Key command changes for faster workflow

Hi all, I’m curious to see what other changes people have done to keyboard shortcuts to accelerate their workflow. Personally, I’ve changed the most common 2-key commands to single key commands. For example, I happen to use the note input commands and the time signature commands a lot, so I’ve changed those to “n” and and “m” respectively.

Changing D to d might explain a lot of your problems placing dynamics in your other long thread, since you can’t use d in note entry mode when the caret is displayed.

Changing Shift-M to m will screw up your cross-staff shortcut in note input mode, too…

Opps, made a mistake. I did not actually do that. I did change SHIFT + N to just N as an example (for note entry).

I actually switched those around. I use meter changes much more than cross staff entry. So I figured meter changes should be a 1-key thing and crossing staves can be a 2-key thing

The thing is, the development team put a lot of work (weeks or months, not a few minutes!) into creating a general framework for shortcuts, so you don’t need to remember a mass of details, just the general principles of how they relate to each other. For example all the popover shortcuts are “shift + a letter”.

If you personally want to make “random” changes, there is nothing to stop you, but eventually unintended consequences will start creeping in.

I just switched around some of the keys that required SHIFT, and made them into one-key shortcuts. (ex. just M for meter and just N for note input). And maybe that doesn’t speed up other people’s workflow, but it does for me.

I think that usability and most importantly speed should come before consistency. If something allows me to work faster, then it justifies breaking consistency rules. And I think it’s best that anything I need to do a lot during a project should be a one-key command. I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, having to press shift every few seconds has its downfalls. You can say its consistent, but to me the time it takes for having to keep moving my hands and fingers around is not worth it.

I’ve changed the shortcuts a fair bit.

I use a full size keyboard with a numpad. Much of this was adapted from my Sibelius key setup, which was itself augmented a bit

Ctrl+H: Calculate Harp Pedal
Ctrl+T: 3 Stroke Tremolo

Ctrl+N/M: Crossstaff notes above/below

Rebind Navigate to Staff Above/Below to Ctrl+Alt+Up/Down so…
Ctrl+Up/Down shifts octaves, which I use way way more frequently. I despite the default binding there
Ctrl+D: Copy to Stave Below
Ctrl+E: Copy to Stave Above (These two are super hand for entering orchestral parts)

The numpad bindngs, inspired by Sibelus but augmented. When applicable, Ctrl activates the “Stronger” Version. I find these way way more ergonomic than the defaults, which are designed for a laptop keyboard with no numpad.


/: Accent. Ctrl+/: Marcato
: Staccato. Ctrl+: Staccatissimo
-: Tenuto, Ctrl±: Staccato Tentuto
.: Dotted Note


7: Nat
9: #, Ctrl+8: ##
9: b, Ctrl+9: bb

6: Whole (Ctrl+6 for Double Whole, in theory. Never used it)
5: Half
4: Quarter
3: 8th
2: 16th
1: 32nd
Ctrl+3: 64th
Ctrl+2: 128th
Ctrl+1: 256th

There are many other things I’d like to bind, but can’t because they aren’t bindable. I’d love to be able to keybind upbow, downbow, pizz/arco,…

I did some changing of default keyswitches in the early going, but I ended up deleting these changes. I figured that in the long run going with the flow is easier than swimming upstream.

To each his own. I do understand the pull of changing frequently used two-key commands to single-key commands.

Dear SamiSeif,
I changed and created a whole lot of keybindings, but for a very good reason : I have a French keyboard layout. One thing has stroke me when you created this (potentially dangerous) thread : you do not mention your keyboard layout. I guessed you must have an American one or British… But for a foreign Dorician, things can be very different and it won’t help to know what you have done…
My keyboard shortcuts are freely available to anyone, but I took the time to build up a document that explains the ones I have changed from the default ones (which usually make totally sense in the original layout but not any more in our layout.

My strong advice to every new user I train is to wait at least three weeks to change any key commands.

I guess I inadvertently followed your advice. :slight_smile:

For the record, I am using a standard English qwerty keyboard.

I’ve seen many more people responding to this post advising me against changing commands than I have people actually sharing their ideas with me. I’m open to the idea that the commands should not be changer. I’ve given my reason for changing them (faster workflow: things that I do frequently should be faster to do than things I do infrequently). But I haven’t heard anyone explain what the exact reason is as to why I should not change them.

If the defaults are more beneficial for me, please let me know so that I can revert to them. It’s in my best interest to speed up my work and increase its quality. And I’ve stated that my priorities are ease and speed over consistency, which is definitely an arbitrary thing. Others prefer consistency over all. I want to see what others think to see what is best for me.

But I also wonder what the designers of the commands have to say about this approach.

I’m with you on this one, SamiSeif. If it makes you work faster, you should do whatever you want to the key commands. Though, as it has been pointed out, the default commands have been not just carefully chosen, but systematically chosen so that it’s all very consistent. The argument against fiddling with it isn’t just consistency for consistency’s sake though; it’s consistency for the ease of remembering it all. If it’s no skin off your back to remember the commands as you’ve changed them and you’ve reassigned any potentially orphaned commands, as much as it bothers people’s OCD (and for the record, I do have to say that the reassignments of N and M that you’ve mentioned wound me), I don’t think there’s a great argument against it. Now, depending on what you change, you can break certain features of the popover parsing (like being able to use numbers for note values), but this may not be a bother to you (and for all those sorts of instances I can think of, there’s usually another way to do it anyways).

