How to move objects in engrave mode

Can anyone explain to me how to move objects in engrave mode? I’ve been using Dorico for about 4 years now and it’s one of many simple tasks that I haven’t figured it out. I just want to be able to move, for example, my Flow Title to a different location on the page. I can grab the little green box but am unable to move it outside of the larger blue frame of the staves. If try to “unlink” the “frame chain”(whatever the hell that means) my flow title is deleted and a new mysterious page is created. I’m not sure how such simple tasks can be made so user-unfriendly. I wish I would have just gone to Finale after Sibelius but I had hope for Dorico. I have watched hours of tutorial videos and am constantly Googling answers for simple operations. Can anyone help me?

Are you talking about a flow title (at top of page) or (as I suspect) a flow header (at the start of a new flow)?

Where do you want to move it to?

Welcome to the forum!

As long as you have Frames selected in the Engrave Toolbox, it really should be as simple as selecting the Text Frame and dragging it.

The Text frames (green) and the Music frames (blue) can be overlapped and so one shouldn’t have any affect on where you can position the other. Re: the blue box: did you mean “page margins”? Because you won’t be able to drag frames outside these.

As an example, if you have a text frame with the title that you want closer to the top page margin, you won’t be able to just drag the whole frame up until the text is where you want it. You will likely have to drag the lower handle of the frame (ie change the size) higher until the text is where you want it.

Perhaps you could upload a screenshot or a project as an example?

Have you watched any of the online tutorials on this topic? eg

Oops didn’t think of that! :man_facepalming:

@heiltim if you haven’t seen this:

Welcome to the forum @heiltim !

Automatic flow headings (where Dorico puts in the text frame that contains e.g “1. Flow 1” at the start of each flow, with a gap before and after) do indeed live inside music frames.

You don’t have to use the automatic flow headings, though – you can draw in your own frames wherever you like. If you do this on one page, that produces a local page override (it exists just on that page) but if you do it on a page template, your changes can be reused (everywhere that page template is used, those pages get updated with your changes).

When you unlink a music frame from the default frame chain, Dorico does create another page – because Dorico will always create as many pages as are needed to display all the flows in the MA frame chain (a “frame chain” is essentially a group of frames that all follow on from each other, and show the same set of flows, i.e. “bits of music” ; the MA frame chain is the one on your Default page templates, and normally it’s set to show all players and all flows that appear in the layout). So your unlinked frame because a separate frame chain, and Dorico goes “ah ok you’ve made a new frame chain, I’ll move the default one over here” and adds a new page.

If you want to share some pictures or just describe a bit more about what it is you want to end up with, people here might be able to offer some tailored advice to help you achieve that in Dorico.

One very frustrating thing that has been going on for a while and that I [still] hope will be addressed is the flow heading being embedded in a music frame on the first page of a flow, I don’t get why.
We literally can’t move the music frame without moving the heading, so if there’s some text or other elements (like repeats) they always overlap the flow heading and it makes a mess…
I’d just like to be able to move/resize the music frame without moving the heading or making a mess, fingers still crossed but it’s very annoying…

You can turn Flow Headings off (if you didn’t know already).

This is what I do, and I just create a text box in my template with the token if I ever need one.

But most of the time I don’t want them off, I just want to move the music staves without moving the heading ; on single flows projects yeah I turn them off to just keep the main title

My knowledge of this is marginal and so I will bow out! Hopefully someone can advise to get you heading in the right direction.

Try creating a custom Flow Header in the Page Template section that has a larger bottom margin and assign that where you need more headroom for your top staff.


It would really help if you could provide som screenshots to show exactly what you’re trying to do, and the objects involved.

It does sound like you’re trying to move the Flow Heading. These automatically sit at the top of a Music Frame (or at other points inside a music frame, if you’ve set flows to follow on from each other on the same page).
It is possible to increase the Flow Heading margins for individual headings, by right clicking on the page icon and selecting “Change Flow Heading”. (Then you keep the same heading template, but with a new margin size.)

If you think Finale is going to be more user-friendly than either Sibelius or Dorico, then you’re going to be disappointed.

