Layout strategy needed

After my first orchestral score input in Dorico I wonder how to proceed with the layout most effectively.
I want “hide empty staves” activated - but only on pages with two ore more systems. On other pages all staves should be displayed (in order to avoid reduced-height-systems or systems with exaggerated gaps; and also for clarity).

This depends of course on page turns at the appropriate places, which are not always identified by Dorico and which have occasionally to be defined manually (?). Since in the manual and in the forum it is emphasized over and over again that one should try to adjust settings as generally as possible (and rather not individually) I wonder if the following strategy is purposeful.

  • (hide empty staves is turned on in the settings)
  • define page turns manually where necessary according to entering or leaving instruments (avoiding pages with staves containing only one measure, if possible);
  • checking where more than one staff might be placed on a page
  • turn on manual visibility on all other staves

This might end up in a back and forth hasseling which reminds me somehow of my past Finale-times (although Dorico’s real-time adjustments are in no way comparable). I wonder if this process could be streamlined a bit.


At first, set Layout Options to have only 1 system per page, and disable the Vertical Justification (set the % to 100, so it never happens).

Then you can see how things fall, add System breaks where needed.

Then deselect the 1 system per page, and reduce the Justification %.

My work flow is more or less this:

  1. Set space size to work well with a “standard” page.
  2. Set note spacing so that the last system is sufficiently full.
  3. Hide empty staves.
  4. Go through the score and find a page (or consecutive pages) that fit only one system, add a frame break at the end (with reset checked) and one before (with show all systems checked). In this process you might also find orphans that you want to adjust with system breaks.

It would certainly be great to have a function to hide staves only if more systems will fit to the page, but there is none yet.

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