Maximum Flows Allowed


I am planning to support our church to do a project that contains about 530 hymns. Each song is generally 1 page or maximum 2 pages of typical SATB choral music. If I use flows for contain all songs (1 flow for 1 song), is it possible for Dorico to handle so many flows? Or what would be the better solution for this kind of project to edit hundreds of songs into one book?

Thank you!

I don’t think there is a maximum number of flows but that strange things can happen if there are hundreds. This is what I would be trying first!

It would be easy enough to split your project if that ever happened. If you made changes to any of your Engraving/Layout Options etc then it would be easy enough to transfer them to the second file.

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Don’t do it all in one file. Do one file per hymn, then export each PDF and combine them in InDesign. I’ve done maybe 20 hymnals in Dorico using this method. The largest was 720 hymns plus 300 pages of service music. Worked great.

Hymnals are all about small details, which means hundreds of manual adjustments in each hymn. Make a change to the order, and you can easily lose everything. Too much risk. Better to “freeze” each hymn exactly as you want it.

InDesign is a beast, yes, but it’s perfectly suited for this sort of thing. You can pay for a subscription only on the month(s) you’re doing the layout work.


Thank you Daniel & Dan for the awesome tips! I am just an amateur and your professional experiences sharing really really helped me. I’ll try move on based on your suggestion and hopefully have good results for my church!


Don’t do mine - I’m not nearly as experienced at this type of thing.

I have done a few short books for Aebersold using a single Dorico file. It worked great having all the material in one file. Dorico has cool layout functions. But these were only 15-20 song compilations. Maybe I imagined it, but things did slow down a bit. But maybe old computer? Have you tried creating a page template set?

Note that most of the casting off operations cannot be parallelized, so it will use a single core. That’s why the longer the project (and the more complex too), the more you will feel some lagginess


I just finished the initial input and typesetting job of a hymnal project with 530 hymns. After all separated hymns are done, although it’s NOT recommended to use a single project file with 530 flows, I did an experiement to have all 530 hymns in one file. It turns out working ok. Dorico 5.0.20 handles the 530 flow fine, just becoming slower.

I now combine every 50 hymns in one project for further editing so whenever changes to the page template or notation/engraving options, it easier to manage.

I wish the batch processing in library manager can be happening soon, as it would be greatly helpful when working on projects with lots of files in the same page template and engraving/notation/layout options set.

I think it might be interesting to share my experience here about how many flows Dorico can actually do. I did this on a i7-1360p system with 16GB ram, Windows 11. But definitely having 530 flows in one project file is not a good idea to work on though.


Yes, this would be a lifesaver for me, since I consistently do one hymn per project!

In Dorico 3.5 there was some issue (with workarounds) for more that 100 flows. Now I have huge number of flows with no problems. I didn’t experiment more than 1’000…

I always do one piece/project. Using flows is no option for me.

We would need the “book function” of FrameMaker (and possibly InDesign, I don’t know it in detail), that has features that are useful for this kind of work.