Entering dynamics and articulations efficiently

I hope I’m missing something. In Finale I’m used to determining keypresses called metatools which make it very simple and quick to enter elements like dynamics, articulations, symbols and text expressions. Let’s say that I’ve set ‘3’ as a metatool for mf. All I need to do is hold down the ‘3’ and then click a note, and a mf is placed at that spot in the score. From what I’ve understood, in Dorico, I have basically two choices. Either I can select a note first and then move the cursor over to the mf in the appropriate palette and click it, and repeat this for every dynamic, or I can use the popover, meaning that I select the note, press Shift + D and then type mf. Both of these input methods take considerably more time and effort than Finale’s metatools. Dorico’s way of entering articulations is quicker and comes close to metatools, but it’s still slightly quicker to hold down a key and click on (or drag-select) all the notes where I want articulations than to have to select each note or group of notes, press the key, release it and then move on to the next instance. I’m trying to figure out how I can enter these elements as quickly and efficiently as possible in Dorico.

Dorico’s means of inputting articulations is not so dissimilar to Finale’s method: drag-select a bunch of notes, hit a single key to add the desired articulation. The only difference, if I understand correctly, is that you have to finish the selection in Dorico before you add the articulation.

Dynamics are a bit of a trickier case. We’ve tried to make it possible to enter things with a lot of flexibility, so we don’t have single-key shortcuts for the more common dynamics. The approach Finale uses isn’t really appropriate for our design. I’m loathe to suggest that you might want to set up some macros to do this, but that is certainly one possibility. I just tried setting up a quick macro in Keyboard Maestro to ‘Input text by typing’ and enter the string ‘Dmf’ followed by a Return, which in Dorico opens the popover, types “mf” and hits Return to confirm the creation of the dynamic, and it works fine.

I will certainly continue to think about whether we can come up with a better approach to allow a more direct means of setting shortcuts for specific entries in the various panels.

Thanks, Daniel. I’ll experiment with using KM to make macros for this, although I have to stay out of the way of Dorico’s keyboard shortcuts. Just curious, which keyboard shortcut did you use to trigger the mf? Would you happen to know if it’s possible to get KM to react to a keypress + a mouse click? If so, I could actually make a set of metatool-like macros which should speed up the process of entering dynamics considerably.

In general when setting macros I tend to use the Ctrl key as it is rarely used for shortcuts in any of the Mac applications I use, so in this case I used Ctrl+Shift+D, but that was just the first thing I thought of!

I’m not very expert with Keyboard Maestro – I mostly bought it just to check that it works at all with Dorico, which it does seem to in most places, at least – but I understand the developer is extremely responsive to customer support queries and requests, so I suggest you drop him a line. His name is Peter Lewis and his email is peter at stairways dot com dot au (lame attempt at preventing his email address from being crawled…).


This is actually quite easy to do:

3 & LButton::
send +d
Sleep, 100
send mf {Enter}

This is Windows, with AutoHotkey. Probably it is just as easy in any Mac macro program.

In Finale, I enter most information on the fly while inputting notes in Simple Entry, left hand on midi keyboard, right hand on numpad. To enter a mf I would press Numpad Enter and then “3”. This script for Dorico does just that, but you will have to hold down Numpad Enter and press 3, then release both:

NumpadEnter & Numpad3::send +dmf {Enter}

The difference of course is that you add the mf before the note entry, not after like in Finale. In the same way, I can set up articulation shortcuts with Numpad * and numbers etc. The good thing about using Enter and * (and more!) keys like modifier keys to the numbers is that I can do very many shortcuts and never having to leave the numpad.

Actually, I had decided to leave external macro programs out of the equation when starting with Dorico. But as I have a Swedish localization on my keyboard, I eventually decided that the best way for me is to keep all my localized shortcuts in a macro file and just keep the english shortcuts within Dorico. I think it gives me a better overview.

Hello LAE,

Thanks for this. It could be most useful. For serious work entering lots of dynamics and the less-common articulations, I was considering doing most of this in Finale (and importing via XML), as Finale’s metatools are so much faster and easier than any other method, but your method might tip the balance. I usually enter music in steps: first the notes, then the articulations and dynamics, etc. This way I can check what I’m doing at every step. Shouldn’t it be possible to use your method this way and not on the fly, i.e. by selecting a note and then invoking a simple keypress? And since I’m not a programmer, one more question: what is the function of the first line (code: select all) for the macro itself?

#1 Yes, you can do that as well. The macro just sends the keypresses shift d, mf, enter. But it is unfortunately not possible to select multiple notes and add a dynamic to all of them at the same time, Dorico does not allow it.
#2 Select all is just something that the forum software adds. It is a shortcut for selecting what is in the code block.

Btw, I occasionally work your way too, but I have found that I miss less markings if I enter as much as possible on the first read! A matter of personal taste and of the nature of the music entered I guess.

Actually what works quickly for me is to create the first dynamic. Shift-D. The type mf.

Now all I do is COPY the mf and PASTE it where I want it. Really quick.

