Master Page editing questions


I have a couple of questions about Master Page editing:

  1. Is there a way to copy frames from one Master Page to another?

On this help page:

It says “These steps do not apply to frames on master pages. You can copy frames on master pages when customizing the master page.”

But for the life of me, I can’t figure it out.

2. Is there a way to see the measurements other when dragging frames around? It’s incredibly hard to figure out where a current frame is - you’d have to drag it very slightly and try to guess what its initial position was.

  1. That instruction feels a bit confusing to me, as I don’t think there’s a way to copy frames within a master page. Of course it’s possible there’s a functionality there that I’m not aware of. Perhaps what that’s referring to is that the function of a master page is to duplicate frames across all applied pages and layouts.

  2. Open the properties panel at the bottom, where you can see exact measurements for the selected frame.

I prefer to work in points (there are 72 points in an inch), but YMMV.

Pay particular attention to the Constraints panel:

In this example, the frame is unlocked (or “disconnected”) from the bottom page margin, so the frame can have a “height” property. Sometimes you want to calculate frames in terms of absolute height or width, and sometimes you want them fixed distances from outside margins.

I missed those properties! Thanks for pointing them out :slight_smile:

Hi both, that sentence is to guide you to the linked topic “Customizing master pages”, where it describes the option to copy Left to Right, or Right to Left (within a master page pair) e.g. if you edited the left-hand page but want both pages to have those edits. You can’t copy frames from one master page to another though (e.g. from the First to the Default), so maybe I’ll review that at some point.

You could create a new master page (plus symbol) which is based on an existing master page. Then you have a copy of all frames in a new MP which you now can redesign as you like.

Careful with using “based on” master pages if you intend to edit the frames in the new master page - all frames that master pages have in common with their “based on” “parent” are linked, so if you e.g. change the tokens within a text frame, the “based on” master page gets changed as well, I believe.

Any thoughts on choosing frame sizes? Dan, you use points, is that so you can scale the frame relative to the font point size?

I’m putting frames around but it’s all pretty arbitrary.

@Lillie - that could be true, but I’ve found change propagation to be less than reliable in general in the editor. For example when creating a new page which is based on a template, changes to the template don’t always seem to propagate. Instead I use master page overrides which always work.

Master page overrides are likely the reason that your master page tweaks don’t propagate - once an individual page is overridden it is absolutely intentional that Dorico won’t further propagate master page tweaks to the individual page.

There’s no particular reason, except that points are a common currency in DTP, and they allow me to work entirely in integer values. A half inch is 36pt, a typical left tab stop for me is 12pt, etc.

@Leo, but here’s the thing.

  • Click on the “Create new page” button (icon of a page with a little +)
  • Choose some master page to base it on
  • The page is created, and is already set as an override
  • But I didn’t do anything!
  • OK, Click on the “Remove Overrides” button
  • Now the page disappears!

I don’t follow the logic of this UI, but anyhow it by default creates a page with overrides and you can’t remove them without deleting the page.

Yes, using the “Insert Page” function does create an override, because there’s now a page that exists whose layout differs from the existing master pager. If you want a page to look different, create a master page for the design you want, then choose “Insert Master Page Change” and make the change for the current page.

If you want a blank page to be inserted, create a master page that is blank, and change to that master page design for that current page only. Dorico will add pages after that to make sure the MA music frame gets “completed.”

Thanks Dan, but I still don’t get it!

“Yes, using the “Insert Page” function does create an override, because there’s now a page that exists whose layout differs from the existing master pager”

Is there a misprint in that? Assuming you meant “… differs from the existing master page” I still don’t understand. The concept seems simple - create a page based on a template, such as a Title page based on the “Title” master page. Why is this an override of anything?

Sorry stupid of me but I just don’t get it.

When you insert a page, it is by its very nature an override, because it’s a page that wouldn’t be there naturally, i.e. following the normal rules Dorico follows for how it creates pages, which is according to the needs of the music to be laid out.

Ah, thanks Daniel, now the thinking is clearer. So by default then, Dorico has a single plan for creating pages, which is that it creates a “First” page, then N “Default” pages, and the way to change that plan is with Master Page Overrides. Single page inserts - by design - are single page overrides. The only reason to do a single page override is for a one off - some page you need to stick in a part for which doesn’t need a master page design to be reused.

If you know you want to “add” a page using an existing master page, you don’t need to insert the page: you can just assign the master page directly to the relevant page - the end result will be the same. Sometimes I insert a blank page, assign the master page to it (so you see the green line marking in the Pages panel), then remove the override because then you can “see the steps”, but just assigning e.g. your “Title page” master page to page 1 will achieve the same end result. If the “title page” doesn’t contain a music frame, Dorico “pushes” the default pages back after your master page override.

Lillie, I was writing a followup arguing with you, but after re-reading your post a few times I see what you mean. Yes I’ve been doing the ‘see the steps’ approach by inserting a page, doing a master page override, then removing the page edit overrides. But I get what you mean, say you want to add a Title page and Notes page (most common operation I’m doing - all my scores have these). Well, just do a master page override of the first page to Title - the music will naturally fill in the following pages. For the notes page do the same on page number two. What about if I want a theme index (I have a master page for it) on page three - it contains music frames, will this work? You indicate that’s unsafe.

That’s not what I intended, more to illustrate how Dorico sees the functionality: “no frame for music? ok, I’ll start the music on the next page”

If your index master page uses a different frame chain, that should still work as expected - you’ve assigned it before without additional page overrides and got the intended result, right?

Yeah, so it should be fine. Messing with the master pages makes me a touch nervous, so thanks for the education, helps make it more comfortable.

Yesterday I tried creating a new First Master Page to add to an eventual set called “Dedication.” Apparently one has to create the MP before one can add a new set for export. As soon as I called up a Custom MP to start work, Dorico seemed to want to apply it to the part I had opened before I could even edit the MP to give it frames, etc. I found that very disconcerting and feared that my part might get twisted out of shape past my ability to repair it. I’m thinking of starting a new, working file to create the Dedication MP Set and then adding it back into the file I was originally working on.

Trying it out in a test project and “edit>undo” are both useful tools in playing around and working it out for yourself, so it feels embedded in your own terms.

Derrek, apologies in advance if this covers ground you’re well familiar with, but: custom master pages exist with master page sets. In Engrave mode, if you select a master page set from the “Current set” menu in the Master pages section of the Pages panel, that changes the master page set applied to the layout that’s open in the music area. There should be no requirement to “see” master pages in action in a layout unless they’ve been applied to pages or are one of the First/Default master pages. If you want to import a master page from another project, first you must import the set that contains it into the project, and them you can import individual master pages from that imported set to other existing sets in the current project. This shouldn’t affect the current layout, unless you ended up switching the master page set in use in that layout.