Optimizing the Process of Sketching

I’d like to make a suggestion for a command to make it easier to sketch. I’ve been using Dorico daily (and heavily) for about 4 months or so;* if this feature is already available I apologize but haven’t been able to find it:

Suggested feature: Make Flow From Selection — I like to work on alternate versions of a section or a piece. It would be great if I could quickly make a safety of the music I’ve created. The workflow would be:

  • Select some music
  • Select (for example) Edit>Make Flow from Selection
  • A popup appears asking for a name for the new Flow (default = the current date and time)
  • Hit enter and continue to compose happy in the knowledge there is a safety copy that won’t be changed and that can quickly be referred to without having to undo 30-plus steps.

(It would be nice if Make Flow From Selection could automatically insert the selection’s meter and tempo. At present copying music to a new flow does not do so. )

While it is possible to set up a sketching flow and copy things to it (which I do), it takes several steps which breaks the mood. When sketching, all I want to do is to quickly get back to the ideas I have and not shift modes, look where to name things, etc.

*In terms of workflow , stability, and features, Dorico is a vast improvement over the other professional notation programs I’ve used. I’m very, very happy to have bought it.


(Not saying your idea is without merit) But what’s wrong with using split flow to achieve this?

At the very least, duplicate flow (from Setup mode), then delete or trim accordingly.

You can always duplicate flow and use the system track to get rid of whatever is not in your ideal selection. Nonetheless your idea is worth exploring.
PS : Leo and I are in sync! :joy:

I use both split and duplicate… (Duplicate can become unwieldy as the flow length increases. Split works well when working out alternates as you can just hop back to the previous flow and try again!)

Richards idea is way faster… :wink:


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I serious doubt that. Split flow is a single instruction. And if you are not working sequentially, it is simple to grab a section that is not the end of the current flow. Just select the final barline, hit split flow to create the new one, then system select the passage you want to copy across.

Too tired to argue :innocent: :v:

So why bother to post?

Janus, thanks. As mentioned, I’m relatively new. I will try that.

Too many steps and thus too easy to lose focus. To do what you suggest (which, in fact, is what I do right now multiple times per day) requires (1)changing mode, which requires almost by definition a change of focus; (2)duplicating the flow; (3) scrolling to the flow if you have lot of them; (4)renaming the new flow; (5) selecting the prior music to delete; (7) selecting the music that follows to delete; and (8) return to the original flow and place in the flow. That is very time consuming and it is easy to forget one’s ideas.

My idea is simply to (1) select the music I want to duplicate, (2) hit one shortcut (Make Into Flow), (3) enter a date, and (4) get back to composing.

You can still reduce the number of steps by doing it from Project Info (Cmd/Ctrl-I) in any mode.
edit: To be clear, I don’t have a problem with your feature request; I’m just trying to give you quicker solutions with what’s already possible.


Actually, splitting the flow won’t work. I want a safety copy of a specific passage, not two flows. Also, the specific passage is often sandwiched between parts I don’t want to change. Creating a safety copy using split flow therefore gets very complicated very quickly.

You can still reduce the number of steps by doing it from Project Info (Cmd/Ctrl-I) in any mode.

Yes, that is helpful with the current version, but I’m suggesting that making safeties (essential for sketching, imo) can be simplified for users.

Currently, the duplicated flow has to be trimmed (often before and after the safety copy of the passage) . Otherwise, it gets very easy to forget what you’re looking for in a long flow. It’s far more convenient to select a passage, have a command that says “Make into Flow” and get back to composing.


So why on Earth did your opening post request “…(for example) Edit>Make Flow from Selection…”?

Take the line of least resistance. Create a second flow and just copy/paste all your ‘ideas’ into it. Reference each with a comment and/or some other text and you’ll lose nothing.


Create a second flow and just copy/paste all your ‘ideas’ into it. Reference each with a comment and/or some other text and you’ll lose nothing.

That is exactly what I do right now but I do lose some things: time and focus. That is because it is at present a multi-step process. To make a safety copy of a bit of music at present, you have to select the music, copy it, move to another flow, paste the music, add a comment, and then return to the original place in the first flow which requires remembering the measure number/rehearsal number. No, it doesn’t take a long time, but it takes enough time to be distracting.

why on Earth did your opening post request “…(for example) Edit>Make Flow from Selection…”?

I don’t want to break a single flow into two; I want to keep a single flow and make a safety copy of part of one in case I don’t like my revisions (undo is impractical if I make more than 20 or 30 changes) . Thus, I want to “Make Flow From Selection.” And I want to do it so fast I don’t even have to think about it in order to stay focused on what I’m trying to write. “Make Flow From Selection” would replace the 6-step process described above with a 2-step process.

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Clearly you misunderstand the concept of Dorico flows. I’m beginning to think you want something akin to Sibelius’ ideas.

It sounds like once you have a good idea/phrase/passage/whatever you call it, you want to keep it/store it, and move on. Return to it later to develop, perhaps. One very non-technical way to achieve this is insert a comment, add a few empty bars for space separation, then soldier on. Takes about 5 seconds, depending on how long your comment is. Yes, you have to scroll through to find “Idea X”, but it’s all there. As long as there is padding (in the form of empty bars) you likely won’t mess anything up.
Again, very low tech. But, I haven’t lost any material.


Janus, please stop insinuating things about others concerning their understanding of the program or its concepts.
You tried to be helpful, and fell short of the original idea.
Now you need to stop arguing for the sake of arguing, especially there is nothing about the original request that you have been able to illuminate further.
Richard’s request is awesome, necessary and can’t be elegantly substituted in Dorico as it stands. If you want to do it your way or have no need for the functionality as presented, fine. Others, like me, might.



I think Richard’s idea of being able to create a new flow from the selection is a nice one, and it is indeed quite different from things like duplicating the whole flow and then cutting down the copy. I’ve made a note of this and we’ll implement it at some point in the future.