Multiple Undo and selecting items

This is a bit of a bugbear if mine, both in Dorico and Sibelius before it. I accept that it’'s perhaps unlikely to change, but I really wish it could.

The issue is the act of selecting notes being included in the Undo sequence. If I’m editing a bunch of notes, and then decide to undo several actions, the number of times I have to hit undo is far greater because it not only goes through the “hard” actions (shifting, deleting etc) but also every note or notes I selected or deselected during that process, which to me feels unnecessarily cumbersome.

Maybe others find this useful, but I can’t think of many other programmes that do this, and I’d much rather undo dealt only with actions that actually directly impact (i.e. make a change in) the score. Or alternatively, an option in the preferences menu to disable this behaviour. It currently takes twice as long to undo multiple actions.

While I’m on the subject of multiple undos, is there any chance of an ‘undo/redo’ list, in order to better facilitate this?

Selection and action are very closely linked in Dorico, which means that we can’t easily decouple them in undo/redo. But perhaps in the future we could have an option for undo/redo to skip to the next action, effectively folding all of the intervening selection changes into a single undo step. It’s not a high priority for us at the moment, however.

I agree that having more descriptive undo/redo messages would also be helpful, and this is definitely on our backlog.

Thanks for your response, Daniel. I appreciate it’s not particularly high priority. be nice to eventually be able to streamline the undo/redo process for all us indecisive composers!

This, even after using Dorico for a long time, still drives me nuts and makes undo/redo almost useless (for me).

Daniel, what about Undo History?
I mean a stack of actions/selections that I can choose and Undo with one click…


Yes, this is something we are considering for the future.

I agree that Undo History would be nice.

However, the fact that Dorico (and Sibelius) treat selection as operations that have their own explicit places in the Undo/Redo queue is, for me, a big advantage. In Dorico, I frequently find myself making much more complex and intricate selections than I do in, say, a word processor. Selecting the right material can involve multiple steps, such as making a passage selection over a long stretch of music (which involves scrolling), manually adding a few more objects, running a filter, then deselecting the remaining bits I don’t want, before finally (say) adding a staccato sign. If I go wrong at any point in this process, or accidentally add an accent rather than a staccato at the end, it’s GREAT that Dorico only takes one step back when I undo, rather than sending me right back to square one.

I get that this behaviour is different from most other programs, and I acknowledge that it means we generally have to invoke Undo more times than in other programs. But for me this is a valuable feature. And there are other kinds of programs – for instance, vector art editors like Adobe Illustrator – where the frustration of accidentally undoing some intricate series of selection operations just because I accidentally nudged the arrow key at the end makes me wish they behaved more like Dorico!

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To be fair to Illustrator and Photoshop, they have separate “Step Backwards” and “Undo” commands, which is possibly a model that we could consider for the future, though it wouldn’t be a simple change!

I agree with randywombat. There’s nothing worse** than carefully Command-clicking on a bunch of stuff, or applying successive Filters, only to lose the selection from an accidental tap on the Trackpad.

While it can be marginally tedious to tap Z a few more times to get back to what you wanted, the benefit outweighs the extra keypresses, in my view.

It would also be nice if the Edit menu reported the Undo action: e.g. “Undo Delete”; “Undo Nudge”; so that you can see what’s coming.

** For limited values of ‘nothing worse’.

They do, and for what it’s worth, that is something that endlessly trips me up. I expect Cmd+Z to work the same across all programs, and it doesn’t. Horses for courses!

Sorry for reviving this old thread. I was wondering why Dorico incorporated (de)selection into it’s Undo command, which is sometimes annoying, and found this. Regarding a possible solution:

To be fair to Illustrator and Photoshop, they have separate “Step Backwards” and “Undo” commands, which is possibly a model that we could consider for the future, though it wouldn’t be a simple change!

I would think of it like this:

  • A distinction would be made between “selection/deselection” commands and “action commands”.
  • “Step Backwards” would behave like “Undo” does currently.
  • “Undo” would simply be an automatic repetition of “Step Backwards” until exactly 1 “action” command has been undone.

Of course, we could call it “Undo” and “Undo Action” so that the current “Undo” functionality doesn’t change.

Maybe thinking of it like this makes it a simpler change?

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Nope :slight_smile:

We don’t rule this out for the future, but it’s not a high priority for us at the moment.

I feel like I saw a preference for this somewhere in the current version. However, I can’t seem to find it again. Is my memory wrong, or has this subject of this thread actually been addressed by now?

No, there haven’t been any changes in this regard.