My Dorico Wishlist

Thought I’d share a few things I’d love to see implemented in Dorico.

  1. Templates/house styles.

  2. The ability to save adjustments for text with borders. The current version of Dorico doesn’t have good spacing for borders on text when non-stock fonts are used. So, adjustments to the padding need to be made. Ideally, I’d like Dorico to recognize and respond as expected to other fonts, especially those that are commmonly used by many engravers. Since I understand that that isn’t likely, or certainly a priority, I’d love if there was a feature allowing me to save padding specs, so that once I did one on a chart, I could apply the same padding to all bordered text without having to input four adjustments each time.

  3. Rulers.I’d like to be able to visually align things precisely. Right now, it’s very difficult to align text frames etc. from page to page. Rulers would make this super easy.

  4. Improve the spacing/placement of Rehearsal letters. They don’t appear in the correct spot according to Gould. They invariably cause spacing issues between systems. And, when inserted in the bar following a repeat w/1st and 2nd ending, cause the ending line to rise too high for collision avoidance.

  5. I’d like to be able to adjust measures from one system to another in engrave mode while being able to view the “percentage of system filled” at the same time. Currently, those are on different tabs of Engrave mode. Same applies to vertical spacing. Ideally, it’d be great if the percentages would adjust in real time as changes are made. In general, I’m finding that I need to switch tabs/modes within Engrave mode too often and I’d love to be able to do many of these edits without needing to switch so often. At least, they should be allowable within the other modes.

  6. Locking page layouts. I’d like to lock page layouts so that if I have I want to move pages around in a project, like a collection of lead sheets, for example, I can simply lock layouts and then move pages around without losing the layout adjustments I’ve made to each page.

Yes! They also do not automatically avoid collisions with key sigs, clefs, and measure #s. They don’t play well with System Text and almost always create massive staff spacing issues when used with them. On a related note, it would be great if there was some sort of “Recalculate Vertical Spacing” command to recalculate system positions after manually fixing the spacing issues the rehearsal letters cause.

Fred, any kind of “recalculate” button goes against Dorico’s ethos. Besides, if the other stuff gets fixed you won’t have any use for a “recalculate” button.

I agree if the other stuff is fixed there might not be a need, but I’m curious why you say it’s against Dorico’s ethos. The computer can do a much faster job of creating some equilibrium between the staves than I can manually moving them around, why not use it?

Instead of all the wasted space with rehearsal letters when Text/Avoid Collisions is on like this:

I could move them into a reasonable position and have Dorico recalculate it to something like this:

I can’t remember, but does Sibelius do this automatically on the fly? I could easily see that causing redraw and processing power issues, so that’s why a simple recalcuate command could fix the spacing after any necessary manual adjustments are made.

There’s nothing that takes place anywhere within the main editing window that doesn’t apply in real time. There are a few exceptions within the Master a page Editor and dialog boxes.

I’m not saying Dorico couldn’t recalculate better than you could; I’m saying that Dorico recalculates as changes are made, not by using a separate “Apply” button.

And no, Sibelius doesn’t calculate this stuff in real time, but it has the best part of 30 years of technical debt - a problem that Dorico doesn’t suffer from.

Ok, I see your point here. Dorico does have separate Edit/Reset Appearance and Reset Position commands though, which of course are to restore things after manual positioning. I guess it’s a step further to have the program recalculate vertical spacing based on manual positioning, but it still would be very useful IMO.

“Restore” is essentially an advanced Delete key - it removes manual changes. That’s quite a different thing to recalculating automatic decisions to factor in existing manual changes.

Sorry to hijack your thread Binkeys, but this discussion just reminded me of another item on my wishlist. Engraving Options/Text only has one setting for Default Distance from staff. As regular Shift-X text and System Text are often likely going to have different text sizes and attributes, they really should have some different vertical spacing attributes available. Perhaps the Engraving Options settings could be left as is, and a separate “Additional Vertical Offset” (positive or negative) could be added to Paragraph Styles, so any form of text could have its own default vertical positioning.

Hijack away! And, your illustration above is exactly what I’d like to see.

Layout changes can be moved to a different page already. No need for ‘locking’, which I actually think is used in other apps as a fix for a poor implementation.

