Key Command Jedi


question for the Hive. Who here rates themselves as a “Key command Jedi”. I have Stream deck but i’m now trying to bypass that and learn as many key commands as possible . any tips ? is there a point at which memory saturation is reached…do you find this is still the best way ?



Write a comprehensive manual that requires you to familiarise yourself with every possible key command, in every context, and in five different languages – worked well for me!

Joking aside, there’s nothing quite like sheer familiarity and use, I think. Finding a piece of music that involves quite a few different notations and typing it in manually from a PDF can work well, or just forcing yourself to use the key commands every time you need to do something that has one as an option when working on your own music.

That and explaining to yourself how the logic behind key commands influences them: like Alt/Opt modifying things, Ctrl/Cmd modifying by a larger amount, Shift modifying items’ duration, Shift plus letter opening popovers in Write mode, etc.


Most of the ‘factory’ commands are logical – Shift something creates an element in the score, N for notes, D for dynamics, Q for… Quords… :rofl:
Alt arrows always moves something; Shift Alt arrows arrows usually makes something bigger or smaller.

When creating your own key commands, remember that Dorico can create sequences of consecutive keys: e.g. one key followed by another.

I use Command F followed by a letter to Filter objects, using the same letters that work with SHIFT. So Command F, then L to filter Lyrics; Command F, then X to filter Text; Command F, then D to filter Dynamics; etc, etc…

Depends on your memory, I suppose. Me, I’ve got a brain like a … thingummy.


This I didn’t know. Damn clever those Dorico peeps !

Great idea…thanks


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By popular request, we beefed up the logic/philosophy explanation of Dorico’s key commands at the beginning of the manual recently:

And there’s a short summary of the logic behind note duration key commands here:


Thanks to my stream deck, I was able to forget about 70% of the key commands I regularly used… :wink:


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I know…but I am getting fed up of the scrolling. Up and down through menus. Sure at the most it’s 3 buttons then your there…but still


No, I use only a single page with the absolutely most used commands, but I was planning on this and got an XL… Just the ones with complicated combos or the ones that are cumbersome on a German keyboard layout. The rest I’m doing with the computer keyboard.
I also use a MIDI keyboard for input, which frees up A, B, C, D, E, F and G for other uses!


I make extensive use of grouping key commands under “umbrella” terms, so just about everything related to dynamics (group, ungroup, link, align etc) all begin with Option-D, or all the stuff in Engrave mode all begin with Cmd-E. For various miscellaneous commands, they’ll be Control-Letter, or Control-Shift-Letter. Really helps with remembering what I want, and because of the nesting capability, they all organize well.

However, I did all of that via Keyboard Maestro, because it didn’t even occur to me that Dorico might have that capability built in! In KM, it’ll give a popup window, which is handy if I know I want a filter (I also use Cmd-F for all of those) but then I can see all the filters if I can’t quite remember what my next command was supposed to be. I don’t know if the Dorico system does that either, but now I’m tempted to convert everything over to Dorico native commands now!

I think your desire to master the shortcuts is time well spent. The fastest developer I know has that title just because he is lightning quick at using shortcuts. It’s not due to some lightning mental agility, but because as soon as he thinks of something he can ‘bzfffffffft’ and a moment later it’s done. Like navigate to some spot, bang in some code, do a search and replace other items, then compile and run, in the time it would take to mouse around the first few commands.

My aim is to work up to that speed with Dorico, what makes it challinging is the need for multiple keyboards - computer, piano and numpad. But it looked to me like there are two parts, note entry and ‘the rest of it’. For note entry I loaded my numpad with everything I could, chord mode, start/end slur, note durations of course, navigation, tuplet entry etc. Then I have one hand on the numpad and one on the piano.

For the second part which is the finishing (dynamics, articulations, duplicating parts etc) it’s all computer keyboard. As for how you get faster with that I have only one piece of advice

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Appreciating totally that everyone has different tolerances for change, may I nevertheless ask for your (and anyone else’s) advice and guidance here, please? On the experience of StreamDeck.

I actually enjoy mouse + keyboard when inputting and editing Dorico (5 on 13.4).

