Is Dorico "intuitive"?

In many posts on this forum, the poster refers to one or another feature or process in Dorico as being ‘intuitive’ or ‘not intuitive.’

In regard to that subject, I’d like to say the following:

  1. Human beings are individuals, and what is intuitive to one person may not be to another person, and vice versa.
  2. When I switched from Finale to Sibelius about 15 years ago, someone said to me, “You have to forget everything you ever thought you knew about music notation software and learn it all over again.” I found that to be good advice, and as a result found Sibelius to be very ‘intuitive’ indeed, so long as I didn’t expect it to be Finale. I think the same principle applies to Dorico, wherever else a person might be coming from. Don’t expect it to be an improved version of whatever you’ve been using. It isn’t. It’s a totally new way of thinking. Accept that, and you’ll be fine. (Our intuitions can get “conditioned” by what we’re used to.)
  3. Maybe someone feeling that Dorico isn’t intuitive could benefit from at least considering the possibility that it’s his or her intuition that needs tweaking, rather than the software.


Totally agree. Asking if a software is intuitive or not is a loaded question. If you speak French and Italian, learning Cantonese is not going to be easy. You have to start from scratch. I’ve put in the time on Dorico, and now I’m really starting to fly!

Learning Dorico makes me think of my students who are learning Sibelius. They can get confused by note entry techniques which I internalized 17 years ago, before some of them were born. So I’ve been learning new stuff, which I find refreshing and good for my brain - and I’m getting faster too!

“intuitive” software is software that behaves like something else you’ve used. Nothing more.

Pretty much any software that has some level of difficulty needs time learning.

I’d still like a world-class mouse work flow in Dorico at one point…
I hate typing. :neutral_face:


I’ve yet to find a screen / surface / substance / pad / thing with a mouse / pen / pencil / item that works in a way that is as quick and more importantly as accurate as using a keyboard.
I’ll admit I haven’t tried them all yet though. :slight_smile:

I don’t think Dorico is very intuitive, that doesn’t mean it will be hard to use, it just means it has to be taught rather than figure it out for yourself.

A typical example, is the first thing you need to do - add some bars. From a new user point of view, that seems impossible, there is no icon or pull down menu to do this, OK, we press SHIFT- B and the type in +8, that works fine, but that is not intuitive for anyone. How many random key presses does it need to stumble across that action ?

It is something that you either read how to do (manual/forum) or you’ll never figure it out, something that is intuitive, would be something you could figure out by just using the software.

Actually, there is an icon to do what you want. Clicking on the Bars and Barlines icon in the Notations toolbox will bring up a menu for inserting bars.

It’s too bad that you can only discover stuff like this with random experimentation or forum reading. A comprehensive manual would make learning the program a lot easier.

I was at first thinking of writing something different, but then I remembered that at Steinberg, most employees are actually musicians… I still think Dorico would benefit immensely from the broadest possible user interface variety.
And did I mention that I hate keyboards?

Happy holidays,

I find Dorico to be very a direct and simplistic approach. When it matures to a point where we have more work-flow aids and scripting-like tools it’s going to be amazing.

By workflow aids I mean things like:
Virtual Grids for snapping objects and frames.
Auto formatting tools for the engrave mode.
Selection filters for the write mode.
Script-like tools for large batch-style edits.
User tags for things like frame and flow styles.

I like where things seem to be headed. It reminds me of the great user-centric workflow we ‘once’ had in DTP software titles like Ventura, PageStream, and Calimus (fine and easy control over every object or group of objects) that’s since been replaced by dumb-dumb wizards or hidden 200 menu levels deep in the program. In a way, Dorico is taste of the past…the better elements of software UI concepts for DTP applications that we lost throughout the first decade of the 21st century are finally coming back. Once they get that base ‘engine’ in place, we should start to see a flood of user aid tools to tag and quickly ‘automate’ much of what we’ll be doing in Dorico.