Printing all flows

I’m setting the WTC by Bach. I need to use multiple layouts and so I have flows for each piece. I am unable to print the book as a whole, even when I select all the flows in the print properties panel. What am I doing wrong? With multiple flows, and only two different layouts at the moment, only the first layout prints.

Do you want me to have a go?

Can you show us your print screen, at least?

It sounds like you’re trying to print more than one layout, rather than printing all the flows in one layout, which should be easy enough.

Have you selected all the layouts on the left-hand side?

I’m curious why you need to use multiple layouts for something like the WTC. Surely you would just use different page templates, at best?

@benwiggy Ah - some works need 3 bars per systems, some 8, some 2. I thought you have to do this with casting off options in the Layout. If I can make page templates do this instead that would be great.

You can’t set system breaks in a Page template; but surely you can change the Note Spacing at the start of each flow, and then let Dorico space it out according to the music.

Then you might need to add the occasional System Break, usually the last couple of systems.

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No, I don’t think so. The most legible layouts proven over time are the Peters Urtext and the Henle, and others beside, and they use the same more or less fixed number of bars per system, different for each piece, depending. When I set the bars per system in casting off all is perfect. In the case of this work I do not want Dorico making system break/number of bars decisions for me.

So, I am having to use Layouts, is that not so? If I have to cobble together an edition from 48 separate PDF files it’s not all that onerous, but seems like something Dorico should be able to do. Is this not a common thing to want to do? Perhaps not.

It’s not clear to me what you’re really trying to do, Andro. It sounds like you need to prepare a single layout that contains all 48 flows, and then simply print that, setting the Print range control on the right-hand side to All, so you don’t need to specify a page range or indeed a range of flows.

As said, with a suitable value for Note Spacing, you should be able to get close to the casting off used by all the other editions, with a few System Breaks for fine tuning.

That would be much easier than creating different Layouts (and getting continuous page numbers, etc), and combining them afterwards.

Is this just for fun, or are you bringing something that none of other editions do?


@benwiggy It’s a project I have long wanted to do which is make an edition of WTC with the original clefs, soprano in the RH mostly. People should learn to read all the clefs! If 17-18c musicians could read seven clefs so should we. I speak as a harpsichord player. So, yes, that is the original aspect I am bringing to this… There is one obscure Italian edition with original clefs but I am not sure if it is still available.

And, it will have no fingerings! Which even Henle and so on annoy me no end with garbage piano fingerings.

Plus, I got the Steinberg 1738 Vater harpsichord VST and it is really rather surprisingly good, which I did not expect, to tell the truth. So for students I will be providing audio renders as well as the score.

It’s a good question!


I am very tempted to get the Harpsichord: it’s cheap, fits into HALion - which is already installed and stable!

Hi @dspreadbury I am really confused about this. Would you mind taking a look at say the Henle Verlag Urtext edition of the WTC? There must be a copy at Steinberg somewhere. :slight_smile: You can see some pieces have two or three bars per system, with occasional variations from time to time, and some have maybe 8 bars per system. I don’t understand how to do this as a full book of the 48 works and print as a single volume with consecutive pages numbers and so on.

I could do this by putting manual system breaks in a single layout, but that’s a lot of work for a large book like this, and there’s WTC II as well.

Adjusting note spacing would seem to be a very tedious amount of trial and error for each and every piece. That surely can’t be right.

As usual, I seem to be falling short of understanding something very basic. I’d imagine this is a common thing to want to do. Pardon my base ignorance.

However you handle it, it’s a whole bunch of music so it’s going to feel tedious. Get your note spacing roughly right and then throw in system breaks where necessary. If throwing in the system breaks takes more than a minute per prelude or fugue, your note spacing setting’s too far away from where it should be.


I tend to do this for almost every flow in a multi-flow work, and not that tedious.

Select something at the start of the piece, then in Engrave mode, select “Note Spacing Change” from the menu. Values between 3 and 4.5 tend to work well. You soon get a feel for what it needs.

You can keep the signpost selected, and press Enter to go back to the dialog and change the value. It usually takes me 2 or 3 goes; and then a couple of breaks. As Leo says, if you need more than a couple, the spacing’s wrong.

I can’t imagine that creating individual layouts and combining them is LESS tedious!


Note that there’s a Lock button now that inputs automatically all system breaks and appropriate properties so that the cadting off of the page won’t change. Very handy and fast.

TBH, I’ve never seen the need to lock every system. Things will only move if I change something!

So, I am starting to get the picture here.

I started out with a layout with 3 bars per system, for the first prelude. Then the first fugue needs two bars per system so I happily added manual system breaks. Then further on your get to the C sharp major prelude which needs 7 and 8 bars per system, so this where I went astray and made a new layout with its own casting off settings. I was unaware that you can’t print a single book if you do this, and I have also been unaware about the Note Spacing setup. So the crux of the matter I now understand is that I set 3 bars per system to begin with, and I should have simply not specified that, and used note spacing instead if necessary. This was done in my desire to have the same or very similar bar layout that Henle Verlag and Peters Urtext have.

So now I have one plain full score layout, and it all seems to be almost magically settling down to a pretty good setting in terms of bars per system all by itself. The only issue now is getting the desired number of systems on a page but I worked out you do that with setting a frame break at the start with the wait for next frame break option on.

I’d like to thank all the helpers here who assisted, and put up with my base ignorance. I hope this thread may stand as of some use for others in the future who may be grappling with the same sort of issues.

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There are relatively few situations in which I would recommend using the fixed casting off options in Layout Options. There are some kinds of music that have developed the convention – often due to their hand-copied origins – of having a fixed number of bars per system, such as jazz lead sheets, and music for film/TV often uses fewer bars per system than you would traditionally find in published “art” music, typically for clarity and ease of sight-reading.

For pretty much everything else, Dorico’s own rhythmic spacing and casting off will provide a better starting point, because it is completely adaptive to the music itself. You can give it a big hand by setting the default space for a quarter note (crotchet) appropriately: in particular, setting it to a slightly smaller value when the notes are typically longer (say, eighth notes and longer), and perhaps setting it to a slightly larger value if the notes are typically shorter. And you can use note spacing changes to tune this as you go along.

Yes but this assumes Dorico is better than the finest engravers at Barenreiter, Breitkopf and Haertel, Henle, and Peters, to name but a few. It is not. The Bach WTC is particularly well served by fixed numbers of bars per staff, with the occasional exception, and all these publishers agree as can be seen by looking at the editions, and of course with the barlines slightly altering position from line to line as is the convention in fine engraving. These master engravers were also adaptive to the music itself after lifetimes of experience.

And also, unless you somehow essentially know all the information in this thread to start off with, if you want three bars per system and you see an option for 3 bars per system, is it not natural to reach for that tool?

Making a book edition like this is a sort of meta level usage of Dorico which is naturally not covered in a reference manual. Perhaps this would make a good topic for a video tutorial by somebody with a far more mellifluous voice than me.

Daniel wrote a very interesting article on this, over a year before Dorico 1 released: Development diary, part 11 – Dorico

I don’t think anyone’s asserting that Dorico’s automated whatever does a better job than the finest minds at Henle/Bärenreiter etc., rather that if you set fixed casting off in Layout Options you prevent Dorico from automatically making the best decisions (or any decisions) about where the exceptions should be.

I wonder: aren’t most pieces in the WTC rhythmically uniform enough anyway to automatically distribute themselves with a fairly constant number of bars per system?

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