Navigating in Engrave mode

I’m sorry to beat a dead horse, because I know this has been discussed a few times, but today I was really bitten hard by it. I really hope that the D4 cycle will see improvements in this area.

I was working on a hymn today and the navigation is so erratic as to be utterly maddening. In the gif below, there are two parts:

  1. I first select the first note head. All I do is press the right arrow repeatedly (slowly). You can see how random [from a user perspective; I’m sure there is some coding logic here] each subsequent selection is. I would expect the selection to stay on the noteheads as it progresses.
  2. I try selecting lyrics in three different places and again cycling with the right arrow key; once again, I would expect the selection to stay within the selected line of lyrics and pass from word to word.
    As you can see, navigation is so erratic that I basically have to use the mouse to click on anything with any semblance of accuracy, and it gets even weirder if I try and use up and down arrows to correct the erratic behavior.

You know me; I’m a consummate lurker here, and I’ve literally been a supporter from day one. (And I’ve converted a few of my colleagues!) But this really needs to be addressed. You can imagine my frustration as I was trying to massage lyric spacing.
erratic navigation
There is nothing special about this file, and many others have reported the similar issues, so I’m not going to share it here as I doubt it provides any useful opportunity for diagnostics. (And for the sake of posterity, this is D 4.0.10.)


This is about navigating in Engrave Mode, yes? I just wanted to clarify that it’s different from the above thread. Thank you for illustrating these points.


I’m sorry the thread isn’t an exact match to my issues, but the thread title was appropriate at any rate.

If anyone is confused by Mark’s preceding comment, Daniel split this into its own new thread (thanks, Daniel; I was timid to do so myself but appreciate that you’ve done so).

I agree it would be good if navigating between lyrics in Engrave mode were a bit more predictable. I’ll see what we can do.


I wonder if it wouldn’t make sense on the note side, to have to tab between elements of the notes? For instance, navigation would default to whatever part of the note you click on (head/stem/beams) and then to access a different part of the note, you tab to cycle between them. Once you tab to stems, arriving would keep to stems, etc.

I seem to remember you saying something a good while ago about navigation being related to invisible bounding frames for each object and dorico just selecting the next closest frame; I’m wondering if what I said above would work if the frames were grouped per object (assuming of course that they aren’t already). At any rate, I’ll stop speculating on programming techniques… I don’t want any programmers to lose their wings, lol! (I DO believe in programmers! I DO believe in programmers!)

You can imagine my joy when I noticed this in the 4.0.20 release notes:

I naturally wanted to test the exact scenario that prompted the formation of this thread, and I am thrilled to report that the fix implemented by the team makes all the difference in the world. The same odd navigation in the gif above is absolutely perfect in 4.0.20! THANK YOU!

navigate lyrics fixed

Side Effect

Unfortunately, this new behavior does seem to have messed up note navigation pretty severely, and no doubt this will chaff some users. I suppose this might be a case of “can’t have it both ways” and I confess, this development helps me, although I fear for fellow users. In the gif below, the ONLY way to advance to the next note now is to up arrow until the notehead is selected, at which point you can arrow over to the next stem. No amount of right arrowing will help you, however, until you up arrow to the new notehead. As this gif was recorded, I was pressing right arrow multiple times between each change in position, but the only thing that would affect it was up arrowing to the notehead at the current rhythmic position.
notes don't advance

I’ve also tested this in music-only areas, and it appears that, while better, the navigation has still been affected rather heavily. I can’t quite parse out the ‘why’ but certain notes wont advance past stems unless you arrow up/down first as required.

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No, there’s no change in how the note-to-note navigation works in Engrave mode. It’s always been something of a voyage into the unknown hitting the right arrow key in Engrave mode: whether the next notehead or a stem or beam or accidental etc. will be selected is all part of the fun.

Perhaps in the fullness of time we will replace the Engrave mode navigation altogether with the (entirely separate) method we use in Write mode, with the addition of some means of tabbing between different fragments of every item.

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Tabbing between various types of elements would indeed be nice.

I suppose what has changed then, is the fact that in prior navigation, you might not know which element would be selected, but at least it advanced, whereas now it will simply stop advancing until you select something other than the stems, which act like stop signs.

At any rate, as I said, where the lyrics are concerned, this is a most delightful development, and I’m grateful to you and the team for having tackled it so quickly.