"Properties Panel as pop-up" or "Contextual Context Menu with Checkboxes per Selected Item"

Dear users and developers.

Currently, the properties panel is placed on the bottom of the window.
I think the workflow would be much faster if the panels were invoked as a pop-up menu.

For example, I should manually adjust space size after inserting a system break or a frame break. To do it, I should move the mouse pointer from top to bottom.
If I could invoke the properties panel as a pop-up by clicking the signpost with the mouse’s right button, it would be very efficient.

What do you think about it?

A dialog popping up for every element? Sounds like Finale. :wink:


Certain dialogues are already invoked by clicking on their corresponding signposts.

And heavens help me, but I’ll leave dorico in a new york minute if every design element dialogue becomes a floating window like Finale. all those poor orphaned little panes floating around the computer screen… I pity the things. Granted, engraving and layout settings are in floating dialogues, but it’s not the same as having every little bit of material on screen floating around.

As for having the properties panel mounted at the bottom:

  1. I quite like it
  2. this has been a core design element of the program since the very beginning and I highly doubt will change any time soon
  3. (and most important) it is actually useful to keep the properties panel open at the bottom without having to invoke anything presupposing you have the screen real estate to accommodate it; you have a wealth of options available at any given moment which is actually very efficient.

My idea is not from my long experience with Finale.
Microsoft Word provides this feature:

Often, moving the mouse pointer is very time-consuming.

  1. Word has a ribbon, so there’s a good chance that what’s on the mini-toolbar in Word isn’t replicating something that’s already showing elsewhere on screen. In Dorico there’s nothing else that can display at the bottom of the screen apart from properties (assuming you’ve got the panel visible).
  2. The article you’ve linked to is a guide on how to disable said feature in Word. That’s not exactly a thumbs up to the design choice.
  3. For some items - notes for instance - even in full screen mode on a 27 inch 4K display I can’t fit all of the available properties on a single page of the properties panel. That, replicated as a popup, would be an unwieldy mess. If the properties popup was redesigned as some sort of vertical list with drop downs, or as a menu, I’m pretty much positive that you’d have to spend more time doing additional clicks than you currently spend dragging your mouse to the bottom of the screen.
  4. There’s already a useful context menu, so a modifier key would need to be introduced for either your new context menu or for the existing one.

I’m not remotely convinced.


I think that most of you do not change the space size of system breaks and frame breaks.
This kind of work is really clumsy and time-consuming.

Not often enough to be bugged by it, no. If you’re doing it frequently why not just Alt-click an existing System/Frame Break that already has its Space Size changed?

What does happen if I click system/frame breaks?
I cannot see anything.

What I am doing is as follows:

  1. Controlling vertical spaces between systems on every page from the very beginning.
  2. Inputting a new frame break or a new system break when the vertical gap between systems are too broad.
  3. Clicking the enable button of the space size.
  4. Adjusting further details by clicking “Wait for next system break” or “Wait for next frame break”.

Currently, I am using two windows as follows:

Working with properties is also very time-consuming when working with

  • harmonics: I am using lots of flageolets
  • adding l.v., parentheses and so on.

I cannot list all the time-consuming works, but I am very sure it would be really great if I can invoke the properties panel at the active position of the mouse pointer on the screen.
I am 49 years old, and my eyesight has been getting worse. Moving and finding mouse pointers and finding elements on the screen is not so good now.
I did not understand this problem before having presbyopia.

Pretty much every property is an override for a global option.

I don’t know the ins and outs of your projects, and I certainly do use the properties panel where necessary.


If you’re controlling vertical spacing between systems on every page manually, and setting frame breaks and system breaks everywhere manually (I’m not sure what this has to do with vertical gaps being too broad), and enabling the space size button, the chances are that your global settings (Layout Options > Page Setup > Space Size, Layout Options > Vertical Spacing > Ideal Gaps, Minimum Gaps and Vertical Justification) need work. Get your global stuff right and you’ll save yourself hours on not having to override your defaults all over the place.

As to LVs and parentheses (whether for notes or for accidentals), if you’re using these all the time, set keyboard shortcuts and avoid the mouse altogether. Harmonics - ok - not so easy.

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Thank you for your kind advice.

Oh, there is a keyboard shortcut command for LV! Thanks for letting me know, but I could not find one for parenthesis.

Regarding vertical gaps, I already did what you mentioned above. However, the problem is that the vertical spaces should often be controlled manually, even after finding a good value for general uses.
The followings significantly vary the vertical condition:

  • Inputting the technical instruction such as s.p., s.t. Dividing strings
  • piano pedal
  • ornaments
  • fermata
  • octave lines
  • tuplets
  • rehearsal marks
  • hiding empty staves
  • etc.

The ones for brackets are listed as brackets, not parentheses.

Sure, all of those things can have an effect on vertical spacing (and should) but most of them also have default distances from the staff (generally in Engraving Options) that in many cases can be reduced in order that they affect the staff spacing less.

Anyway, we’re drifting quite a long way away from your initial suggestion.

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Yes, we should stay on my initial suggestion!
Thanks for the tip for the bracket!

I think it would be good if

  • the context menu, which is invoked by clicking the right mouse button, provides “Show Properties Panel of the Selected Item”, or
  • a key command is provided which invoked “Floating Properties Panel” of a selected item.

This is just a suggestion from my working behaviours and needs. I hope there be many users who also have the same issues in using Dorico, even if it seems not to be so… I could only try.

  1. So you’d scrap the current context menu, with its array of useful features?
  2. If the ‘selected item’ was a multi-selection, which properties would you expect to see?

Just asking…


  1. So you’d scrap the current context menu with its array of useful features?

It would be one possibility. However, what I mean is just a menu item that can open a floating window. Currently, Dorico’s context menu has no check box. This is a problem using “Select Only” and “Deselect Only” in the Filter item because the Context Menu is automatically closed when selecting an item. In order to avoid it, the Context menu has to “checkboxes” as well for “Select Only” and “Deselect Only” in Filter. Likewise, displaying whole items of the Properties panel could be useless without “checkboxes”.

  1. If the ‘selected item’ was a multi-selection, which properties would you expect to see?

The item should be disabled.

I think the Context menu is already complex. In past years (one or two years ago), I suggested an iconised context menu. However, many users disagreed with the idea. The fact that I am not so familiar with English could be why I think the Context menu is complex.

This is a fair observation. I wouldn’t be able to navigate these menus in another language so well either. Fortunately, at least for the layout and engraving options, there are many, many images which help depict features. This is one of my favorite things about dorico.

Sibelius has already been made unusable by following Microsoft odd ideas of usability. Let’s hope it will never happen to Dorico.



From another perspective:

Context menu always shows the same menu items.

However, the context menu invoked by the right-clicking on notehead and the context menu invoked by the right-clicking on system break should be different. What do you think about it?

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I think this would make it really “contextual”! :slight_smile:

It would be really useful. I hope it will appear, sometime during the development.


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After reading your opinion, I changed the title of the thread:
"Properties Panel as pop-up" or "Contextual Context Menu with Checkboxes per Selected Item"