Importing a house style

Good afternoon everyone:

I am transcribing a score into Dorico. Since I’m (still) not very good at Dorico I transcribed everything into Sibelius, exported an XML file, and imported that into Dorico.

It looks pretty good, but here’s the rub. The organization for whom I am doing this uses a very specific template / house style. How can I easily import this house style into my own Dorico session? I can think of two ways:

  1. Import the house style the way you would do this in Sibelius, but I believe this doesn’t work in Dorico, does it?
  2. Just simply copy and paste everything staff by staff. I tried that but when I select everything in a staff, and then copy and paste it, it only copies the notes (not dynamics, technique and expression, etc.). How do I do that? In Sibelius you’d triple click a staff and that would select everything.


You can’t import a house style in quite the same way as you would in Sibelius: in Dorico “house style” is an eclectic mix of Layout Options, Notation Options, Engraving Options (all of which can temporarily be saved as default and then reset to default in a new project), Text and Paragraph Styles (which can’t) and Master Pages (which can be imported and exported between projects).

If you’ve got a Dorico project set to match the house style of the client, import the MusicXML into that project. Alternatively, open the MusicXML file in Dorico and save that as a Dorico project. Then use Dorico’s File > Import Flow functionality to take the flow into an existing Dorico project.
If you need to do a system selection, make use of the System Track. Unlike Cmd/Ctrl-A, it really will select all stave and system attached music, text and symbols (including non-standard bar lines).

Thanks so much Leo! Importing the XML worked great, but I am still at a loss about how to copy and paste to get the music in the right place.
I need to get the music from the final flow, cut and pasted into the first flow. How do I do that? (I tried to attach the Dorico file but the website won’t let me)


you have to zip the dorico file first.

Thanks Odod. Attached is the zipped Dorico file.
Psycho - Prelude (bars 1 - 56).zip (516 KB)

Ordinary copy-and-paste worked fine for me.

Select the first note (or first bar) in all the instruments in the last flow. (Click and shift-click).
Edit / Select to end of flow.
Select the first bar in Vn 1, flow 1.

Sorting out the master page formats you have is another can of worms, though.

Changing Layout Options / Page Setup / Space size / Rastral size = 8 gets rid of the overlapping staves, but the headings and page numbers on both the “first” and “default” master pages peculiar.

Thanks so much Rob. If you can’t figure out, I certainly won’t.

At this point I’ll be happy to leave it to the kind people of the Academy of Scoring Arts, who set up the template.

If you are interested, please join us this Saturday for a scintillating analysis of the brilliant and classic score analysis of “Psycho”, Saturday October 31, 2020, 10 am - noon PST.

There isn’t much problem “figuring out” the master pages, but if you are supposed to be following a standard format there is no point trying to guess what that is.

For example did they want the staff size as specified but only one system per page? Or less vertical space wasted around the bar numbers etc? or what?

Whoever set it up didn’t seem to understand the idea of “mirrored” left/right pages in the templates…

The purpose is to have a score that will be easy to read during an online zoom meeting (not intended to be printed), to discuss and analyze the music; not to be printed to paper.

Well, it’s clearly not “easy to read” with overlapping staves, as in your attached project.

As you said before, best to ask whoever created it what to do to fix it.

I’m making progress!

Rob is correct, I should just leave the formatting to the guys who picked this particular house style, but I jumped on this project partly because I thought it might be a good “learn Dorico” project, and it is.

And now my next questions:

  1. Page one looks ok, but page two is a mess. How do I force a system break such that it looks like page 1?
  2. How do I remove this slur or tie or whatever it is?


PSYCHO - Prelude A-B (518 KB)

  1. Set a system break at the start of the second system. It looks like you’re best sticking with one system per page, unless you’re willing to do a lot of manual adjustment.

  2. Press U to remove the tie. Or, is that new ad supposed to be a D flat, and tied? If you change it to a D flat, the tie will resolve itself.

  1. Using system breaks is the wrong way to fix page 2, because it will leave the same problem on pages 3, 4, etc.

If you want everything to look like page 1, I would go to Setup mode / Layout Options / Staves and Systems / Casting off, and set “fixed number of systems per page” to 1.

  1. It’s a tie. Since the first note in bar 48 is a D natural (not another D flat) Dorico tied the note to the next note with the same pitch, which happens to be the C sharp.

Select the D flat (as shown in your picture) and press U (for “untie”).

If there should have been a slur between the D flat and D natural, press S to create that. Or maybe the D flat in bar 47 should be a D natural tied into bar 48, the same as the A.

Sometimes, though not consistently. I think the mess on page 2 is not guaranteed to happen on subsequent pages… isn’t it sort of a quirk related to the “circular spacing dilemma”?

Edit: no, I’m wrong. Anyways… a system break wouldn’t have helped you much anyways… frame break was what I meant. But Rob’s solution is better. Either that, or slightly increase the space size so Dorico isn’t tempted to try and squish two systems onto a page.

I think you possibly meant slightly decrease the space size, which I would agree with. The margins on the top of the page are also a bit more than is needed. When things are this compressed, I would both decrease the space size and adjust the margins.

With a decreased space size and adjusted margins (in this case I just slightly increased the height of the master page frames), the score looks more like this:

Increasing the space size and having one system per page could also work, as long as you are happy with having with only one system per page.

If this is a format for zoom, I would make the space size larger both to force one system per page and make the notes and lines easier to read on a computer screen sent over zoom.

The answers to this simple request seem to reveal that the current Dorico means of dealing with house styles is much more complicated than that in Sibelius; but I hope that this impression is merely a result of my misunderstanding what it required.

Are there plans to implement an import house style function (in the fullness of time…)?

If, for instance, I create a score in Dorico and send it to my publisher, who then applies their approved styles and improves the look of the score, what do I do when want to I start a new score that will be published by the same publisher, and want it to automatically look the same as the first score without requiring the publisher to repeat the work done on the first score? Can I, or the publisher, make a template for this purpose that includes all the publisher’s styles?


  1. Ask your publisher to send back their improved version of your previously-published Dorico project.
  2. Save a duplicate of it.
  3. Delete the flows within the duplicate project.
    Now you have a template file.

That’s it, terrific, thanks Rob!

As it turned out, it was a D flat tied over to a D flat in the next bar. Mr. Herrmann’s handwriting is so tiny, difficult to decifer!

One more follow up question: the trill in bar 47 should be a half note trill, I think I have the properties right (see screenshot), but I’d like the score to show that, maybe with a small Bb between brackets to the right of the A and a D natural to the right of the D flat. How do I do that?

(And in case you are wondering, I probably would have written a C sharp instead of a D flat but we’re trying to preserve the original handwriting as much as possible)