Flownumber besides flow start

Hi Dorico community,
I like to write exercise bundles for my students, that means several (short) flows in one file. Order might not always be the same for each student, so I’d like to be able to change the order at a later point. I imagine a design with just the (flow)number in the beginning of each flow, like in this book:

Is there any way to achieve this with a {@flowNumber@} token? I tried a flow heading, but it always persists above the staff since it does not allow negative margins. A system text should work as well and gets the position right (in Engrave mode) - that would supersede flow headings but does not allow text tokens.
(Why are text tokens not allowed in staff system objects, by the way, is there any technical reason?)

Any better idea than entering each number manually as a system text for each exercise and reenter everything if I change their order?
Thanks for your help!

Hi @Waldbaer, I came with a possible solution.
I send you the Dorico file. If each exercise is for example one line (can be also 2 or more…). I made each player as one exercise. Then in engrave i made for each line a text frame with the numbers: this will stay fix. To change the exercise assigned to each number just swap the position of the flows in setup. I made the stave/instrument/player names invisible (none)… It is more difficult to explain, so you find a short video below… I attach also the Dorico file. Hope this can help. If you have questions, please ask and I will be glad to explain more.
exercize number unchanged-swap flaws to change order.dorico (852.8 KB)

I made a short video to explain how it can work…
on Dropbox:
fixed exercize number-swap flaws
or Google Drive:

I made a version with 2 lines per exercise, with better alignment and formatting of the text, indent the first staff, no bar numbers, and adjusting the flow header margins in layout options (no text of flow header visible because there are wanted overrides on the page, but the margins are active anyway :slight_smile: )
Here version 2 :slight_smile: :
fixed exercize number-swap flaws-2lines.dorico (877.6 KB)

Hi Christian, thanks for taking so much time to help with my problem! :smiley:
Your solution contains some interesting ideas. Its flexibility is limited though, since you still have to add each text frame in the beginning (not possible to copy text frames, is it?) and you’ll have to adjust their positions if the exercises aren’t exactly of the same length and delete the bottom ones if you decide to deactivate a flow.

I assume the problem with tokens in staff text is that token text might require spacing adjustments which in itself might change the result of the token (e.g. a page number token might effectively take space to change the system to another page than it was before the automatic spacing).
A great solution would be a possibility to add frames (text/music/image) attached to a staff/music position. Since these frames are fixed in size, it should (hopefully?) not be too difficult to include them in spacing calculations (and please include the tickbox to deactivate automatic collision avoidance!), but it opens up many possibilities for comments or text/music combinations and will even be an easy fix for many special notation problems (import an image frame at a specific place in the music and you can show anything you want - if it does not repeat too often, this will be much simpler and more intuitive than e.g. configuring a custom music symbol). Just thinking…

Hi @Waldbaer, you are very welcome. Yes there are some limitations/corrections to do… but, just as a Dorico Exercise I just made a version 3 of my concept. Im am curious about your thoughts about it.
Version 3:
fixed exercize number-swap flaws-2lines-no overrides-new template set.dorico (905.2 KB)

You can save it as a template, so you don’t need every time to add the numbered text frames, just edit the flows as desired. To hide one of the flows (from the end), just un-tick the flow from the full score layout in setup and remove the corresponding number in engrave mode.
I made it also as a 2 page spread, beginning with page 2. And added other 4 music frames and numbers for a total of 8 exercises… (not sure how to make page 4 and 5 with numbers from 9 to 16… :smiling_face:). This version 3 doesn’t contain overrides. I made the music frame in a new default page template set. Also I locked the layout in engrave, so the structure should not move much (always possible to change this).
If the music is a little longer in one frame you can just make the corresponding music frame a little bigger on the lower end. And if you need to move the music frame together with the corresponding number text frame, you can select both and use alt and arrow keys. (to deselect any select little square click TAB).

I also tried with no success to use tokens, but unfortunately not in every place where you can add text, you can use tokens…
I admit that my brain is smoking a little now (late night here :smile:) and I don’t have a clear answer to your other suggestions. Maybe with a fresh mind in the next days.

It is a good training for me to test and experiment with such things, to discover the many possibilities that engrave mode and setup mode offer, and maybe one or the other can take advantage of some aspects of this examples.

Time for a beer :slight_smile:

Ok, I couldn’t resist. I optimized the concept with a version 4:

fixed exercize number-swap flaws-2lines-no overrides-new template set.dorico (908.2 KB)

the music frames are unlinked and sequential (but all begin with the letter M, so the are part of the master page, oppsss page template, so you can always come back to them). Instead of swapping the flows in setup you just decide witch flow will appear in every frame. You make this editing (double click) the default page template in engrave mode and choosing witch flow in every frame Dorico should show. (You can have 1000 flows with exercises and pick the ones that you need to assign to the 8 numbered frames).

If an exercise exceeds the space of the assigned frame you can just modify its music frame and number position directly in engrave mode (without entering the page template editor). So you create an override, but you can always go back to the template deleting the overrides if you assign a shorter exercise to that frame. Hope I expressed it in an understandable way… :slight_smile:

I’ve just used Rehearsal Marks for this before. Set the the Engraving Options so they are automatically positioned correctly, then manually change the Index in Properties. You’ll have to change the Index # if you reorder, but all the positioning will remain correct.


Wow @FredGUnn , this works great! Another perspective but very comfortable. (I learn every day new possibilitie in Dorico!) Thank you for sharing.

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I made a similar request almost four years ago: https://forums.steinberg.net/t/inline-indented-flow-headings/ —I guess they’re still working on it.
The rehearsal mark trick is very neat though!


Sorry for getting silent for so long. Thank you for all your helpful replies! :smiley:

I did another kind of workaround using Flow headers:

  1. Build a flow header of width and font design as you wish using {@fontnumber@}, but keep an eye on the height, because it will be used in spacing on the page. Recommended: vertical alignment bottom, for numbers right-align the text.
  2. Rearrange/activate/select your flows as you wish
  3. To get your numbers beside the staff, go to engrave mode and select their frames (to select several of them, use cmd/ctrl and make sure to not click where the handles are). Set the frame height until the numbers match the system

Every workaround has its caveats: This generates the numbers automatically, but you might have to adjust the design. If you don’t change the order too often and the right-aligning isn’t important, FredGunn’s solution might be a little easier… decide for yourself. :slightly_smiling_face:

+1 to be able to count rehearsal marks through flows - that would solve the problem, at least for numbers. @hrnbouma: Your thread is very interesting to read as it shows some other interesting design options!