Horizontal slur movement

“You cannot move whole slurs to the right/left, you can only move them upwards/downwards.”

Why? Steeply-sloping two-note slurs are often moved to. the right or left for aesthetic reasons and it would be quicker if one could move the slur as a whole:
Centered slur
Offset slur


If you hold the Alt/Opt key while dragging an end point with the mouse, the whole slur will dynamically adjust rather than just moving the end point. This makes adjusting slurs much easier and quicker.

Thanks, Craig. Did you mean to option key-drag the slur while holding some point on the slur that is not an end point and/or in a box? That works. Dragging a boxed end point with the option key just drags that end point.

But in this case, I would rather not drag a slur but use the arrow keys. Also it is often hard to find a non-boxed point on a small slur, which makes selecting a whole small slur somewhat involved. I either move to it from some nearby note with the arrow keys, or encircle it with the marquee cursor.

So I don’t understand why one can move the slur vertically but not horizontally with the arrow keys.

At the very least, you can type in the same value for Start Offset and End offset (or click the up arrows on the spin boxes).
The “handle offsets” will automatically take up the same values.


But I agree that wholesale moving with the arrow keys ought to be possible.


I find it helps in these situations to magnify the view to see the handles more clearly.

Thank you, Derrek. I do that too, especially when extensively reshaping a slur. But in this case simply selecting the slur and moving it three clicks to the right or left would do the job very quickly. Now, I have to select one end point and click three times, then select the other end point and click three times.

Incidentally, an option for Dorico to recognize this slur situation and do this shift automatically would be a great addition.

The few times I have had to move an l.v. “tie” to the left of a note, I found that moving the left handle where I wanted it and then using the Properties Panel to apply the same x-offset to the right handle served me well at least as a starting point n most cases.

Once you have selected one of the boxes on a slur, you can use the tab key to cycle through the selection boxes forwards, and shift-tab to cycle through them backwards. One more tab past the final box in either direction deselects all the boxes and you can then move the whole slur up or down. This really useful for fine-tuning slurs, but agree that moving a whole slur left or right would be helpful.


Ah sorry. It seems the behavior has changed. It now works the same whether or not Opt is pressed. I was so used to using the Opt key, I never noticed.

Thank you for those helpful tips, Derrek and ianaincd.

No problem, Craig, its all good information, me being brand-new to Dorico.

For what it’s worth, we chose to prevent horizontal dragging of slurs because it seemed to us an unusual kind of edit: in general slur end points want to go in their calculated positions, and if you need to change them, you rarely need to move the entire slur left or right. Rather, you are more likely to want to adjust one or the other, but not both.

Likewise, in general the same kinds of edits are possible with the mouse and the keyboard, which is why you also cannot move a whole slur left or right with the keyboard.

This is of course possible for us to change, but I’m not sure that we should change it. I think it’s useful that slurs only move vertically when dragged, as this is by far the most common wanted behaviour. But I am of course interested in feedback from the user community as to whether you agree.

Given that you can move the entire slur by holding Option and dragging it**, it ought to be possible on the keyboard as well. The anchor points are often too close together on small slurs.

And moving to Engrave mode, selecting the slur, Holding Alt and then pressing the arrow keys is a sufficient ‘safety catch’.

The behaviour would then mirror that of frames, where selecting one anchor moves the anchor point (with Alt-arrows); selecting the whole frame moves the frame.

Slurs like this often look optically better if they are moved wholesale to the right.:


** For me, I definitely have to hold Option to get horizontal movement of the slur.


Wow! I had no idea this was possible. If it’s in the manual, it’s well hidden…and as John says in the OP, contradicted by what is in the manual.
Thanks for this.

I think that Benwiggy made the case very well.

The ends of most slurs look best centered over note heads or stems. But most steeply-angled two-note slurs do not. See a discussion at:


One may see the adjustments that plate engravers made in such cases. I find it interesting that this is so easily solved by a simple shift of the slur to line up the slur ends with the edges of the note heads.

Ideally, the program would be making these adjustments automatically.


Hi Daniel

I would very much welcome the facility to easily move slurs horizontally. I often find myself doing this for steep slurs, and even not-so-steep ones.

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I would also like to cast my vote in favour of being allowed to move slurs horizontally with the keyboard.
As @benwiggy said, holding down Option/Alt is a good-enough safety measure.

Here’s another vote for the ability to move slurs in their entirety using the keyboard. I’d also like to see a setting in Dorico for shifting steep slurs towards the outer edge of the note, as the better hand-engravers of the past did.

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