Hide noteheads in Dorico

I would expect Edit > Select More to work, starting from a note.

Great, it works. Thank you so much!

Another way is to create a special noteheads set. In the noteheads set editor, it is possible to set empty noteheads.

I think it is faster to use this than setting alpha chanels

There is a tutorial to create a special noteheads set ?

No, but the Engrave > Notehead Sets dialog is documented in detail in the Dorico 2 Version History PDF.

With Dorico 3.1, I think having stems without noteheads has not yet been implemented. I use it very much, to indicate ribattuto or repeated oscillation, or just a rhythmic passage.

If it is not yet there, I would ask a blank/transparent notehead type to be included wih the next release – if hiding noteheads in Write mode is not easy.


Caro Paolo,

If you have Dorico Pro, nothing prevents you from creating your own transparent headnotes with the headnote editor — unless I’m mistaken. I think that’s what Daniel was pointing to, in the #13 post.

I’m sorry, I’ve read the manual Daniel has mentioned and couldn’t figure out how to create an “invisible” (white) note-head in the Engrave > Notehead Sets dialog. I cannot find color properties there. Can anyone explain me what to do please? And I also join Paolo’s request to implement invisible noteheads to a future release. Thank you!

Can’t one just create a new notehead set (not from a selection) and then double-click and erase the one notehead that’s there? The name of this notehead set will be available in the Noteheads contextual menu and can be used to replace a single notehead or an entire selection of noteheads.

It’s advisable to use ~3 text spaces rather than leaving the notehead entirely empty. Selection of notes in Write mode depends on there being some sort of notehead to select -using text spaces makes this possible.

(Thank you Claude, who pointed this out here: https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=246&t=190934&p=1009847&hilit=Spaces#p1009847)

That’s actually quite easy, thank you!

There’s another way to accomplish invisible noteheads (and some other objects):
In the properties panel, turn on the “color” button and click on the color chooser, then reduce opacity to zero.

My experience with changing the opacity (I assume this is the Alpha Channel) to zero, is that when you convert your score to pdf, there are white dots where the notehead is located. Using Dorico 3.5 pro.

You need to export your PDFs as Color rather than Mono.

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you are a legend. they will write songs about you.


Sorry to resurrect this old thread, but the comment about creating your own invisible notehead has me baffled. @pianoleo (and @claude_g_lapalme in another thread) recommends that we add 3 spaces to our custom notehead in order to make it selectable. I definitely see the need for this, but I can’t make it work well.

I understand how to create a notehead and set it to use one or more text characters. (And — with much head-scratching — I now know how to avoid altering the default black notehead.) If I create a new notehead, delete the existing black notehead glyph (U+E0A4), and then add text containing 3 spaces (0x20) using font.defaulttext, the graphic in the main part of the display looks promising, with three orange squares indicating my three space characters.

But after I assign this new notehead to a quarter note in the score, I can select it with the mouse only if I click right on the top of the stem, in an area 1-2 pixels square. I also can select it by clicking a note on either side and using the left/right arrow keys. In either case, no highlighting of the invisible notehead appears. It looks like Dorico highlights only the black pixels of a notehead glyph, as it does for normal noteheads, but my 3-space notehead has no black pixels. Should I expect highlighting in this case?

How is this working for others who have tried it? I’m coming from other notation programs that support invisible (hidden) noteheads natively, including a highlighted rectangle to show selection, so that’s what I’m expecting.

I’m using Dorico 3.5.12 on a Mac.


Using spaces to do this job is certainly not what we would consider the ideal solution, which is why it’s not documented by us in the manual, and nor is it recommended by us – we know there’s a need for this, but we’ve not as yet had a chance to implement a proper solution.

I think that for the most part it might be preferable to simply make the notehead transparent using the Colour property, but it does mean of course that you need to select all the notes that need to be rendered invisible and colour them manually, plus it has implications for final output (you can’t use Mono when exporting graphics, for example, if you have fully transparent noteheads).

Thank you, Daniel. I’ve since realized that using the Color dialog to make the notehead opacity zero is the better solution, because then you can at least select the object and even see it when it’s part of a selection. One downside might be that opacity does not affect the dot of a dotted note.

One would hope for a more semantic implementation of this, but it seems hard to anticipate all the possible uses of head-less stems. At least for some of these uses, perhaps “invisible head” is as semantic as it gets.

I realized after posting that clicking on any part of a stem selects the note, regardless of whether it has an “invisible” head.


Hi Marc, how is it possible to copy an arrowhead from the page you cited the link to? I did not succeed.

Just as Marc said, for that character, you have to change the text type to “music text” from the little drop down at the top of the shift+X text editor. That said, there is in-built support for arrows as of 3.5 via the lines panel on the right.

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