Perhaps the best way would be for the Dorico guys to Copy/Pate ANY items like this. Select ANY item (Left Mouse Button) then Past whatever you selected by pressing both Left and Right Mouse button…or even Left + Key combo. This is even better than metatools.

Hi Hans, have you tried selecting a mf and Alt-clicking elsewhere?

Now, you see…Metatools is ready for the grave, just like Finale 25!

Sure, entering the dynamic with the popover and then alt-clicking it to where I want it is fine, and that is what I usually do when I am arranging or composing.

However, I think it is important to see that the workflows for different tasks in Dorico can be very different and have different demands. When I do copy work, I want to be able to read the source and do as much as possible on the fly. Then, I will go over the page again to do corrections and fill in what I did not in the first round. If you take a look at the animated GIF attached here you will see what I mean.

In it, I am using macros for creating the dynamics and the trill. Midi input. Using popovers or alt-click is simply not an option if I want to keep this kind of workflow.

Oh yes LAE, I absolutely with you, or shall I say (as a programmer myself) I am on the forefront for creating subroutines, plugins and macros to make one’s life easier for you. I was actually just saying (I’ll admit to it - I’ve hated Finale after about 3 updates - so Metatools meant nothing for me. TG Tools is a good addition, though). I have created quite a large text file for use in AutoHotKey (Greate Software (cannot believe it’s free!) which made my life easier using Sibelius. I think that is why the Dorico chaps included that macro menu item at the end of the menu strip.

You should notice I have been asking for a scripting language on many forums (even this one), BUT (This is important):

One should be able to access Dorico from outside the software. Place a process in the system’ background processes (or just in memory when Dorico is running). Certain features should be made available (like accessing the current bar, inputting items, adding features (dynamics, types of bar lines etc)). Then one could access the dll of API and create Dynamic Plugins and perhaps even title tools for Android. I still want to create an app for my Note 4 (even iPad or Windows Tablet) where I see ONLY ONE bar. The current one. Selecting with my stylus or finger on a note or rest or whatever, I can just click on that current bar on my cell phone and enter stuff. I should also be able to pinch with my fingers to zoom in our out the bar. Now sitting back on my lazy chair and having Dorico running on my Big Screen, I can enter stuff using my Cellphone!

I don’t know which language should be used, but Visual Basic (VB) has mobile software creation capability, LAE?, I know a little C++. But we should not want to alter Dorico as being created by Steinberg, but we should be able to enhance it’s capabilities by having access to it’s features through a “pipeline” from outside the software.

So a normal PlugIn is run from within Dorico…
A Dynamic PlugIn is run from outside Dorico…the two app must connect to each other through WiFi.

Now say it ULF…Dreaming, la,la,la,la…:slight_smile:


Sounds interesting Hans! I’m afraid I cannot say very much about what language would be appropriate - my experience of programming is very small (making games in basic on the Vic-20 a hundred years ago).

I am sure that the macro/scripting menu of Dorico will be more populated in due time. Maybe Dorico will not be so reliant on plug-ins as the competition but who knows. It would certainly be a plus with a robust and flexible framework for the ones who would want to contribute.

Sorry Hans, but copying and pasting from already entered dynamics is no substitute for metatools, with which you set a simple keypress plus mouse click to enter any dynamic, text object, symbol or anything else you choose. I suspect that one of the reasons you hated Finale is because you never learned to use it efficiently.

My brother, you are guessing wrong! I’ve been with Finale from its conception until 2011. I was a power user although I must atmit I have forgotten much of it. At first, I LOVED it (became a fanboy), but after paying for upgrades (updates) every year and hardly anything has improved, I ditched the B…ch! I just download the latest version every year to scope the “improvements”

I’ve always understood Sibelius was built for kids. Well, I downloaded the 6th Version AND LOVED IT. (PLEASE DON’T GET ME STARTED AND PROVIDE A LOOOONG LIST OF PROBLEMS IN FINALE). Sibelius was NOT that difficult to learn and a darn fermata was NOT placed ON TOP of a staccato. Adding new staves does not expand BEYOND the page borders. (Still a problem in Finale). So I purchased Sibelius 7 - WHICH MADE USE OF THE RIBBON!!! NICE!! Finale STILL looks the SAME. Don’t those boys have any interesting GUI design ideas? So I became a power user in Sibelius. Then I had to pay $89 for updates, so there goes Sibelius regarding upgrades.

Fortunately, Dorico came on the market and BOY - am I having difficulty learning THAT Software. I purchased it and will patiently learn Dorico as it matures as THIS is going to be the BIIIIIIIIIIIG boy on the block…NOT a power user yet. I feel like a grade one student learning it. :slight_smile:

So, you are speaking to someone who has worked with almost EVERY worthy Notator on the Market, Check my signature block. BTW, Finale 25 still does not impress…sorry!

Blessings to you

Daniel, I too would appreciate being able to enter dynamics in Dorico with same ease as one can enter the articulations, that is, one keystroke. Because I work on a computer that is owned by the university I work for, I do not have administrator privileges, and thus cannot install a macro program. Thank you for trying to find a way to implement this in the future.