Layout Tools

I’m creating a worksheet where I have a grid of music frames on the same page (3 per row). I’m expecting to find basic layout tools like “Center Frame”, “Align Frames”, “Distribute Evenly”, and so on, but I don’t see these kind of tools. Am I overlooking something or do I need to do the math to properly position items on the page?

Also, if there a reason why I can’t seem to lock or unlock multiple frames at once? It appears that if I select any more than one frame, the lock buttons are grayed out.

There are not yet tools to do that, no. You need to fiddle with the frame values, although I find myself accustomed to it fairly quickly.

Those of us that use this kind of functionality are definitely looking forward to more powerful features in the future.

Thanks, Dan! I appreciate the info.

Those of us that use this kind of functionality are definitely looking forward to more powerful features in the future.

I’m for sure one of “those” … so hopefully the future is near … :wink:

I was also just looking in vain for how to center a frame and was very disappointed to find out that it’s somehow not possible, save for the cumbersome workaround of fiddling with the values manually.

If the Dorico designers are listening, I hope they’ll reconsider the user workflow from the perspective of new users. Screen sharing or screen recording are valuable tools for gaining insight into how users actually use software. Even if this has been done, it would surely be helpful to do it again with new or even moderately experienced Dorico users. I’d volunteer for the developers to look over my shoulder while I try to accomplish fairly basic tasks that are often simple and intuitive in other notation software.

I have great respect for the Dorico team and all the power of this software, though honestly it seems most attention has been given to more complicated workflows while the simplest ones seem to have fallen by the wayside. If Dorico is indeed inspired by desktop publishing software, then how is it even possible that a basic center button has yet to be included even after years of development? (By this I mean centering frame, not centering text within a frame.) It’s understandable that certain features are very complicated and require much thought and development time, but with all respect, I don’t think they should come at the expense of the simplest ones that are easiest to implement. Hopefully this minor request can be implemented in the next update.

Every time a user says “it should be easy to implement this”, a software development fairy dies. :cry:

Which existing feature should they not have implemented to make time for this?

Of course there will be improvements in due course, but the order of implementation is entirely up to the team, and only they can know the priorities, capabilities and limitations.

Ben, I’m also a software developer, so I know all too well what you’re saying. That’s also why I almost always make small suggestions that are as simple as possible to implement but that would have a significant practical effect. An “Align center” button for frames would, I’m reasonably certain, be such a small suggestion. This very minor refinement almost certainly wouldn’t prevent the developers from releasing any of the significant features they’ve been so impressively adding so consistently.

Can anyone share where we can find these frame values? I’m looking all over, clicking around, searching through the menus, and searching the documentation, but how to accomplish something so basic as centering a subtitle frame eludes me, I’m afraid. Thanks in advance for any help.

Also, when I click and drag a text frame, only the distances to the top and left edge of the page (or music frame, or whatever the constraint is) are shown dynamically. The distance to the right edge isn’t displayed, so it’s impossible to find the actual center. The best I can do is eyeball it.

Note to others struggling with this issue: I did find a workaround, namely to create a text frame that stretches all the way to the left and right edges of the page contents (music frame), and then center the text inside there. This isn’t ideal because (1) it’s a workaround, and (2) it can be hard to double click and edit this text frame rather than an overlapping one, but it works for now. Just wanted to share this in case it helps anyone.

aef110, you can find values for the distances of each frame edge in the Properties panel at the bottom of the window. (If in doubt, check the Properties panel - it’s often the answer!) For most topics about moving things, I include a tip at the bottom about which properties control their offset, but this is indeed missing from frame-related topics. I’ve made a note, thanks.

For centering a subtitle, I’d probably recommend making the frame the full width of the page and using the text editor options (or indeed the relevant paragraph style for your subtitle) to center the text. (I see you’ve already done this - I’d still recommend this way as it gives you more flexibility if you e.g. change the subtitle and it gets longer, meaning if you’d made the text frame only as big as required you’d probably have to change it. You can also enter text frames by selecting any part of them, including a handle, and pressing Return.)

These sorts of more specific examples are on my list to work into the docs at some point - because you can do literally almost anything with frames/text/alignments, the general documentation does have to be quite general, but rest assured I do have plans to improve support for common operations.

You can ensure that the frame is centered by setting identical Right and Left values in the bottom panel. Note that the Height and Width properties in my screenshot above are disabled - all of the Frames properties here are tied to the constraints (padlocks) in the top of the left panel. For instance, you can lock a Frame to the Top and Left margins of a page, and set Height and Width values rather than Right and Bottom values.

Thanks, Leo and Lillie! :slight_smile:

@Lillie, yes,I figured out this workaround of making a full-width frame and then just centering the text inside the frame. It’s not quite ideal since my subtitle frame overlaps two other text frames, and when double clicking I end up editing the wrong frame. But this or the Properties panel will work for now.

I learn something new in every thread. Didn’t even realize that there were properties for frames, very useful.

You don’t necessarily have to have a separate text frame for each token - you can put lots of text in a single text frame, and format each line with different paragraph styles, and indeed individual words with whatever formatting you like using the text editor options or character styles. If your page around the subtitle is cramped, that might be worth considering. I frequently add subtitles within the same frame as the title, just adjusting the height of that frame as required.

Also the tip I mentioned - selecting any part of a frame and pressing Return - can be a handy way to get inside text frames in tight situations.

It’s also personal choice, but I for one much prefer to achieve centered text by making full-width text frames and horizontally aligning text in the centre of that - I find it much quicker to draw out frames that hit the page margins - particularly as you can start drawing “outside” the margins, and it ends up right at the edges. When moving frames around as well, I often use the edge as a bumper, and e.g. count the number of Ctrl/Cmd-right arrow/left arrow presses to move frames the same amount in on both sides.

Very useful! I’ve been in this situation.

Lillie I just noticed, I had deleted the default master pages in a project (didn’t need them as I made customs, and want to not accidentally select them and clean up). But on saving and restarting, they keep coming back, expected behavior?

When I have a center frame but need additional frames on left and right, I like to use the properties to indent the centered frame L and R by an equal (perhaps small) distance (10 or so) to make choosing the added right and left frames easier without choosing the centered frame by mistake. I find this particularly useful for running headers or footers that need L, R, & Center elements.

(Thank you for all your help here and in the documentation.)

Good to know, thanks for sharing your tips :slight_smile:

Don’t forget Shift-alt-click to cycle through different objects (here overlapping frames) before pressing enter to edit its content.