Hiding Bars + Bar width


I’m working on a work for full orchestra. I’m trying to hide empty bars but it is not working. I’ve tried removing the rests in the empty bars and it makes no difference.

I’m also experiencing a strange formatting where the bars are expanded to one bar per page - so the entire score is many pages long (over 100 bars in the piece). The bars aren’t longer because of the amount of notes contained in them, because sometimes a whole page has 5-6 semibreves.

What I’d like to do is simply hide all of the bars where the instrument is not playing (if this is possible) and to have a regular bar length.

Please help.


Hi Simon,

For hiding empty bars, see here to hide empty staves (it’s a layout option, rather than manually removing rests). You can also hide bar rests in empty bars if you prefer that look. (it’s better to hide bar rests this way rather than removing the rests, as this can result in bars ended up very narrow because Dorico has nothing to space.) If you mean you want cutaway scores (where staves can start/end in the middle of systems) that’s not currently supported.

For your overly-expanded bars, check your casting off settings to make sure it’s not set to 1 bar per system, and also make sure system break and frame break signposts are shown and check for system/frame breaks (they appear as pinky/purple flags above the top of the system). If there are system breaks where you don’t want them, select them and press Delete.

Hi Lillie,

thanks for your help. It had to do with the system/frame breaks. I deleted them all and then the empty staves were hidden.

Regarding the one page bars, they are still there. Is there a way to select a minimum number of bars per page/system? Some pages are fine with up to 8 bars, others could manage with 3. 1 bar for a page/system is not what I’d like.



I actually have some other questions regarding replacing regular staves etc.

Firstly, if I want to set more graphic instruction for one instrument, can I do this?

Also, is it possible to insert a block on a page for instruments that play in a different tempo and meter ?

I’ve attached an image from one of my previous scores that illustrates what I mean.



Dorico doesn’t yet support cut-away scores, though this is something we are certainly planning to add in future versions. If you want to produce a cut-away score in Dorico in the meantime you will end up having to position graphic frames in Engrave mode containing opaque white graphics to cover up the staves in the areas where they should be cut away.

You can create time signatures that apply only to a single staff very easily in Dorico. Hold Alt when you hit Return in the Shift+M popover to create the time signature on just one staff.

You may get the best result by changing the Note Spacing value for the sections with larger note values. Reducing the spacing value will space semibreves with less space between them.

Hi Daniel,

thanks for your reply. I’m not 100% sure what you mean by cut-away scores. Is the score example I sent through with the ‘floating’ sections a cut-away score?

I’m attaching another shot which I imagine might be possible and easy with Dorico…or is this partly what you mean by a cut-away score?

(I’m yet to get into engrave mode…I’m still in write mostly…but I need to hand my score in next week, and am hoping the engrave side of things will be simple and straight forward)



Cut-away scores are sometimes called scrapbook scores; but yes, it’s when the staff itself stops, either to be replaced by nothing but white space or some kind of indication to show that some aleatoric material should continue to be played. Dorico doesn’t natively support these kinds of scores as yet, but it’s definitely in the plans.

Thanks for your reply Daniel.

I’ve started working on finding ways to do this. It’s not as easy as I thought. Perhaps you could help? I’m attaching what I want to do. The pitch information is not a problem - I simply remove the stems in engrave. But the rest and rhythm information underneath is tricky. Any ideas?

Also (I’m sure it’s easy to do but I can’t find a way quickly) to simply place a box around information on the score as in the screenshot I’ve attached.

Thanks a lot,


To create headless noteheads, I wrote a detailed recipe in another post a few days ago here.

To create boxes, a fellow user called John McKinnon produced a video that shows how to do this using the new horizontal lines added in Dorico 3.5, which you can watch here.

You won’t be able to use “real” breath marks if you need them on both sides of the staff as shown, so I suggest you create them using Shift+X text items. Create one, then in Engrave mode set the ‘Avoid collisions’ property to disable collision avoidance, which will allow you to position the text item freely without it affecting staff spacing.

Hopefully that gets you a bit further.

For placing breath marks wherever you want, you could also create a custom playing technique that looks like a breathmark, allowing you to input it using the playing techniques popover.

Ah - super. I’ll get to work on it then. Thank you both for replying to me so quickly.

Okay - so things are moving along…

I’ve managed the headless noteheads and the box. But how can I get the rests and rhythmic information(headless noteheads) under the pitch information (as in my screenshot?)?

Write them in another voice (during note input, press Shift-V for a new voice or V to switch to an existing voice) and apply the headless notehead style to them? Plus hide ledger lines if necessary, and move the rests up/down.