Note spacing lost upon insert?

I forgot to add notes to the end of the phrase at the spot indicated in blue:

I’ve tried using insert mode to add them by extending the bar (and yes, it’s a bar). But when I do, the following music… pages and pages of it… resets all the note spacing. It’s a ton of work lost.

Is there any way around this? Is this expected? I hadn’t thought note spacing would get reset like this.

Does the same happen if you add beats with the Bars Popover?

Note spacing adjustments are keyed off their rhythmic position; provided there continues to be a global column with a suitable duration at that position, the spacing adjustments will persist, but if the rhythm of the music changes such that there’s no longer a matching duration at that position, the spacing adjustment will be removed.

Right, my intention with using insert mode had been to affect only that particular measure, but I don’t seem to be able to manage that.

If I am using the insert function that keeps growing the measure as I add notes, shouldn’t subsequent measures be unaffected?

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Unfortunately Dan, this is something I run into all the time. In fact, two weeks ago I was revising some chants that I had engraved last Easter and I had to end up redoing a bunch of my files because I needed to add ghost notes (custos) to help our priest not lose his place. A single additional note in an unmetered measure at 64% spacing was enough to change the spacing of other lines. This behavior repeated itself in other files so I knew it was just to be expected. I think this is a rough edge that needs rounding off, because you’re really screwed when the mistake occurs early in a long file (in my case, a transcription of the exultet which is multiple pages of chant). This behavior caused me a lot of extra work this year.

I think this is a very serious flaw and one that continually makes me nervous using Dorico. I was stung by it some while ago but fortunately it was a very short piece, but imagine you need to add a crotchet beat on page 2 of a 200-page orchestral score where you’ve done lots of manual adjustments: it’s a nightmare and completely unworkable. In the publishing world, at least, as well as trying to redo all the adjustments it would really necessitate re-proofing the entire piece. Daniel, is there any chance you could find a solution to this for version 5?

I agree it’s certainly far from ideal. Off the top of my head I don’t have a good feeling for what it might take to change this, but I will discuss it with it the team.

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I’ve been talking this over for the last couple of hours and it transpires that there is already a way of retaining those adjustments: rather than using Insert mode directly, use the Shift+B popover to add the new rhythmic space, and then the later horizontal spacing adjustments will be retained. (We actually added this back in Dorico 3.1, and I’d forgotten about it!)

We will look into what it would take to hook this up to note input/editing using Insert mode in due course, but hopefully this at least unsticks you for the time being, Dan.


Story of my life, lol. This is how I feel about half of the features in Dorico now. There are so many I forget half of them are there. (A good problem to have!)

Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to work for me. I’ve tried every iteration of this I can think of, with adding true bars, hidden time signatures, etc.

curiously, this did work for me. Do you have hidden barlines? Or just system breaks?
Here is adding a beat before hand:
add beat

And here is with raw insert mode:
insert mode

Doing a little homework here:

It appears that the lines that are primarily affected when adding beats with the popover as Daniel advises are those that have manual right indents added via the note spacing handles.

I have tested this on a file of Dan’s as well as one of my own. If the right or left handles are nudged in, those lines are still affected, even though the rest of it remains unmolested (vs the insert mode option where everything down stream gets messed up.)

Thanks for checking this Daniel. I too had completely forgotten, or it had passed me by, that this was at least partially fixed in 3.1. Having just tried adding a beat to a piece I’m also very pleased to see that vertical spacing adjustments are similarly preserved, though these too may need attention with regards to Insert mode.

I ended up spending most of the day (and some of the evening) working on this, and some potential good news is that, thanks to the hard work of my colleague Stefan in building all of the new Insert mode functionality in Dorico 4, things are now in a suitable shape for us to rework the existing shifting behaviour we added in Dorico 3.1 so that it can take effect under more circumstances.

We can only sensibly retain these spacing adjustments when time is globally added or removed. If you add time to just one instrument, or one voice within an instrument, then we cannot shift the adjustments, as they apply to the overall spacing column, which of course affects the whole ensemble.

In Dorico 3.1, then, we were only able to make it work when using the Shift+B popover because we didn’t have the concept of global scope for Insert mode operations: this was the only sure-fire way of knowing that we really had added time globally across all voices, instruments and players.

Now, in Dorico 4, we have the concept of different Insert mode scopes, and indeed we can also temporarily “promote” the user’s chosen Insert mode scope for particular operations if we need to. So after a bit of discussion we’ve figured out a way to make the shifting happen whenever time is added or removed and we have either an explicit or implicit global Insert mode scope.

And we’ve also extended this functionality to retain and shift system indents if possible, as well.

This will have to pass muster with our testing team, but the long and the short of it is that, with a bit of luck, this should make its way into the next update when it arrives.


Many thanks, Daniel, for your hard work and your willingness to consider so many requests. It’s much appreciated.


This is why I tell all my friends about dorico.


No other software I have ever used has had this level of development team support and participation in forums! Dorico and its development team are truly wonderful and a rarity in this day and age!


Incredible work yet again Daniel. It truly is appreciated.

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Sibelius used to :slight_smile: