Paste to Staff Above Creating Weird Spacing SATB

Hello. I’m having an issue with staff spacing with Copy/Paste Special - Duplicate One Staff Below/Above in an SATB arrangement. I started with the tenor part, which I entered then copied and pasted successfully to both the Bass and Alto voices. Then I copied the alto voice and attempted to ‘paste/special duplicate one staff above’ and Dorico added all the extra space you see between the lines, which I don’t want. Thoughts?

What has happened is that the system is now taller than the Vertical Justification threshold in Layout Options. Dorico is now ‘stretching’ the staves and systems to fill the entire page.


I see. I haven’t spent much time in the Layout Options. Do you recommend finishing the project and making adjustments later to get the look I want or adjusting as I go?

Finish entering music and then sort out engraving!!!


Always get the notes in first, then do the layout. Normally, simple choral projects need almost no manual adjustment – a few system breaks are probably all that’s required. But the Layout Options will need looking at, such as Staff Size, and Vertical Justification.)

(Oh, if the number of staves doesn’t change throughout the piece, I would remove the abbreviated labels. Altos will always sing the second line down, and you get a little extra width for notes.)


I’m ready to work on the layout and could use some direction on how to get more than one system on a page and how to avoid the qeird extra spacing described above with images. Thank you!

This is the current setting for Vertical Justification:

One point of clarification. Different pages now have different spacing. Most pages look normal then for some pages it’s stretched to fill the page.

If they are more than 60% full, then the Vertical Justification kicks in. (As per your settings.)

What’s your Staff Size? I’d suggest a smaller size would help you get 2 systems to a page.

That worked. I’ll play with the 60% and Rastral settings

to see what works the best. There still is inconsistency in the size of the systems, but that doesn’t really matter. Also, what does rastral mean? I looked it up and there’s no definition online… Thanks for all your help!

Oops. Put the image in the middle of my sentance… Hahha. BTW - Do you work for Steinberg/Dorico? You are very knowledgeable and responsive!

It is entirely expected that some systems will be taller than others. However, engrave mode will show you the “fullness” of your page, where you can see if it’s meeting the thresholds for justification.
You may want to increase the second % value.

Derived from ‘rastrum’, the Latin word for a rake. Engravers would use a tool like a fork/rake and draw it along the metal plate.

No, I just don’t get out much.


It’s Sunday (evening here in Europe)… People working at Steinberg do answer sometimes during the weekend but it’s kind of natural that other fellow users answer. And Ben is clearly a great superuser (try his musical font, Sebastian. One of my go-to fonts!)
[Edit] I see that @Lillie_Harris and @Ulf are answering on a Sunday afternoon. Outstanding support here, no doubt!

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Looking at your image I get the impression that on the left hand all staves are justified, whereas on the right hand only systems are. In Layout Options there is the point “justify distance only between systems when page is at least __% full”. You can set it to a higher value (e.g. 100%) to obtain the left-hand-version or to a lower one for the right-hand one.

I’m back! Haha. In looking at this a little deeper it appears that it may be the inclusion of dynamics in all staves that’s spreading the system. So I guess the question is do I/should I care that this is happening in terms of wanting it to have a professionally published appearance?

Yes, this is the constant issue particularly with choir + piano scores: dynamics make a huge difference in vertical space. That screenshot of pages 8–9 is a very good illustration.

I would prefer a smaller gap between systems, even on the fuller page. What page size and staff size are you using?

I would want to have much less space between the systems on the 2nd page; and slightly less on the first.

Why would the spacing be different on left vs right pages? Does Layout Options not set for ALL pages? I feel like I’m missing something simple.

Because the content on the left has both lyrics and dynamics, the content on the right has only lyrics, so the calculations of vertical space required by each system are different.

Yes. That I understand. But why is there different spacing between the two systems?