Key Signatures: Insufficient Documentation

I’m new to Dorico. I’ve used Finale for 20+ years on desk- and laptops, but I want to be able to also work on my iPad. I expected a steep learning curve at the beginning but I’m disappointed with what is available in the user manual and the forums to answer questions about how to do basic things.

For example, the section on key signatures tells me what a key signature is, but there are no instructions on how to set or change a key signature. Am I missing something?

Yes. Check Related Links at the bottom of any manual page. As explained here, some pages just explain what something is, and others describe how to do something.

The search within the documentation is also very useful:

You might also benefit from our First Steps guide that’s tailored to new users, which is a step-by-step walkthrough of creating a short piano piece and includes adding key signatures.

I hope that as you get familiar with how Steinberg manuals are structured, you find it of use when using Dorico. You can always share feedback here, and in particular I’m interested in hearing if any particular search terms don’t bring up useful results, as one thing that I can do is add relevant keywords or indeed related links to topics to aid the manual’s overall usability.


Thank you Ben and Lily for these responses.

I’ve looked through the PDF and online versions of both the Help and the First Steps documentation. I did figure out how to change a key signature by experimentation — the search results took me to many places that talk about a key command, but none that showed me how the iPad panels work (tip: the pencil brings up the popover, but a finger brings up the panel — an undocumented feature?) — but changing key does not transpose the notes! I understand that this might be useful sometimes, but at least in my work, the vast majority of cases where I change the key, I do so in order to transpose the music. I don’t understand why this would not be the default function of changing a key signature. But never mind that.

So I searched for transpose. I got literally 0 hits. So I’m at a dead end. An online general search has gotten me no further. I’m attaching an image of my search for “transpose.’

I’ve similarly not found useful threads on this topic in the forum.

Sorry to be so down, but I’m a RTFM kind of guy, and am pretty good at following directions when I can find them.

Dorico doesn’t perform transposition when you change the key signature – that is done as a separate operation. You can access the Transpose dialog from the context menu button at the very right-hand end of the secondary toolbar, which is the grey bar directly below the main toolbar.

You’re searching in the Dorico Pro for desktop help, rather than the iPad help, by the way. You will find the Operation Manual for Dorico for iPad here. If you type “transpose” into the search box, the top hit is this page.

Unfortunately that’s also the manual for version 3.5.12 (as shown in the top left corner) so that won’t include mention of the panel/popover switch in the Notations toolbox (added in the iPad version then for desktop in v4).

Additionally, the in-built search on requires more specific input than an external search engine, so exact spelling is required: searching “tranpose” rather than “transpose” won’t bring up relevant results, I’m afraid. (Edit: won’t currently bring up relevant results: it’s sunny today and I’m feeling nice, so I’m putting English-only misspellings for transpose/transposition/transposing into the manual.)

Your search may have turned up empty because you mistyped Transposed without the first s, something I am often prone to do myself.

Thank you all for your help — and D’oh! on me for the misspelling of transpose.

Yes, that iPad-specific manual is exactly what I was missing!

I’m figuring out some basic things like how to select items, and did finally manage to transpose the piece — chord symbols and all. I’ll study this manual some more and with some luck I’ll get my chops up in a few weeks.

Thanks again for your patience and time.

Great! Do please come back if you run into any other issues – we’re here and happy to help.