Moving notehead to left or right without moving stem?


Can’t find the answer in the manual.
How to move notehead only to left or right wihtout moving the stem.

I tried stem adjustment in engrave but no succes.

Kind regards,

Hi Johan, what is it you’re trying to achieve, do you have an extract of manuscript you can share that’s the sort of thing you’re after? It may be there’s a different but better way to achieve what you want but without knowing your intentions it’s hard to say.

If this what you are trying to achieve, one way is to go into Engrave mode, select the stem and drag the edit box on the end of the stem up or down to the opposite side of the notehead. You can select more than one at a time and drag them together.

Alternatively (also in Engrave mode), select the notehead(s), open the Properties panel and under Notes and Rests you will find Stem adj. . The default distance from the notehead to the end of the stem seems to be 3 spaces, or thereabouts. A value of -6 or -6.5 will flip the stem vertically while keeping it on the same side of the notehead and maintaining much the same length as before.

This method seems to work well enough for notes without tails (half notes and quarter notes). Beamed groups of eighths, sixteenths, etc. seem to only work by dragging the beam or by changing Start Y offset and End Y offset under Beaming in the Properties panel (again, select the noteheads, not the beam). On individual (non-beamed) notes with a tail (eighths, sixteenths, etc.), the tail will not flip with the stem, so it looks like in the screenshot. As Dorico is at the moment, I doubt that there is a “native” way of changing the tail orientation and probably will not be for quite some time (if ever) - my guess is that the priority would not be as high as for more “standard” notational features.

Here is a partial solution for non-beamed individual tailed notes.

In Write mode, select the note, add an interval and then use alt-up/down arrow to move the new notehead to make a unison.

In Engrave mode, select only the notehead on the “correct” side of the stem. In Properties panel > Common > Custom scale, enter the value of 1. The selected notehead will effectively disappear. Because it has greatly decreased in size but it still attached to the stem, it has “moved” closer to the stem and is now obscured by the normal-size notehead.

For the notes that are on a space, there is a very small gap between the notehead and the start of the stem. This is because the placement of the stem is based on there being two notes attached to it, and the other note, if it was still normal size, would cover up that gap. At normal viewing size and when printed, the gap might not be noticeable unless you know to look for it. For notes on a line, including on leger lines, the line covers the gap.

There is no way of flipping the tail from the right-hand side of the stem to the left to give a complete mirror image of a “normal” note. The tail always stays attached on the right-hand side of the stem.

To clear the tail from the notehead, you can drag the end of the stem in Engrave mode, as I described in the previous post.


Thank you all, I will try everything tomorrow. Kind regards, Johan


Thanks about the unison trick.
I also used a vertical line.
See example. (used for education)
Find and correct wrong notes.
Kind regards,


I’m now playing with notehead sets.
Maybe even a better solution for my simple needs.

Kind regards, Johan

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You could create a new set of Noteheads and move the stem anchor positions to the opposite sides. Then select that notehead set where you need it.


Hello benwiggy,

That’s what I tried and it worked like charm.