Perhaps I’m wrong, but I was interpreting his request to mean he wants to move not only the layout but also the music and have all the other pages update automatically, like re-arranging pages of a book.

I’m fairly certain #1 is coming although perhaps not in V3.

I also would love rulers; especially if they were implemented like many programs with optional “snap to” properties. Even plain visible rulers that could be dragged in and out just for visual reference and discarded (without any automatic/smart functionality) would be awesome.

I know spacing of rehearsal letters has been discussed before and I’d imagine this will be improved over time.

I too would love to be able to see the percentage a system is full when moving measures between systems! I do the same thing; make an adjustment, switch to note spacing mode, switch back… etc. I really like engraving mode by and large however I do get tired sometimes when so many things are locked down and you have to switch modes or sub-modes to do things. It would be nice if shift-s was implemented in the note spacing mode.

I’d also love to have pages locked so if you rearranged flows they wouldn’t change on you. This is tricky (as I understand it) because overrides are applied to specific pages, so when you move things, those page indexes change thereby erasing the overrides. Hopefully the dev team will come up with a way to address this. I have one project right now where I’ve had to use text boxes a few times (thereby creating page overrides). This is an ongoing project of psalm settings. As I add to the project, I’d like to be able to keep the psalms in order. Sadly, I cannot compose them in order as I am composing them as they are needed for the liturgical cycle. Consequently, I’ve really been trying to finagle things to not require text boxes so I can move things around but it’s not always possible. Once the whole cycle is done, I’m going to have to re-engrave a lot and that makes me sad. All of these settings are only one page (with a rare-two pager) with each psalm starting on a new page. I should be able to rearrange them without losing work.

This is a great idea. I use a particular font that has huge ligatures (it’s a fancy script font that I use for titles, etc.) and it definitely needs to be offset differently than the rest of my fonts.

You can move flows around easily. Surely you wouldn’t want to move the music on page 3 to page 6, while it’s still being part of a frame chain with the music on pages 2 and 4…?

You can move flows around easily. Surely you wouldn’t want to move the music on page 3 to page 6, while it’s still being part of a frame chain with the music on pages 2 and 4…?

Actually, this is exactly what I want to do. I work on a lot of projects that are compilations of one or two page lead sheets. Often, the order isn’t preset until after the songs are all transcribed, and sometimes songs get retitled etc. And so, similiar to Romano’s description of Psalm setting above, I need to be able to move the entire song elsewhere in the “book”

Ah, that’s not what I was suggesting: you want to move the entire flow AND the page layout overrides with it. Currently, two steps.

I’m sure we’re going to see some amazing things in v3 … and beyond, which will make everything super easy.

Yes, two steps, and also super confusing to keep track of if it’s a large file with over 100 flows.

I’m looking forward to v3 too.

I’d like to add: the ability to write “div. a 2”, “div. a 3”, “non div.”, “unisoni”, etc. that has automatic layout. It has been suggested before, so I’m just a reminder really.

It’s called Condensing, and all previous indications are that it’s one of the main focuses of Dorico 3.

In an ideal world, if you make manual placement changes in ENGRAVE mode, the software would adjust the rest of the layout to account for the new spacing without having to press a recalculate button.

This is one of those things that is easy to request, but may have all sorts of complications and overheads, so I don’t necessarily expect to see this anytime soon. As you say, if rehearsal marks and system text would simply play nice (as rehearsal marks and tempos already do), that would solve most of my layout issues.

I’m not sure everyone understands why this is important. My arrangements include copious hints to help the musician feel secure. I use double bars frequently to block out sections of a song. I use rehearsal marks on some of those double-bars to delineate major sections (the beginning of a verse, chorus or bridge, e.g.). And at the double bars, I often include system text to indicate what is happening at that moment (e.g. “Sax soli”). It is not uncommon to have a double-bar, rehearsal mark, tempo and system text all at the same exact point. It does not do to shift some of these right by an 1/8th note, because that fouls up any multi-measure rest blocks.

I am really not willing to compromise by using fewer hints in order to get a better automatic layout. So for now, I am spending much more time in layout than would happen if the rehearsal marks just played nice.