Though I will say, I do definitely agree with Dan that one should wait a good amount of time before changing things.

That said, I have made some changes myself. As an ex-Finale user, I did eventually need to set the quarter note to 5 instead of 6. Just wasn’t working for me, and as a frequent composer and engraver of choral things, I have muuuch more use for a longa than I do for a 128th note. As it’s a fairly arbitrary choice what note values go with what keys, I don’t have any qualms about this one. Relatedly, I’ve made one or two other changes to the numpad to make things work a little more in service of note entry instead of playback, so plus and minus are sharp and flat, zero is natural, and the . is a rhythm dot.

I doubt any of those changes would be beneficial to you or anyone else that’s not a Finale convert, but one small change that I’m quite happy with that I think a lot of folks might find useful is setting a shortcut for the “Select None” command. Too often, especially in my early days of using Dorico, I’d have something selected, and I’d press a number key or some other button hoping to input new music according to said keypress. Instead what would happen is that I’d inadvertently modify whatever was selected. Not too much of a problem… the times when I noticed. I wanted to be able to activate Select None by pressing esc-esc in quick succession, where the first esc would exit whatever tool was currently invoked and the second would deselect (yes, I know my Finale colors are showing again), but that didn’t work so well for some reason. What I eventually did was set it to ctrl-D and then wrote a little Autohotkey script to trigger ctrl-D any time Dorico was the active window and I pressed esc twice with no more than a 200ms gap. It’s been absolutely glorious ever since.

I’ve also got a few additional assorted assignments that have seemed to serve me well. Perhaps you might also find them useful. Alt-3 toggles accidental visibility. ` (on the tilde key on a US qwerty layout) toggles lv ties. I had “Export Current Layout as PDF” and “Export Current Page as PDF” both set, but they don’t seem to be working, so I’ll have to revisit those. Another one that I find really useful is that I’ve set alt-shift-N and alt-shift-M to “Copy to Stave Above” and “Copy to Stave Below” respectively. There’s subsequently a marker command that needs to be reassigned, but I have yet to need to use those, so I’m not bothered (and I set it to ctrl-alt-M, which is reasonably close). Also, I feel like this is very much in line with the way the rest of the program works, so I consider it an improvement :smiley:

Just my two and a half cents.

3 weeks? I broke that rule in the first 30 minutes of having Dorico :laughing:

I looked at the keystrokes for Note Durations and having grown very used to Sibelius’s setup changed them pdq. There was more than enough to learn without having to retrain my fingers as well (at least that’s how I rationalised it at the time). Four years on and aside from a couple of other changes I think those are the only changes I’ve made.

It is good advice, though, Dan. I’ve done a lot of work recently with Metagrid and part of that has involved working my way through all the Key Commands, assigned and unassigned. It’s very clear that a lot of thought has gone into what the assigned commands should be and there’s logic and symmetry behind it all. It doesn’t take much messing around to break all that.

Changing the shortcuts for note duration keystrokes is a bit of a special case, since the numbers 0-9 aren’t used for anything else.

Other keystrokes (like d) mean different things in different “modes” in Dorico. For example “d” in note entry mode always means “note D” and you can’t redefine that unless you hack some Dorico configuration files with a text editor, but you can define “d” to mean something else outside of note entry mode using Edit / Preferences / Key Commands.

If you are ever work in a situation where you are using somebody else’s computer (for collaborative work, training, or whatever) it can be a real pain if people start redefining the default short cuts to mean different things. That applies to any software, not just Dorico!

The main changes I’ve made to the default shortcuts are to remap 1 and 2, for shortening/lengthening the rhythmic grid resolution; I use this all the time. I’ve also adapted some shortcuts for beaming, inspired by Marc Larcher. My Mac laptop has a touch bar, so I use BetterTouchTool for some other shortcuts (select dynamics, turn condensing on/off, switch between page/galley view, etc.).

Nice to know my advice has brought some help (btw, I think I “invented” the 1-2 shortcut for grid resolution too, because the French keyboard layout made the default ones unusable… Glad to know it’s useful with other keyboards!) Thanks so much for the feedback, Stephen, you made my day!

Assigning shortcuts to ‘Duplicate to Staff Above /Below’ is one of the most productive things you can do.
I used Shift Alt N and M, to keep all the N and M things consistent – though this does remove the shortcut for Markers, which I don’t use much.

Remove Rests is also useful to have on keys: - I’ve used CTRL R.

I’ve also assigned Alt 1 to “Change Voice to Up-Stem Voice 1” and Alt 2 to “Change Voice to Down-stem Voice 1”, which allows me to put things in up and down voices, (having already created them).

I changed quite a few in my early days with Dorico. The only changes that I still use are ‘1’ and ‘2’ to decrease/increase the grid.