Keyboard shortcut preference

As a long time Sibelius User, I am having a hard time learning the new keyboard shortcuts + I am still doing most of my work on Sibelius.
I was thinking on changing my Dorico keyboard shortcuts to match Sibelius’.
i.e. Ctrl+T for Playing technique (instead of Ctrl+P) and Ctrl+Alt+T for Tempo change instead of Ctrl+T, etc.
Do you think there’s an obvious reason why I should avoid that?

I think one of the biggest arguments against doing that is that when you read in our docs or watch our videos and they describe the keystrokes, then most of it won’t be true for you because you’ve mapped those keystrokes to something else. Lots of our keystrokes have a number of extra parameters, and it’s not trivial to set those up. So you’ll end up in a state where (ultimately) you won’t be able to use Dorico fluently because you’ll have incomplete or inconsistent keystrokes. Many of Dorico’s keystrokes don’t map onto a Sibelius equivalent.

I would advocate thinking of Dorico and Sibelius as very separate applications, and learn Dorico’s own keystrokes. It will be slower at first, but as you get more fluent, muscle memory will kick in and you’ll get the benefit in the medium term. Otherwise I think you may have the temptation to try to use Dorico like Sibelius, and that will be frustrating, because you won’t get the best out of it.

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Fair enough. For what’s it worth, the numpad layout in sibelius (while is problematic on laptops with no numpad) allowed me to input music with one hand basically stationary on the keyboard and the other hand on my midi keyboard.
With Dorico’s shortcuts I find my hand moving around a lot on the keyboard. I do see how it’s ideal when working with both hands on the keyboard, but I personally prefer to have one hand on the midi keyboard and that proves a little cumbersome.

For instance, when I want to insert a tenuto dotted eighth on Sibelius I have my right hand on the numpad, and with my hand COMPLETELY stationary in place I can press the “-” the “3” and the “.”:
To do the same in Dorico I have to press “5”, “.”(the “.” on the numpad doesn’t work for some reason so I have to use the one next to the space bar), and Shift+3 to get the tenuto.
I don’t mind that it requires 4 keys instead of three, but I do mind that my hand has to move across the keyboard and back (from the “5” to the “.”, then back to the shift+3). Since the distance my hand has to travel is quite big, I can’t do it without lowering my eyes from the screen to the keyboard to see that I am actually pressing the “5” and not the “4”, the “.” and not the “,” and so on:

So again, I do see how this works perfectly smoothly when having two hands on the keyboard. But it’s definitely not an ideal setting for those of us using midi keyboards.

While you may argue that it is only a matter of getting used to the new keyboard shortcuts, I argue that many of us use midi keyboards, and being forced to use two hands on the keyboard is really slowing down the workflow.

Any thoughts ?

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The dot on the keypad is assigned to do something related to playback, I think, which is in common with Cubase’s default transport shortcuts. I don’t use a computer with a keypad, so it’s not something I’ve committed to my personal muscle memory. Indeed, in general we don’t use the keypad by default, because most computers don’t have them any more, though you should be able to redefine the dot on the keypad to produce a rhythm dot without any trouble.

The point of us providing the ability to edit keyboard shortcuts in the software is to allow you to work however you feel most comfortable. While I agree with Paul that trying to make Dorico behave like Sibelius is a bad idea in general – and is not in any case possible outside of a few common note input shortcuts – if there are specific changes you want to make that allow you to work more quickly in Dorico, I’d encourage you to go for it.

Daniel, Thank you for your reply.
Could you respond to my issue about having to have both hands on the computer keyboard to work efficiently?
I feel that those of use who use midi keyboards represent a significant enough demographic.

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I’m sorry, I thought I had: if you find it helpful to assign shortcuts to the numeric keypad so that you can keep one hand on the keypad and the other on your MIDI keyboard, then please do so. That’s why we provide the ability to customise key commands in the program.

I don’t have a numeric keypad on my computer, so when I’m using a MIDI keyboard, I find my right hand moving naturally between the duration keys, the articulation keys and the Space bar, and I don’t have a problem with it, but if you do find it problematic and want to try and squish all of the commands down onto the keypad, by all means have at it. I don’t see any compelling reason to change our default shortcuts, however, for the reasons I’ve explained.

I am not nitpicking. I believe this is a major issue.

The solution I am after is not one that uses the keypad, but rather one that allows us to use some of the basic note input features with a single hand.

Let’s say I am using my left hand.
Moving from the number 1 to the number 9 on the keyboard, with a single hand, without lowering your eyes from the screen is nearly impossible.
When I want to input some articulations, I am in an even bigger trouble because it’s all the way to the right of the keyboard (except staccato-tenutu which is all the way to the left), when shift has to be involved it gets yet more complicated.

Specifically note input, including duration, slurs, force duration, and basic articulations should be in my opinion in a single area on the keyboard. Such that a single hand on the computer keyboard + single hand on the midi keyboard, would work efficiently.

It’s seemingly not a “big deal” but as Dorico matures, it’s likely to keep most of its keyboard shortcuts in place (because long time users will have already grown accustomed to them), and therefore, I believe this issue should be addressed as early as possible.


Maybe a feature that you can switch on “quick input” will be great, and would not break the current defaults.
I love the keyboard shortcuts when I can have both hands on the keyboard, when I’m not inputting notes (i.e. editing, transposing, engraving, adjusting, etc.) but when I need to input a client’s score, it’s really really unreasonably slow.

5, “.”, Shift+tilde
4 , “]”
7, “[”
6, shift+3

I just cannot keep my eyes on the screen this way.

