Observation about Note Spacing Tool - could something be added to the documentation?

In trying to answer someone else’s question, I’ve just noticed something:

If I turn on the Note Spacing tool and nudge a blue handle in either direction, a System Break automatically appears at the start of this system, and another automatically appears at the start of the next system. I understand why this happens, and it makes perfect sense. However, if I then draw a marquee selection around the altered (red) handles, and hit Delete, the two automatically-inserted System Breaks remain in the score.

As far as I can tell this is entirely undocumented behaviour. It strikes me that it might cause problems to people that turn off System Break signposts, on account of the fact that they simply won’t know that these System Breaks have been inserted, or what they’ve done to cause them to be inserted.

Could something about this be added to the documentation, please?

Yes, this is probably a helpful thing to include in the “result” of changing note spacing.

However, it is probably logical that a marquee selection of note spacing handles will never include the system break, as only note spacing handles can be selected when Note Spacing is activated. Similarly, you cannot click/select a single system break signpost when Note Spacing is activated.

Sure, but I’m talking about system breaks that are automatically inserted as a result of using the Note Spacing tool (i.e. at a point where it’s completely impossible to manually insert system breaks). Shouldn’t an exception be made in these circumstances?

As far as I can see in my version of Dorico, the system breaks inserted when you adjust note spacing are just normal system breaks. I’m not sure what you mean about “impossible to insert system breaks manually” - could you add a screenshot?

When Note Spacing (and indeed Frames or Staff Spacing) are activated, that is the only thing that you can select/edit. This behaviour is consistent so I’m not sure an exception would be useful, but I’ll raise it with my colleagues (if they haven’t already read this, which would be unlike them…!)


I think what Leo means is that these system breaks are added during note spacing without informing the user, and they do not disappear if note spacing changes are subsequently removed. For those who do not have the Signposts visible, this can result in unexpected behavior and confusion for the uninformed user.

Leo originally suggested some sort of acknowledgement/warning in a future version of the Dorico Manual/documentation about this automatic insertion of system breaks during note spacing–or some other way of warning the unwary user so he or she can remove the added breaks once he or she leaves the note-spacing mode.

Thank you, Lillie, for all the work you are doing to make the program more accessible via the documentation.

All I meant was that these are normal system breaks that Dorico automatically adds while you’re in Note Spacing mode. In Note Spacing mode it is impossible for the user to (intentionally) add or remove system breaks.

See this brief GIF. At the start there are no System Breaks present. I tweak some notes. Dorico automatically adds System Breaks. I then delete the tweaks using the method listed in the manual, and the System Breaks remain.

Having thought a little harder about my earlier comment, Shouldn’t an exception be made in these circumstances? I guess this would likely cause further complications, in that it would only be appropriate when removing all note spacing adjustments from a system (and then if there were further adjustments on the next system then the next system’s System Break would need to be left intact).

Regardless, it’s one of those things where doing something and then hitting Delete doesn’t actually remove all the evidence.

Thinking about this from a programming perspective, I suppose that the program doesn’t differentiate whether a system break was inserted automatically or manually. I. e. Dorico is being told to insert a system break if note spacing is applied but that system break has no way to tell Dorico that it was inserted automatically, and how it should be treated if note spacing is removed again. For Dorico that is just a system break like any system break which has to be removed manually, no matter what.

I don’t know how complicated it would be to create a flag (or a different type of system break altogether) that tells the program that it was inserted after performing a certain action, but with such a setting it might be possible to implement a condition like “if all note spacing is removed and no note spacing is in the previous or next system, remove automatically created system break xy, too”. But I have a feeling that this would be somewhat intricate and while not impossible, such details would make the program more bloated.

IIRC All Leo asked for initially was for the documentation to call attention to this side-effect, not an unreasonable request.

Indeed not, and I have now added a brief sentence to this effect to the topic in the manual about making manual adjustments to note spacing - see the updated topic here:


For at least the third time today, thank you Lillie!

Honestly, user documentation is there to help users, and so when someone points out something that would help them… use… Dorico, I’m always grateful :slight_smile:

Be careful what you wish for, Lillie: I have a knack for ruining people’s weekend plans :wink:

Thank you.