Hiding / Unhiding staves


I am not able to get a decent layout in an orchestral score, since I have found no way to individually hide / unhide unused staves.
I found the option under layot options / vertical spacing, but this option seems to work only for the whole score.

When there is a small system (with only 4 staves) between two full orchestra staves, I get a laughable almost empty score page, which is completely unusable. How do I add unused staves to get a usable layout?

On the forum somebody wrote he would use different “Layouts” to do this. I am not able to find anything on how to do this…

I may add, I find the documentation of Dorico extremely frustrating. The documentations gives absolutely no in depth information. There is not tutorial, how to do f.e. a symphonic score, so the learing process is very complicating by reading thousands of particle informations in the forum, always hoping to finally getting the thing to work. Maybe I am missing something, but so far I seem not to be able to solve most of the problems myself…

So: How are you guys getting your informations?

Any help would be appreciated,

Hi Torsten !
Since I bought Dorico on day one, that would be a year and two weeks ago, I read this forum almost every day. This is how I learned a lot of things (and shared the knowledge). It’s no secret that the written available documentation is not really useful at this point. Nevertheless, there are plenty of great videos on Dorico’s channel. Steinberg has hired a writer last june, she and Daniel are writing THE documentation you might need now, but it won’t be out until it is finished, I’m afraid.
To go back to your problem, this is not an easy one ! I see you are aware of the vertical spacing option, and I am wondering what is wrong about that. Is there any good reason to keep unused staves not hidden ? You are right, since it is a Layout option, it does apply to all the flows in your… layout. If the problem only appears in one flow or specific flows, and you do not want that behaviour on other flows, you could create a new full score layout with that option “on”. But be careful when you mix both layout outputs, in the end : I’m afraid the page numbers won’t match.
Thanks to share this experience !

Same here: it’s the only way (or at least the most efficient way) at present.

Torsten, can you attach a screenshot of the kind of issue you’re experiencing when you hide empty staves, so I can get a better understanding of how you can use the tools Dorico provides to get a more pleasing layout?


attached is a screenshot.

The systems before and after the half blank page are too big too add on this page. So, to get a good layout, it should be possible to add empty staves on this system to get a similar look as on the pages before and after.

So far, I found no way to do this.

I think this option is very important, because this is an everyday problem on symphonic scores.

Any help would be appreciated.


Have you tried to input some blank text (space bar) attached to the rests of the hidden staves with shift X or alt shift X ? The bars would not be empty anymore… The problem is that, in the parts, it would break your multibar rests. So not an ideal workaround, sorry.

The best way would be to let user to choose which systems have to be shown. Automation and only automation will NEVER meet user requirements. I saw quite similar discussion about braces yesterday. I work with orchestral scores quite often. It is not easy to solve sometimes layout problems working with other well known programs and having such flexibility. But without it? Hm…Dorico was created for sure to be a professional program. I hope so much such functionality will be added in a nearest future. Would be nice to get it confirmed.


thank you for your workaround. Adding blank text works. Thank You!

It is not an ideal solution, however, so a better layout option would be appreciated!


Same problem here. I can´t work for orchestra with Dorico without flexibility showing/hiding staves and grouping braces. It´s a pity, because I´m in love with Dorico and I would love to make my orchestral works with it, but I can´t do it yet.

Would be great if it would be possible to choose some particular staves or pages and just apply “hide or show empty staves”.

I would like this, too.
Also more flexibility with the braces.
Problem, it would feel “Sibelius like”… and who knows, there might be copyright on these procedures :wink:

I’ll third the request to be able to hide/ show staves at will, whether they’re empty or not!

Oh yes, please.

As a workaround, I’ve only recently come round to using the Parts aspect of Dorico. My objective was to separate a vocal line out from a standard Piano / Vocal layout. It works, but not exactly as I had expected. Including chords is great but what I would really like is to keep the text box layouts and formatting that I’ve defined within the Full score and also keep the System Breaks etc. that I defined while editing the full score.

Is this possible?

(To be honest, it would definitely be simpler to hide Staves)

Implementing custom hidden staves is not without difficulty. How does Dorico cope with hidden staves if there are changes to the layout, and the same bars are no longer one complete system?

Is the ‘hiding’ a property of the system, or the bars?, and what happens when the systems are cast off differently, or the bars per system changed?

Ben, Dorico handles hidden staves according to the rules you set in Layout Options. It’s that simple.
If you’ve got 8 bars of music, where e.g. flute only plays for bar 6, then if the systems are split bars 1-4, bars 5-8, Flute will be hidden on the first system. If the system break is at the start of bar 7, the Flute will show for the first system but be hidden on the second system. Etc.
Hidden staves are not a property of the systems or the bars; it’s a rule that is applied each time music is reflowed.

Earlier this year I wrote the first movement of a piece for cello and chamber orchestra, which has two long cello cadenzas. For most of the piece, I want to show every instrument staff even if they’re resting, to avoid problems like GLFLieger’s screenshot above; also, some conductors prefer to have the same instrument shown in the same spot, page after page. It helps when you’re studying a score to know the harp is always halfway down, etc. etc.

Anyway, in order to do that, I had to show every player, even during cello cadenzas; this used lots of extra pages. So I agree with folks above, hiding staves would be nice to have. I would have hidden them during the cello cadenzas, and then shown them for the rest of the piece.

I mean implementing individual staves that are hidden at the user’s request, which is the topic here, rather than the current implementation.

Wouldn’t the best way to extend Dorico’s functionality here be to add one more setting; only hide staves if one more system can be fitted on the page? This in combination with all the other vertical layout settings would do the trick.

In addition it would also be good to have something similar to Note Spacing Change in Engrave mode, like Vertical Spacing Change. Then one could get around the problem of having one static setting for the whole layout.

Some of my least favourite scores are those where the layout constantly changes every system, just to save a bit of space, so you have to find your place afresh every time. I’d rather have 4 more page turns! :laughing:

Yes, hiding empty staves has to be done with caution…! Hence my idea for differentiating the automatic hiding.
Some want to show all staves at all times, but personally I think it’s good to hide in different sections if for instance one instrument group is not playing at all for some time. (Yes, I know it can be done with flows…)