I dare you to try to input the bar I attached with a single hand (left hand on computer keyboard, right hand on midi keyboard).
So having both hands on the computer keyboard may be the solution, but I would hate giving up my midi keyboard, especially for parts where I need to input large chords.
Then multiply it by 400 bars, and 32 staves.

If it is as important to you as you say, surely it is worth your time to customize YOUR shortcuts on your computer(s), as Dorico allows you to do. The Dorico Team is spending their time implementing features that larger groups of users are waiting for.

Dear Michael,

Just to let you know — because I find it soooo faster — when you have a dotted 8th and a 16th, it is really fast to input two 8th, select them and press semi-colon. Actually, I deal with those dotted rhythms one or twice per page, selecting all those 8th notes and transforming them with a keystroke. If there are chords, you must make sure that chord mode is off.

Michael, I certainly do not disagree that efficiency of note input is an extremely important point, but I think you are missing my point: most keyboards don’t have a numeric keypad. No Mac laptops have a numeric keypad. No Mac desktops ship with a keyboard with a numeric keypad. Most Windows laptops do not have a numeric keypad. Therefore most users do not have a numeric keypad. Because most users do not have a numeric keypad, we have designed our note input shortcuts to make use of the keys that users do have, which are the keys on the main keyboard.

I personally can reasonably reliably type note durations, accidentals and articulations on the keyboard of my MacBook reasonably fluently when using a MIDI keyboard, though I concede that I have had longer to learn this than you have. I do need to glance at the keyboard from time to time, but I don’t find this at all problematic, since the keyboard and the display are very close together on a MacBook, and I do like to look at the screen from time to time to see what I am doing…

Cards on the table: the current default note input shortcuts are not up for grabs. We’re not changing them. But we strongly encourage users who find the default shortcuts less than ideal to customise them. That’s why it was possible from the very first version of Dorico that we shipped in October last year to customise them.

Thanks Daniel. Fair enough.

FWIW I mostly use a keyboard with a keypad, but no MIDI keyboard. I mapped the keypad so I can enter music quickly with the left hand on the main keyboard and the right hand on the keypad:

Number keys - note durations.
“.” - rhythm augmentation dot.
Top row - flat, natural, sharp, and double-flat and double-sharp with the ctrl key.
Right-hand column (only 2 keys on Windows, not 3 as on Macs) - move selected note an octave up or down.

That leaves the left hand mostly typing A-G, Q and R. I unmapped the zoom in/out keys Z and X, since I found I was hitting them by accident more than by design (and I can never remember which of Z and X is “zoom in” and which is “zoom out”). Ctrl + and ctrl - work just as well for me, and several other apps also use those shortcuts.

Daniel might not totally approve of messing up some of the carefully thought-out philosophy behind some of the default short cuts, but I don’t care - this works for me :wink:

I do totally approve of you making whatever modifications you feel allow you to work most efficiently with the program!

I liked Daniel’s reply better: :slight_smile: "we strongly encourage users who find the default shortcuts less than ideal to customise them. "

…but still wonder: what is the thing about keystrokes with “extra parameters” and “incomplete or inconsistent keystrokes” about?

I mean that many of the internal commands can take a number of parameters that can customise their behaviour, and we have set these up very carefully (eg direction=left or direction=right). We have tried to create default shortcuts that have some consistency to them (eg shift+letter for creating different types of object). Just be aware that if you are defining your own, then you may have to do quite a lot to get back the same functionality that we are providing by default.

Also if you see in one of our Youtube videos some neat trick using ctrl+alt+shift+Q then whatever that shortcut would have done won’t do anything for you, and you’ll have some hunting around to discover what the function is that you need to map your own shortcut to. We are adding new features and new commands by the day, and if you define your own shortcuts then you may miss out on some of this new functionality.

At the end of the day, we provide the ability for you to customise shortcuts to your own taste, but I’m just wanting to make you aware of some arguments for sticking with the defaults.

Something we don’t yet have which may solve some of these problems is that we could add some functionality to allow you to assign shortcuts from the default set if they don’t clash with keys you’ve already defined. That way, you would have the ability to use the default shortcuts for new functionality that we’ve added if they don’t clash with your existing overrides.

Speaking from experience, I think Paul is very right. I only recently purchased the application although I used the trial version as soon as it was released. I had much difficulty at first accomplishing my goals. I was frustrated and thus watched the release of the maintenance upgrades to finally re-convince myself to take the plunge. I’m so very glad I did. I think that I was too used to trying to do things the old way. (“Why is this buried in settings instead of there just being a button on a panel? Why do I have to go to engrave mode to do XYZ when I’d like to do it as I input notes?” . . . . things of that sort.) Once I committed to simply doing things within the parameters of how Dorico was designed (and not without good reasons!) things were much easier for me. There are still certain things that I miss about Sibelius (a few features I tweak regularly that I have to go into a menu for) but now that I’ve committed to the Dorico way, those motions are just as comfortable as any buttons in Sibelius. FWIW, adjusting the keyboard shortcuts couldn’t be easier, just go to preferences.

I think Romanos401’s post today should be mandatory reading for all new users!!!


Is this a Sibelius trick or a Dorico trick? I just tried it in Dorico and nothing happened, but I was using 2 existing 8ths in Write mode. I was not in insert mode. In Caret mode, I get a tuplet popover. It seems the music I interact with has lots and lots of dotted 8th/16th pairs, so a trick you be very handy!

This is a Dorico trick ! You must not be in insert mode NOR in chord input mode. Select the notes with the same value, press ; and that’s it ! You can have a dotted quarter and 8th (with two quarters) or dotted 8th and 16th…
Very handy !