FR: Panels, style sheets and live updates


Probably a big ask if you’re not already thinking about it (and am feeling increasingly arrogant asking for features like this - please do my bidding, developers!)

  • It would be great if there were more Engraving panels, probably on the right hand side, specifically for Paragraph/Character Styles and some Layout Options. For paragraph styles it would be especially helpful if it worked a bit like Indesign, with the text updating automatically without hitting “apply”, and a preview of the font in the drop down menu.

  • If not that, then a “live preview” checkbox that allows you to see the changes as you make them in the Layout Properties, Paragraph Styles panel or similar (and to turn off the feature if it takes up too much juice).

  • it would be an amazing feature if you could apply “Style sheets” to flows in the same way as you can with text (e.g. paragraph, charater styles). So that you could determine not just music font independently but stave size, notehead size, display properties, transposition, all sorts independently of the global Layout Options.

-Maybe not a feature request, but I am struggling a bit with flow headings being tied to flows and not being able to meaningfully measure the space between the flow heading and the stave. In the below example I’ve pushed flow heading number 2 up to give it some more space around it, then tried to move number 1 up to follow suite, but am limited by the flow frame. I want to move the stave (“cheese on beans etc.”) down to compensate, but it’s presumably a flow margin that I need to tweak, which is a global property, or just a manual stave height change, which means I have to adjust everything else manually too, which is sub-optimal. What I want to do is just drag the title up. I realise I can “hack” it by just creating another text box, but what I would like is a more useful way of achieving it with what’s there. Is there a way of seeing the flow margins for e.g. that I’m missing?

You can control the title margins in Layout Options-> Flows-> Flow heading top/bottom margins

To move a flow heading at the top of a music frame up, move the top edge of the music frame up first (either on the page as an override or in the master page), then you can either change the flow heading bottom margin globally for the layout, locally on that page, or manually move that staff/system down.

Or, in situations where you want much more flexible control, don’t use automatic flow headings and instead use separate text frames with flow title tokens manually?

That works lovely thank you. I guess what i would like is some indication of the margins - a faint line for e.g., and a way of lining them up visually with the flow margins.

While I’m there - it would be handy to be able to line up the baseline of text for e.g:

This looks…ok, but if I only had a line indicating the baseline of the text:

whoops missed. Some sort of visual align features would be very handy, and another way of moving frames around other than just dragging. Perhaps we could rotate and scale as well?

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Ok, this is frustrating, perhaps you have the answer? - What I want to do is to move the staves closer together.

I can’t find an option for “flow margin” or similar, the only option I can find is flow header margin and music frame margin (which refers to the whole frame right?). Flow header margin top should do the trick. Nope:

In fact, it looks to me like the top margin pushes the bottom margin down, and the flow all too easily intersects with the heading. If I could see the margins I would probably understand this, but at the moment I am baffled as to how this works.

I know I could just move the staves and the headers by eye (and in case of the staves by typing in values) but I’m trying to make them align in a consistent way and surely there’s an option to help me with that?

What are you vertical justification settings doing? They’re in Vertical Spacing, further down the dialog.

My suspicion is that you’ve left them at the default 60% and 80%, meaning that - given the page is more than 60% full - Dorico’s stretching the music to fill the page.

Yes that was my assumption and it is true, however what I don’t understand is that when I change the height of the music frame the bottom stave (in pa pa pa) drops onto the next page, when there is plenty of space above it…

If you’ve got any existing staff spacing or local page overrides on that page, remove them before changing these values - otherwise the results are likely to be less reliable/predictable.

Dorico will push/pull staves across page boundaries depending on the calculated available space - increasing the margins above/below flow headings increases the amount of “bagsied” space, decreasing the amount available for staves.

When you increase the top margin you reduce the overall space on the page. Presumably the combination of flow headings height, the defined gap underneath it and the defined ideal inter-system gap mean that the available space is deemed overly full, so a system is pushed onto the next page.

Yes I got that - I can’t tell by how much though when just looking at it, and changing any of these values to 0 seems to do nothing to help…

Can you share the project, either here or in a DM to me? With a description of what you’d like to end up with. That will probably allow for an easier route to a better solution.

Choral Warmups (672.3 KB)

Here it is for prosperity. I’ve managed to wrestle it into a little more inteligibility - removing the page overrides and turning the vertical justification up to 100/100% at least made it start to behave like I would expect

There is still a massive gap under “pa pa pa” (and any vertical adjustment to the frame or further adjustment of margin pushes it onto the next page)- is this dorico perceiving a continued lyric line maybe?

I just want the staves closer together really, and ideally a bigger gap between the title and the music frame

It does seem to be oddly sensitive at the bottom of page 1. If you did want to increase gaps/margins, you can still do that and just force the last staff back onto page 1 using frame breaks.

There are a couple of things you can do before reaching the make-into-frame manual stage:

  1. Remove the copyright frame at the bottom of page 1, unless you’re going to use it - allows you to bring the music frame to the very bottom of the page (although you could do that and keep the text frame, if the music wouldn’t overlap with it anyway) and gain a little more available space.

  2. When you’re going to be moving text far from its starting point, deactivate collision avoidance - it stops it contributing to the vertical spacing based on where it “should be”, plus reduces the need to move nearby items to accommodate. In particular for e.g. for the text that appears at the ends of exercises 2 and 3.

  3. Tweak Engraving Options settings for minimum gaps between things like tempo marks, chord symbols, and lyrics and the staff/each other. Even a fractional difference will compound, and (to my eye at least) brings some of those elements more snugly together for each exercise.

  4. Because the gaps between flows/flow headings are calculated based on staff lines, not additional content, the 2nd exercise looks visually like it’s closer to the 1st than the 3rd, so I Alt/Opt-dragged the 2nd exercise’s system handle down - that accordion-style squishes the staves below closer together and produces a more even-to-the-eye gap above.

Choral Warmups 2_LH.dorico (680.5 KB)

Hmm thanks - still quite far apart to my eye, and the bottom of the page is a nuisance, but this is all helpful information.

On that, I notice when in stave-drag-around mode (technical term), there is a faint blue boarder at the bottom:

is this some sort of margin perhaps?

Well it was just an example, you can reduce the gaps between systems etc if you like (obviously, it’s your project!).

The blue area is the music frame margin - this has been raised before:

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It’s the music frame margin, except there’s a bug here - it currently shows whatever the factory default is, regardless of what you’ve actually set in Layout Options.

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I wonder if that same bug is what is pushing the last line across to the next frame? It doesn’t happen when I manually drag the stave, but even 15mm above it as it is here, the second I change the height of the frame it pops over. In fact if I think about it 15mm is what I have my header-margin-top set to…

It’s a while since I dug into it, but my memory is that it’s purely cosmetic.

Many of us have requested an assignable ruler feature for years. (Such rulers are common in publishing software.) There are third-party programs that can do this in the meantime though.

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