[Feature Request] Fit to x number of pages


I’m a big fan of Dorico, although very much still a beginner using it. I have explored much of the layout options and love how Dorico does everything automatically. Since it knows better than me how many bars should fit in a system and how many systems can fit on a page, would it be possible to make Dorico automatically adjust the necessary settings (e.g. inter-system gap, note spacing etc.) to make music fit on a certain number of pages. For example, maybe I don’t care too much if the music is a bit cramped but I need it on 2 pages at max. It would be great to have a one-click option with suggestions from Dorico on how to best achieve it, keeping a balance between note spacing, system spacing and all the other amazing settings Dorico offers.

I know that if I get really good at all the layout options this would not be necessary as I could just do it myself. But it might still be a great feature for all the beginners and intermediates.


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Hi Adam.
This kind of request has already been made a certain number of times and I perfectly understand why. The answer is that Dorico cannot go much further what it does now because it would involve a loopbin the calculations. LaTeX does what you describe, but it doesn’t render on the fly as Dorico does. You have to tell it to typeset what has been programmed. As Dorico does it in real time, the calculations are simpler and do not involve a number of protruding objects (that you could move manually to make space), in other words, it helps you but also needs your help.

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Makes sense! Thank you so much for takig the time to clarify this :slight_smile:

IMO, I don’t think this should be considered an unsolvable problem. For centuries, traditional engravers were able to lay out beautiful pages of printed music by hand. Even in huge scores or complicated parts, they were able to project the right amount of music on any sequence of pages, fill pages evenly, and in the meantime keep track of good page turns as well. And they did it simply by counting bars, guessing widths, maybe a little sketching etc. It was a craft, it wasn’t magic.
My point is: if an artisan, a human being, could do this in a reasonable timespan, without the help of any calculating machinery, then the conclusion must inevitably be that there has to be a working and finite set of rules, an algorithm. No doubt it will involve some recursion, but I really don’t believe it when developers say it results in endless loops and therefore it’s too complicated to solve. It never was. But I admit that teaching a computer this venerable craft is quite a challenge.
On topic: fitting a defined chunk of music evenly onto a a few consecutive (like L+R) pages would be a very welcome enhancement.


I think the difference is rather different. The engraver knew what was necessary, and could do the art of engraving because they had the music hand written in front of them.

I believe the issue with Dorico, is you say I want 10 pages… And right now I have 2 players. And since I am still writing the music, I don’t know how many bars, and I don’t know how rhythmically complex some bars will be versus others. I think Dorico will find itself in a loop trying to make the request happen, as there are many unknowns.

I think perhaps a work around, would be to have a feature to tell Dorico “Right now, at this point in time, force this music into X pages.” Recognizing that any change to the music after that will recalculate and NOT follow what you told Dorico to do.

I know this would be very handy, especially as you are DONE adding all the notes, and the piece is ready to print/publish. To have Dorico then force the number of pages, since no more change would occur, I would think would be a lot easier to manage.


I don’t buy the idea that the problem is unsolvable… Because for starters, this is typically something that is done at the very end when you are finalizing your layout (ie- should be a final step like turning on condensing), and secondly, you can set a sign post for a frame break and tell it to ‘wait until the next frame break’ and everything you add from there on out will somehow be forced onto that page. Granted, the result might not be pretty if you force too much onto the page, but dorico can figure it out. To be clear: I am not claiming to have any knowledge or presumptions about how this should be done, nor will I dare claim that it would be “easy“ for the team to figure out… But it also does not seem impossible to to me that an algorithm can be devised to, effectively, play around with casting off options, and perhaps note spacing options .

I would say that it’s pretty easy to try out Note Spacing and Staff Size values, and press “Apply” and see how it looks, without leaving the Layout Options dialog.

Also, think how many people already come here with a big black mess because they’ve unwittingly told Dorico to fit all the music to one System or Frame. … :grinning: