FR: Grid view

I’m starting to work on a new hymnal for a large publisher, which is very exciting. Their design team is great to work with, but they are very… detailed.

One particular aspect they are insistent on is that the hymnal follow as closely as possible consistent line breaking on the page (a la Robert Bringhurst). That is, the elements on the page need to align to a consistent grid vertically, based upon the line leading.

I am familiar with this concept from InDesign, but I admit I’ve never applied it in music layout. However, I now find myself committed to a large project which has this requirement.

I’m posting this as a feature request: the ability to set a non-printing grid value and turn it off and on as needed.

In the meantime, I’m wondering what options are available to me. I’m on Windows. Is there any sort of program which would run in the background, “always on top,” that could show me a consistent, transparent grid for the sake of reference?

Otherwise all I would know to do is import it into a indesign, view it on the grid there, and make changes to the file as best I can. That prospect is a bit daunting to me. Thanks in advance.

1 Like

Have you considered a Graphics Frame containing such a grid, sub-imposed with your page layout?

Hmm, interesting. I guess no way to toggle them away (other than deleting them).

If the publisher sent you a sample sheet illustrating what this grid applied to music should look like, I would love to see an image of it.

1 Like

I don’t have an example to show here, but you can find this described in detail in Robert Bringhurst’s The Elements of Typographical Style. Basically if the line leading is 12pt, all elements align to that 12-pt grid.

1 Like

Do you mean that, say, the vertical position of each staff must always snap to the grid? As well as lyric baselines, dynamics? Tempi markings, etc?

That sounds like a massive millstone for no actual benefit. Has the publisher produced music to this rule before?

If it’s just the text blocks, then that’s easy enough in ID, as you say.

1 Like

Yes, I agree it quickly becomes impractical. They’re very open to learn and adapt regarding this convention, but I’ve been asked to explore what’s possible in regards to vertical proportionality. So, it’s a starting point.

You could have one Master Page with the grid and one without, and apply them to pages as needed. Provided that you don’t have Master Page Overrides (doubtful, in your line of work, I would assume), it should in effect be a (very awkward) toggle.

So it is a vertical grid?

Horizontal lines.

Personally I’d try and use a 3rd party program (I have 2-3 line / grid programs for mac, but am not sure of window’s equivalents) that you can turn on and off at will. You’d just have to be careful to use a consistent zoom level whenever you check against the grid.

This sounds really rather odd… You’ll get consistent line leading with lyrics, and that’s the important part anyway, and you can set your lyric offsets to match the line leading, so trying to impose another grid value for everything else does seem onerous. Hopefully they will relent. You’ve proved yourself time and again, and your engravings are quite gorgeous, so it’s surprising to me that they’d want to try and mess with all of that at this global of a scale. Just seems like an insistent request from someone who doesn’t actually understand how music engraving is done.

The difference between a B and A in the Alto part could shift the lyrics down another 12pt step. That doesn’t seem like a good idea at all.

1 Like

All fair points, but I’m still looking for a grid solution for Windows, if anyone has a suggestion.

The poor man’s method might be to set a percent size on Dorico, so you get a consistent page size on screen. Then make a plastic overlay with lines that is taped to the top of your monitor. I’m not saying this is a great suggestion!

Temporarily toggling them away could be as easy as setting the x offset of the frame to a number that puts it just outside your music frame

Could this help?

I assume you need to set up a reference point on the page and a fixed magnification, but once done, it might be of use.


Thank you! As it turns out, this is a great solution for now. Much appreciated.


Hi @DanKreider,
A very reasonable feature request! :slight_smile:
I would like to see the paper grid feature included in Dorico, too.
Of course it should come together with the ruler tool.

Just like in Affinity Publisher, and any other publishing, design and office package.

I hope the team would think about adding those features soon! :slight_smile:

Best wishes,
Thurisaz :slight_smile: