Keyboard shortcut preference

Whether one should press a semicolon or a period (dot) may depend on the language configuration of one’s computer keyboard.

I too find some frustration in the differences between shortcuts in Dorico and Sibelius, and thought about doing what you suggest. But then I think back on when I first started working with Sibelius (some 15+ years ago) and the frustrations I had just accomplishing simple tasks (“how DO you get rid of all those [automatically added] empty measures at the end of the piece?”). Coming from Emagic Logic, and a brief foray with Finale, Sibelius was totally foreign to me… and totally frustrating. Daniel had suggested then to learn the shortcuts of the program to quickly accomplish tasks at hand… and [amazingly] he was right. With time, study, and questions (and the ever-helpful forum), Sibelius became a joy to use, and things which had at one time seemed arduous and time-consuming became a project quickly completed – once I fully understood how the program works.

I expect that same will be true for Dorico. I eagerly anticipate the day when the program is as fully developed as Sibelius, and when I understand the workings of Dorico as well as I do now for Sibelius… for I truly believe it will be a far superior program in the future. And with that in mind, I’ll learn the new shortcuts, and about “flows” and “layouts”, and “players” as quickly as I can, and use it when I can (although I probably will still use Sibelius for my time-critical projects until my understanding and the program maturity develops appropriately [i.e., chords, SATB reduction, etc.).

This was all very interesting to read!

I confess to missing keypad entry – I’d have my left hand on the midi keyboard, and my right hand on the keypad without having to move from a small compact matrix. But, yes, no more keypads in my life!

For Windows users, there’s another fantastic option in Dorico, which is pen or touch for selecting the note values and articulations. My left hand is on the MIDI keyboard for pitches, which I mostly don’t have to look at. My right hand is poking on the rhythm/articulation palette, and as a bonus my eyes are also looking right where the score is. I’m not sure if you were planning for touch, but the size of the palette is perfect for it.

It is certainly no coincidence! I’m glad you find that provides you with a good and ergonomic experience.

Being left handed, I like to use the keypad as much as possible. (BTW, the last 2 Windows laptops I bought both have keypads.) I don’t like how the note durations are mapped so I tried to remap them to how I have them in Sibelius If I remap the 4 to quarter note, the 4 will then do nothing. Not even the default 1/8 note.

Babe8, there’s a bug in 2.0 that means it’s not possible to map shortcuts that are two levels deep in the shortcut structure. Unfortunately this includes rhythmic values.

The team are aware and have promised a fix.

Dear Babe8,
This problem has been reported several times and is corrected in the forthcoming update. You still have to cope with it for two weeks and then you’ll be able again to change those shortcuts as you wish!

I’ll add my experience to the conversation: my laptop has a numeric keypad, and that is honestly a huge priority for me.

I’ve mapped all the durations and the dot to the keypad, which allows me to keep RH there at all times.

I use the big + and - keys for up and down octave. Love this one as well.

Q is interval popover, great for quickly entering chords. Enter a note, then Q, 3, enter. Or whatever value.

Everything else I’ve left as the defaults. Once the big gets fixed, I’m going to remap the tenuto mark, since I use that a lot.

Dear Dan,
What have you done to the chord mode (q keystroke by default)? What is the benefit to get rid of it and replace it by the interval function (keystroke i by default)?

I just don’t care for the chord feature. I tried it and didn’t like it. So I guess I’ve effectively removed any key command for it. I find the interval popover faster, personally.

And I like the location of the Q. It’s up at the top corner, out of the way.

Ok. It’s not there for me, nor do I share your opinion about chord mode — it can be very helpful (compulsory) when copying lyrics into triplets!)

Dorico’s written by a team of people that used to work for Sibelius. They, arguably the most qualified notation software team anywhere in the world, spent years weighing up what could be done better.

Trust that they know what they’re doing, and do put in the effort to learn the software; it’ll pay off. It won’t be intuitive if you’re used to Sibelius, because it’s different software structured in a different way. Leave your preconceptions at the door and it’ll be a much smoother learning experience :wink:


I find that comment funny, since coming from Sonar/Cakewalk, I find Cubase anything but “intuitive” whereas coming from Finale (and not expecting any similarities) I found Dorico logical.

“Intuitive” depends entirely on expectations, and I expect that if I spent as much time studying Cubase as I have studying Dorico (and Finale for years before that), I would then find Cubase easy to use as well.

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I’m assuming this is available in Elements (comparison chart doesn’t list this at all), but one of the best features of Dorico is that you can customize the shortcuts to be whatever you want. As a Finale user of 25 years, I’d encourage you to at least spend a month with Dorico and learn its shortcuts, but you are free to throw out that advice and program whatever key commands you want. I’ve certainly customized quite a few myself. Just check out Edit/Preferences/Key Commands where you can program what you want. There are some advanced ways to program things not available here with json hacks, but that’s another topic.

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Well any DAW for me has been intuiutive the best is Logic but I do not use mac. Intuitive is that you can think o How can I insert a C note? oh pressing C… and so on. That is intuitiveness… or at least that’s what I mean. Doesnt matter the context if you know that C is C then you can think C is a good letter to use. But whatever I just don’t want to discuss anythiung. I’ll delete my comment cuz this will have no point. Elements is just no enought… everything that I need to do I need pro… so I have no the best experience with the software so till the universe let me have extra money I’ll think in the upgrade.

In my opinion, with any complex software, the more effort you put in to understand the software’s design and intended workflow, the more you’ll get out of it. And in the end, once comfortable with Dorico, you’ll hopefully find that it provides you a better workflow than alternatives (I can only speak for myself, but that’s why I’m here versus other notation software).

To give you an analogy: About a year ago I switched keyboard layout from qwerty to Dvorak. I’m a software developer by trade, I type 8+ hours a day, music on the side, and I was suffering from RSI. I switched to Dvorak as it’s designed to be more efficient in terms of finger motion, reducing strain, allowing you to work faster with less effort etc. At first it was really tough. Fighting years of built in qwerty muscle memory - I was so slow at typing. It was awful. But now, one year later, I’m faster than I ever was, I’m more comfortable than I ever was, and every time I’m forced to use a qwerty keyboard on someone else’s computer, it’s an extremely uncomfortable and awkward experience. I never want to switch back, I love Dvorak.

In the same way, I really like Dorico, and I don’t want to switch back. But it definitely requires - and deserves - a serious investment of effort from you, as a user, to learn to think how it thinks, and learn how to work in that mindset.


I didn’t know about that Keyboard, sounds very interesting… :smiley: and yeah… but to have the best experience I need to upgrade to pro cuz Elements is not enought for me so… I have to wait till that day to to invest the time to learn it.

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Some of the participants in this thread may find of interest.


Just wanted to remember everyone the fantastic feature you can find in the Preferences/Key commands: there is a button called “Print Summary” and it will display in the browser ALL the key commands, also your personalized commands in a very nice way so you can have a fast overview about them!!! The Dorico team is genius, and this little feature demonstrate it!!! Go and try this out :slight_smile: Cheers everybody!

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