For new users

I’m noticing a trend in the questions on the Dorico Facebook page.
Lots of new users making manual adjustments to notes and bars BEFORE they are finished with their score.

I think it’s important to stress that you should let Dorico do its own thing, until the very last second.

Speaking just for myself, as a convert from Finale to Dorico, I was using far too many adjustments in Dorico… bad habit I picked up in Finale, where you HAVE to make manual adjustments to spacing or else your score is absolutely impossible to read, even during the early phases of your work (whether it be transcription or actual composition).

I made lots of this type of adjustment on my first score in Dorico, and ended up having to delete them almost completely from the final version to let Dorico do what it does so well: space things almost perfectly.

So new users, just trust Dorico until the last second. It WILL space things properly if you don’t start fiddling with settings that shouldn’t be touched, or should be kept for the very end.


Yes, well said, Michel. “If in doubt: do less!” :grinning:

First, get the all notes in. Then use the Layout, Engraving and Notation Options to globally get things as you want. Then start tinkering if needs be.

Dorico’s consistent adherence to its options – of which there are literally thousands – is sometimes seen as an obstacle. But those options are there for you to set as you want. Doing it once as a global rule is always better than manually changing each instance in every document.


This is the whole reason for having the separate major modes in Dorico, to encourage more of a workflow frame of mind: concentrate on the content (Write mode), then concentrate on the layout (Engrave mode), and then prepare to print. Play Mode is a slightly different beast, as many users rely on playback while they’re writing. In general though I think it’s a clearer workflow to save the detailed CC tweaking until after the musical content has stabilised. Now of course, you have some Play Mode features available in Write mode which reduces the amount of mode switching.

Just as a friend was about to start writing up her PhD thesis I offered the advice: just write the words and don’t touch the page formatting until you’ve finished (been there; done that). It’s so easy to get distracted and micro-manage the layout which will inevitably change as you revise the content.

That’s why it’s wise to use LaTeX for this kind of job! Leave the formatting to that wonderful program – at least, everything is consistent.
This is also what attracted me so much to Dorico in early autumn 2016.

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I wrote mine in LaTeX, but that wasn’t enough to stop me from obsessing about ‘overfull /hboxes’ when I should have been writing :slight_smile: