Enharmonic toggle key?

After switching from Finale to Dorico two years ago, I really felt disentangled and freed. Yet there are a few features that I miss and think are handled better in Finale than in Dorico.

One of them is a toggle key to switch between enharmonic variants (sharps and flats) back and forth. This is an everyday task for composers and often a tricky issue, so comparing two variants with a straightforward method is of great help. Rare signs such as double sharps or flats are created in Finale using the +/– keys, which is perfectly adequate.

I am aware that asking for such a function would be a fundamental change to the general concept. But I wonder if I am the only one longing for this feature.

There is a pair of easy keyboard shortcuts you may find helpful:


I believe the default key command is Alt/Option-1 or -2.
1 gives you the enharmonic diatonically below and 2 gives you the one diatonically above.


Yes, I know, but the point would be to leave the finger on the same key :wink:

Without doubt Dorico respelling algorithm is very sophisticated (and I admit that I didn’t yet grasped/learned 100% all its detailed possibilities), but giving for example that the command respell using note name above/below takes a couple of milliseconds to think what to do… :
if I would be good at scripting (what I am absolutely not), I would like to create a circular toggle command or a macro (on one key/shortcut) that respells the notes giving as result only natural or single sharps or flats (and, when double or triple sharps or flats are desired as result, I would use the current mentioned respell commands). This script or macro would use a permutation table as the example below (probably I forgot some combinations…) and would have the advantage of being only one key.
Maybe it is a crazy idea and completely unnecessary, but why not…? (any ideas/comments/insults :smile: ? ) :

enharmonic permutations for hypothetical script.dorico (768.3 KB)


Wow, this sounds like utopia. Great idea. But it would still be necessary to define a key for manually raising or lowering tones.

If I try to toggle an F double sharp in Finale:

I can never get back to the double sharp. It just toggles between G natural and A flat. Likewise, in D flat major, an F double flat toggles between E flat and D sharp!!
I wouldn’t call that better.

Less common, perhaps, but thriving in the wild, and essential in remote keys and transposing instruments.

Dorico’s system is as fast as it can be while allowing flexibility for more complex notation, and other tonality systems.

It is evident that rare occurrences of accidentals have to be governed by means other than toggles. I was speaking about a composer’s “everyday life”!

You will find double accidentals littered in the music of Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Britten, Barber, Boulanger, Butterworth, Basie … and that’s just the Bs!

The idea that they are rare is unfounded, I would suggest.


Triple sharps and flats, however… (petting my pet peeve)


In contemporary music double accidentals are almost non existent! And even in traditional contexts they are relatively rare. Of course they must be covered by a notation program! But we can surely live with a method generating them with 2 keys e.g. instead of 1. In Finale this works perfectly!

It took me a while to get used to how Dorico deals with this, but I found that reassigning the shortcuts to a single keystroke for each (instead of using modifiers) makes the process just efficient enough. I use “1” and “2” for this purpose.

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Yeah, we don’t really use 128th and 64th notes that much these days :joy:

True! But actually I use the numbers on the number pad for durations, which leaves those above the letters for other functions.

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I have Respell Up/Down mapped to Alt plus numpad + and -. My hand is usually on the numpad for input anyway, so that way I don’t have to move it.

I do think there could be a “simple respell” single command that would work in 95+% of the use cases though. On a note with a sharp, flip it to flat, flats flip to sharps, E# and B# flip to F and C, Fb and Cb flip to E and B, double flats and sharps flip to naturals, E## and B## flip to F# and C#, Fbb and Cbb flip to Eb and Bb. A single command to do that would be what the user wants the overwhelming majority of the time. The other times they could use the current commands.