Force duration always on

Is there a way to have “force duration” always on?


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I don’t think you can enable it permanently, but you can switch it on when you start inputting notes. But to be honest, I’d recommend not to. In most cases, Dorico is quite smart at notating rhythms according to best practices, and besides that, Dorico has a lot of notation options to suit many users’ needs. I use force duration only exceptionally.

If you click it on, doesn’t it always stay on? What about any unwanted side effects?

Seems a little like having a 4 speed transmission in your car and never going above 3rd for all of your driving.

When I enter a quarter, I want a quarter. When I enter a dotted quarter, I want a dotted quarter. When I enter a quarter tied to an eighth, I want a quarter tied to an eighth. I’m not interested in the software reinterpreting this based on a series of rules (which aren’t really “rules” since they can all be changed in setup). I’ve been working with this software for a few years now, and I waste too much time fiddling in setup to get the rhythms notated as I want them. Invariably a change to accomodate one area of music, screws up another. It’s frustrating. For me, it’s more like driving a balky automatic transmission.

Force duration does stay on until you leave note entry.


When I first switched from Finale I wished for this too. I know the rules, know what I’m doing, why won’t Dorico do exactly what I want without having to switch this on? But … after sticking with it a while, I find I’m now much faster inputting using Dorico’s method. I can quickly enter a tied note crossing a barline or across a middle of a bar with one click rather than having to enter multiple notes and ties. Of course there’s a bit of a learning curve as you need to anticipate how Dorico will notate it, and think in terms of note duration rather than the actual notated notes, but I find Dorico’s way is much faster if you give yourself some time to adjust to it. I now only rarely ever find myself using it and it’s usually for exceptional situations or situations where a client is “wrong” but I’ve given up arguing the matter. :laughing:

I will second this idea… and will make a suggestion for Dorico in the future.

Whenever Dorico allows for “house styles” to be saved, have an option, for 'Force Duration Always On". Or create an option in the preferences to allow for this, if “house styles” will not be arriving any time soon.

For me, 90% of the time Dorico’s defaults are beyond perfect, and I agree with Fred that I think now more in terms of note duration rather than quarter tied to a quarter in the next bar… However, I do a lot of work on educational materials. No one in the right mind would put a half rest on beat 2 of a measure in 4/4 time… except for an educator I know. He does it to help reinforce the idea of half rests and getting students to think about the rest, what it looks like, and what it means very early on in the learning process. Infrequent issues like this exists enough that it would very nice to be able to have a function like this (possibly project specific and/or default setting).


I’ve been using the software on and off since it’s first release, and exclusively for the last six months. I’ve reached the limit of my willingness to adapt. The software is supposed to serve me, not the other way around. And again, I don’t buy the correct/incorrect argument. If there was a “correct” way, the preferences panel wouldn’t be full of options for this.

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This has been requested before and comes up from time to time. Everyone is different of course, but for me, when composing I am always adjusting the lengths of notes, changing time signatures for different bars, etc. If I had Force Duration turned on, my scores would be a horrible mess. So I’m with FredGUnn here, I do think it’s best to use the tool how it is designed to be used.

It’s not that Dorico knows the “correct” way, it’s that very often one’s preferences for note grouping are going to be consistent within projects. So I’ve gotten used to doing it this way after two decades in Finale and Sibelius. Since Force Duration stays on once you activate it, for me that works pretty well. And it looks like you can Select All and then turn on Force Duration, for existing scores.

Insert stays on until manually shut off, even when leaving the input caret. That seems way more dangerous than Force Duration. I almost never use Insert because the potential for catastrophe is just too great when music is modified off screen and I don’t catch it until much later. I certainly don’t see any harm in letting Force Duration work the same way. If activated, leaving it on until manually turned off instead of turning it off whenever the user leaves the input caret seems like a pretty reasonable request.

I’m way too scared of insert to use it :slight_smile:

dorico note grouping.jpg
Okay, so this is what i’m talking about. Bar 1 is what I want. Bar 2 is what dorico makes. I just clicked through every option in the note grouping panel and cannot get something that looks like bar 1.

From factory Notation Options, set the first setting in Rhythm Dots to 0, then in Syncopation, set “Notation of short-dotted long patterns” to “Split at beat boundaries”.

No, I can’t explain why the first of those settings doesn’t affect the last note in your example.

Thanks. But IMO, that’s just insane.

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dorico note grouping 2.jpg
And that doesn’t work if, in the next bar I want two eighths and a dotted half.

1+ for this request. Actually I like a way Dorico arranges everything automatically and it is a huge time saver. Anyway, there are some specific projects, especially contemporary music pieces, where all the rules are less “classical”. For example a long note over few bars with a lot of different dynamics on it where the composer wants to write very precisely where all the signs have to be played. So it would be nice to have this kind of always on option…Just for such cases…

I would also like to have the ability to force durations for an entire project. (I’ll feel like a complete idiot if this feature has already been implemented in 4.0, and I have yet to find it.) For most users, this boils down to their primary use of Dorico: copying or creating. If composing/arranging, allowing Dorico to automate durations within the user’s engraving specifications is most efficient. If trying to make a clean, “urtext-esque” copy of a manuscript or score, forcing the durations on input is essential. Some items can be anticipated with engraving options, but not always. In that case having the option to ‘force durations’ for an entire project would be big time-saver. For me, it’s a minor inconvenience outweighed by a plethora of more critical conveniences, but I would still appreciate the luxury.