I’ve got very used to the focused little world which it’s so easy to get ensconced in near the screen - mouse at the ready and/or fingers to the keys when that’s quicker and more (easily) remembered. (Although occasionally I try to halt playback in Write mode with Esc being a long-ago fugitive from Sibelius.)

As I say, every style of work is different.

But is there any kind of consensus that introducing, say, the XL because it has more tiles (???) can become second nature? Or even faster and more ergonomic that the keyboard and caret?

Or is it in the end more confusing to have to keep switching from the keyboard/mouse environment to pressing buttons?

Is it ever possible to assign - again, in the case of the XL with 32 - all the most common Dorico operations such that - eventually - everything can be done that way? If so, does it then become only a question of learning the layout of 32 tiles?!strong text

I’m right-handed, have had bi-lateral carpal tunnel surgery (nearly 20 years ago) because I overused the keyboard: I’ve been lucky, though, that since retiring, only my thumbs sometimes give me any (relatively mild) trouble… the space bar.

Thanks so much for anyone’s ideas!

Mods: don’t wish to hijack this thread… my apologies if this post needs to be moved elsewhere :slight_smile: ,

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I actually loved it at first. But over the last year have found that i’d prefer key commands as they have the potential to be less distracting.



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Thanks, ed!

Can Stream Deck only ‘replace’ keyboard shortcuts; or can you perform anything that can be done on the keyboard and/or mouse in Dorico?

it doesn’t actually use keyboard shortcuts. It talks directly to Dorico. I just don’t like having to go up and down through pages and hunt. But it’s very comprehensive and will help you learn Dorico



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Thank you , ed!

I’ll let you know about my personal workflow hopefully tomorrow!

Till then, Benji

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That’s very much appreciated, Benji !

I’ve never picked up a StreamDeck for exactly this reason - I like to keep my hands where they are, and minimize how much I need to move them. I’ve been doing this for over 10 years now, and have never had any sort of repetitive stress problems.

Like @DanMcL 's “fastest developer”, I too try to make key commands and macros that allow me to work at the speed of my thoughts (though, unfortunately, most of my delays are with my brain rather than the process :confused: ). Ideally, I won’t even look at my hands because I know where things are by physical memory, though for anything where my hand has to cross the keyboard, I inevitably do need to look down. A stream deck is definitionally antithetical to that philosophy, as you HAVE to look at it, and you HAVE to move your hand, in order to use it at all! Any time my hand has to move positions, or my eyes have to leave the screen, is time lost on process and not on solving the next orchestration/engraving/compositional problem.


Thanks so much for that, @Composerbell!

I wonder whether you realize how helpful what you wrote is :-).

As a matter of fact I did have to have bilateral carpal tunnel surgery in 2005, 2006; and a De Quervain’s compartment operation… too much keyboarding.

But being partially-sighted and just having developed floaters, I do rely on muscle-memory and familiarity with the keyboard and mouse in close conjunction with the caret’s (etc) position on screen in Dorico to do what’s now very familiar to me. And which I enjoy, of course.

whose way of working seems really something to be aimed for, doesn’t it.

All three of you seem to be saying that to add a means of input is to add - essentially - (momentary) delay and potentially actually a distraction. That’s what I feared and makes perfect sense.

It comes to us all. Yes. I relate. (I’m in the middle of updating my own personalized documentation to/for my use (=love :slight_smile: ) of Dorico 5 and feel that eventually perhaps 18 pages is very accessible, though I wouldn’t be without @Lillie_Harris 's 1,800! Thanks, Lillie!)

That seems to be at the centre of it, @Composerbell, doesn’t it. Thanks again!

I also have the perhaps insurmountable snag (waiting to hear back from Elegato) of not having a free USB port. I’d try it with a powered hub, if I decided to buy a Stream Deck XL; but they say that’s not guaranteed.

So maybe it’s just the appeal of a new ‘toy’ that I need to resist?

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Just a shout out for the jump bar and making your own aliases.

You can type any command in full, add the :heavy_equals_sign: sign and then type any nemonic you like and it assigns that nemonic as a shortcut without needing to go into the preferences to set it manually. It makes controlling things an absolute breeze. And I have found much less use for my stream deck now that the jump bar is a thing. You remember one shortcut (J) and then just type a short name that makes perfect sense to you. Easy.