Please explain hyphen spacing controls

It is not clear to me what different results are affected by the “Minimum gap between lyric and hyphen” setting and the “Minimum space to allow for hyphen” as the illustrations in the Engraving Options seem to refer to the same thing.

“Minimum space to allow for hyphen” means "how far apart do syllables need to be for a hyphen to be “created” between them?

“Minimum gap” refers to the minimum distance between the syllables and the created hyphens.

If that’s what it refers to, I think the reference illustration in the Engraving Options should be revised. But if that is really what the setting is for, it doesn’t seem to have an effect in my project, for hyphens still appear between (or rather superimposed upon) my syllables even when I adjust the spacing to less than the 1/2 space minimum I specified.

I’ve had the same thing since I first used lyrics in Dorico (maybe oct 22 2016 ?) and never bothered to report it, but indeed, I never got rid of hyphens when there’s no room for hyphens. Hopefully this will be elegantly (that would mean without leaving any blank space, as if the word is not cut, but it’s obvious for the reader) solved in a future version.

I’m not convinced by the explanations given above.

If I set the Minimum GAP between lyric and hyphen to a comical 12 spaces, then in a lengthy melisma, I get large gaps at the start and end:


Apart from these gaps, the spacing of hyphens, (and lyrics and notes) is entirely unaffected. It seems to me that this first setting represents the distance to the first hyphen in a chain of hyphens.

There will always be at least one hyphen, even if the distance available is smaller than this value.

Minimum SPACE seems to be how much space is maintained between a syllable and the hyphen. (Padding, if you will.)
Increasing the value pushes syllables (and thus notes) further apart. Reducing the value brings syllables closer together.

Here’s a value of 1/8 space:


Compared to Dorico’s default of 1 space, which noticeably distorts the spacing:


It is not simply a threshold of whether a hyphen will be created.

I’m currently employing these values, which I find work slightly better than the defaults (for my purposes). It’s possible that the font choice may be a factor.


Whatever the case, I do find the default settings far too generous, frequently resulting in the sort of distortion you pointed out.


Dorico currently always includes a hyphen, even when the syllables are too close. There ought to be a “don’t draw the hyphen when syllables are less than X apart”.

More thoughts about “Minimum gap”: here’s hyphens with gap set to 1.5:

Screenshot 13

and here it is with Minimum gap set to 3:

Screenshot 14

So it’s kind of the threshold beyond which you get more than one hyphen.

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