don’t get anything different.

Dorico certainly seems to respect the Dvorak layout for its single-key shortcuts, e.g. for note names. It also appears to work correctly for the Shift+letter shortcuts. But I’m afraid I can’t make head or tail of what it does when the Command key is held down, so I don’t know about things like Command-S for Save.

It does appear that Dorico does not respond to a change of input source from e.g. Dvorak QWERTY back to British while it is running, which is something we’ll look into.

Looking into the issue of not responding to changes in input source correctly, it appears this is a bug in Qt that should hopefully be fixed in Qt 5.7. (We are currently building Dorico against Qt 5.5.1, but plan to keep up-to-date with Qt as far as possible until it becomes too risky to keep updating the framework without being sure the framework itself doesn’t introduce any new bugs.) See for example:


Once Qt 5.7 is available and we are building against it, I will try to remember to check this again.

Thanks for taking a look at this—I just tried TextEdit in Dvorak-QWERTY and hitting my physical “n” key by itself gives a “b” (as in Dvorak), but holding Command and hitting my physical “n” key gives me a new document (i.e., the “n” key is mapped to “n” as in QWERTY instead of to “b” as in Dvorak while Command is down). The upside is that Command-X, Command-C, Command-V, Command-Q, Command-N, Command-O and other such shortcuts are in the same places as they always were, but I can still type with all the vowels on the home row. :wink:

A brief update to this topic, just in case there’s one other person in the universe that types in Dvorak or Dvorak-QWERTY and has experienced issues with Sibelius, Microsoft Office, LibreOffice, et al.: Dorico responds correctly to Dovrak, Dvorak-QWERTY, and (of course) QWERTY keyboards, exactly as one would expect any application to respond to them. I can switch keyboard layouts on the fly (from QWERTY to Dvorak for typing in lyrics, and then back again) without any abnormal consequences, and I can boot Dorico in (for example) Dvorak-QWERTY and switch to QWERTY for note input whenever I please (Sibelius won’t recognize a keyboard layout switch properly while it’s running). This is an ideal setup, and naturally it makes me very happy that it all “just works!”