The flow heading moves with the top of the system. If you move the topmost system spacing handle, the flow heading will also move. But if you most the staff spacing handle, the flow heading won’t move. See here: Moving individual staves/systems vertically

In general though, there are often other ways of achieving the desired result without using these sorts of manual overrides (e.g. if you want to lower a staff away from the flow heading because you need a bigger gap between them, you can change the flow heading bottom margin, either for the whole layout or just for that page).

Staff and system spacing overrides can easily get lost if their page number changes (e.g. adding a title page at the beginning of a layout risks losing all staff/system spacing overrides you’ve added to that layout), hence the nudge towards changing other settings/options first.


If I remember correctly, the Dorico staff offers a one-time FREE one-on-one remote session to sort out things like these issues directly.
Why not take them up on that offer?


1 Like

Thanks for the response. I’ll attach a screenshot of the proposed scenario - I just want to be able to move the Flow Title(Flow 1) to anywhere on the page by grabbing it’s green box in engrave mode. I am only allowed to move it within the confines of the blue box(frame?) I don’t know why it is this way. I also just don’t understand how the frames are supposed to function. I’ve watched some videos on it but I guess i need to re-watch them. I continually find myself trying to format a part to make it fit on one page and a couple measures will be trapped on page 2 with their own blue frame. I suppose I’m more familiar with design software where you can intuitively just grab items and arrange them as needed very easily.

wow, i didn’t know that, i’ll definitely give it a shot the next time i’m pulling my hair out. Thanks

Thanks for the response. Here’s a screenshot one thing i’m trying to troubleshoot. I just wanted to squeeze some things together to make everything fit on one page. I finally managed to do that somehow but now I still have this blue frame on page 2, i’m assuming because the last measure is still a part of it for some reason? If I delete the empty frame on page 2 the last measure of music is deleted as well. I’m understanding the concept of the various frames, but i’m struggling to figure out how to actually make them do anything that i want them to do when i’m trying to format the music.

Another frustration occurred when I tried to input a non-sanctioned chord symbol in the chord symbol popover . as you can see in the screenshot that i posted, i wanted to input the chord symbol "Cmin9sus4 ". Maybe there is a different name for it that I’m unaware of but that is how I wanted the band to read that chord and interpret it’s function. I ended up just making a little text box, copying and pasting it as needed. Is there a way to override the sanctioned chord symbols in a scenario like this?

I think the reason you can’t move it is because it is taking up the full width of the page; it can’t move left or right because it has nowhere to go. If you reduce the width you should be able to move it (I’ve just tried it myself).

Flow Headings are designed to be the same at the start of each Flow. In the Flow Heading Editor you can change the token used and the width but I don’t think that you can’t adjust the vertical placement - to do this you will need to manually move it on each page, in each Layout.

If you do want to see the title of a flow in a particular place then it might be easier to do away with Flow Headings and just create a custom Text Frame to position at a particular place on each page. You could do this in the Page Template Editor if you want and it will be the same for all Layouts that use that Page Template. This is what I do.

If you look at the top-right of the screen where it says “Pages”, you’ll see there’s a red triangle on Page 2. If you right-click and then “remove all page overrides” then I think the second page might go away.

I think if you enter “Cmin9sus4” into the Chord Popover, then it will come up with “C9sus4” as it contains the same notes. I’m not sure how to adjust this.

Someone correct me!

1 Like

Hm, your other minor chords use the “m” designator instead of “min”. Why do you want it differently this one time?
And: DMM is right, there is no such thing as a chord being minor and suspended at the same time, were you thinking about “add11”?

All the best, Benji


I think you’re ‘trying to do too much’ by manually dragging. Manual adjustments in Dorico are the last resort, after you’ve configured the various options. Always try to do less.

Page 2 still exists because (as the little red triangle on the page icon shows) you’ve made “overrides” (e.g. manual adjustments) to that page, so Dorico leaves it as it is.

You need to reset the overrides (right click on the page icon), and the Dorico will delete the page, because there’s no music in the frame.

Also, it looks like you’ve moved every staff on page 1 – why not just reduce the inter-system gap in Layout Options?

Flow Headings are exactly that – they sit at the top of the Flow’s music frame. If you want them to be higher up, then you need to move the music frame up towards the titling – and ideally do this in the Page Template Editor, not on the page itself. Then you can use it in other Layouts, or copy it to other documents, or save it as a project template.