General-purpose "hide"

I would love a general-purpose “hide” option for any visible thing in the score:

  • for any bar or group of selected bars, an easy option to hide the staff lines and/or barlines
  • for any note or rest, an option to hide it

I know you can already hide time signatures with the properties panel, so that’s great.

This would make simple cutaway scores so much easier, and it would also open up a lot of freedom for people to make scores that move between fully notated material and text-instructions / graphic modes.

Also, the ability to slap a box around any selected material would be great.

Who’s with me?

Using: Dorico Elements, Mac OS Monterrey 12.6.1


We have plans for cut-away scores in future versions that won’t use this kind of “hide” paradigm, but we know this kind of score appearance is desired by many people, and we do plan to implement it in future.


That’s good news!

I still wonder if a general-purpose “hide” wouldn’t be useful in other ways. I can’t find a way to hide empty bar-rests on a per-bar basis, for instance. Or, for a case where I have, say, a 3-beat pattern that I then want to have played in a loop over, say, 4/4 - it would be fun to just write out the 3 beats of music, hide the final quarter-rest, and then throw a box around the 3 beats of music and draw and arrow saying “more”…

Congrats again to the Dorico team on the great work – it’s pretty fun to use.



You are at least the 100th user to request this. It is natural think of score writing software as analogous to staff paper and pencil (and eraser), but Dorico’s design philosophy is different: Notations are put on the score to have musical meaning, and not merely graphic appearance. And programming these features to work musically takes a lot of thought and time. The result is that the task of writing standard notation has been streamlined way beyond previous software. But more recent and less common notations (such as aleatoric boxes, also often requested) have to wait until they have time to work out a comprehensive and semantic approach to each one.

For contrast – Finale treats the document more like staff paper onto which you can write anything you want, whether it has musical meaning or not. This has so far been more useful than Dorico for modern composers who need to write lots of nonstandard or less common things on the page. But I think that is a niche of a niche market. Dorico is trying to serve the needs of as wide a user base as possible, and they are adding more kinds of notation as soon as they can.

(If you do need aleatoric boxes, I recommend the font in this thread, or for a more comprehensive survey of workarounds, see this video.)


Hah! I’ve been asking for a general show / hide option since 2018. It’s one of the few Sibelius features that I really miss.

The reason this has not been implemented (at least as I understand it) is that this would go against the Dorico design philosophy that the interface only implements operations that make syntactical “sense” when creating a score.

But what seems to have happened is that through the years show/hide has been implemented on a case by case basis: e.g. text (but only on a layout by layout basis), immediate dynamics (but not gradual dynamics), etc.

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Yes, and Dorico’s approach - probably the classic Model View Controller pattern I’d guess with a deep knowledge data model, is what allows for very powerful features such as score condensing. I imaging SOB software aren’t easily capable of this kind of feature because, as you showed, they don’t understand the musical data as deeply as Dorico does.

Since Dorico already has condensing at this, frankly still early part in its history, there are exciting things ahead of us I feel. But as I’ve said, I’m perfectly content with Dorico right now as it is, it does what I need.

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I get the design-philosophy argument, and respect it.

To play devil’s advocate for a moment… couldn’t all these things still exist and have syntactic meaning, but just from a purely visual point of view have the option of being 100% transparent? Modern composers who want to do weird things are definitely not expecting playback capabilities, so the computer could just keep all the sytactically correct elements they way they are, but simply “display” some of them with invisible ink, as it were. I know it’s a niche thing, but it could be a niche that was so well-served with this feature, and I know I for one would be happy to have the computer think all the hidden stuff was “still there” in terms of layout spacing and playback.

Just thinking out loud…

Well, you can already ‘colour’ most elements to 0% Opacity. (Not staff lines, though.)

Edit > Remove Rests should do this.

Dorico is at its most revolutionary where it has created specific features that produce particular notation results.

I can understand the team’s reluctance towards using hidden objects as a means of achieving “something other than what that hidden notation represents”. This is perhaps what is known as an X-Y Problem: asking for the wrong solution to a different problem. XY problem - Wikipedia

There are notation objects that do need to be hidden – but these are usually where the hidden object’s meaning is implied from context, rather than stated, e.g. accidentals, time sigs, tuplets, etc. (FWIW, I’m firmly in the camp that would like to hide cautionary keys/metres.)

I’m sure that when Dorico does support aleatoric notation and cutaway scores, you’re going to say “Wow. That’s a lot better than having to hide stuff.”

One thing: if you want to create ‘less-traditional’ notation such as graphical scores, then you’d probably need to upgrade to Dorico Pro, to get the full editing capabilities.


Never give a software guy a solution, instead always tell them what you are need to do and let them find the solution.


Yeah, I started in the other camp but switched sides. I’ve hit this this so much it now seems obvious they should support hiding. They’re not musically necessary after all, the meaning of the music won’t change one bit with or without the cautionary.

Besides which one thing I learned is when your users find a hack workaround so necessary that it’s getting swapped around and documented in YouTube videos (the coda hack), it’s time to get off your horse and acknowledge reality.

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I bet! I’m sure it will feel just like that. Until then, however… there’s always the brute-force one-way solution of importing finished scores into Adobe and breaking out the graphics tools. Or just littering the score with text instructions.

Also: totally missed the “Edit->Remove Rests” in my Googling about how to do this! The Dorico help pages that turned up listed much more annoying ways to do this than simply doing “Edit → Remove Rests”, which for-real didn’t come up high enough in the search results for me to find it easily. Still new to the software! I’ve now learned to bookmark the particular help manual for my version of Dorico in my bookmarks bar and not rely on general Google searches, which turn up a lot of older pages from earlier versions.

I love that Dorico is evolving so quickly - it’s kind of fun to find outdated help pages and realize that the problem’s been fixed much better in the intervening time.

Thanks, all!


That’s fair advice. In this case, I guess we all know that most of the developers came from Sibelius, and that “hide” was a common feature in that program, so it’s less telling the programmers how to fix a problem so much as it was pining for an old feature that used to exist (and, yes, has good reasons not to exist in the current project, yes yes yes, I know…).


Googling always poses the danger of finding an out-of-date “solution” since the older material has had the opportunity to get more clicks and rank higher in search than the latest stuff. Using the Help option from within the Hub or the computer file itself at least sends one to the latest results (other than, perhaps, a more recent Version History).

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Yeah - 100%. This is no doubt true with everything, but I’ve never experienced it being quite AS true as it has been with Dorico. Manual bookmarked!