Setting safe key commands

In Sibelius I used to implement my own key commands, but was often frustrated when an updated version of the program used the same command for something else and I had to change and rememorise my command. In the end I gave up and for the same reason, and also because there seem to be more already-defined key commands, I have not set any personal key commands in Dorico.

As I use a German keybaord, I often choose umlauted characters for this purpose in other programs, and these seem rarely to conflict with a standard set. But there are not many of these, and it therefore occurs to me to ask whether there are any other key commands that are reserved for user customisation and that will not be commandeered in future releases?



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We consider all valid key combinations that we haven’t used for key commands yet to be fair game, and we reserve the right to use any and all of them in new versions as the mood takes us. Sorry!

I will try to remember to make a list of the new key commands added or changed in a new version and put them in a single list in the Version History PDF so you can easily see what might impact your own shortcuts at a glance.


Thanks Daniel! This is going to be very useful.

From my experience, I have found that any key combination involving all three modifier keys (ctrl, alt & shift for Windows) seems to be unoccupied by the default Dorico factory settings, so I have made it into my own practice to, as far as it is feasible, always involve all three modifier keys when creating custom key commands. The downside is of course that you have to involve four fingers every time, but if you have an alt gr button configured to work like simulating the pressing of ctrl and alt simultaneously, you might be able to incorporate some less awkward finger acrobatics into your key command repertoire. :wink:


This is precisely the sort of place where Stream Deck shines! I do all sorts of combinations of Shift, Alt, and function keys, and I can’t possibly remember them all.

Daniel, I know you wouldn’t promise, but can you speak to the tendency for Dorico to not use Ctrl-Alt-Shift- key combinations? Is that a “safe” range?
(Edit: I mean in the future)

When opening Dorico and launching the Key Commands page from the Help menu, with the exception of the arrow keys, I only find my own custom key commands when pressing ctrl+alt+shift, so it appears to be the case.

Edit: not entirely correct, see below!

It’s not strictly true that Ctrl+Shift+Alt key commands aren’t used by factory shortcut; it’s just that the Preferences dialog doesn’t do a totally reliable job of exposing the factory shortcuts.
In the English factory key commands, the following combinations are in use:
Ctrl+Shift+Alt+R : Run Last Script
Ctrl+Shift+Alt+Left Arrow : Duration Shorten (Write mode)
Ctrl+Shift+Alt+Right Arrow : Duration Lengthen (Write mode)
Ctrl+Shift+Alt+All of the arrows: Nudge a tiny amount (Engrave mode)

I’m pretty sure that these are the same in the other language factory key command sets.

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Ah, sorry, I thought I had added the Ctrl+Shift+Alt+R myself. My previous post stands corrected then. If I may ask, where did you find this information @pianoleo ?

On Mac there’s a set of keycommand JSON files within the Dorico application bundle itself. On Windows it’s in Program Files, I guess.

Open in any good text editor, but it’s probably best not to actually alter those files as they’ll likely be overwritten when Dorico is updated (and they won’t port over to the new version of Dorico if the new version is a separate installation, e.g. Dorico 4 rather than Dorico 3.5.20).

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Using, as I do, a German keyboard layout and an English version of Dorico, some of the commands do not work as in the English documentation, and there are some that I have never managed to make work at all.

I am never quite sure whether key commands are based on the actual characters used, or on their physical position on the keyboard. If it is the former, I should be able to get away with CTL-ä, ALT-ü, CLT-ALT-ö, etc, for ever, which, with ß, gives me about a dozen “private” key commands. But if not, I guess I would just have to change the meaning of some of the commands that I never use.

However, it would be nice if Dorico could reserve some of the more obscure combinations as “user configurable”.

I suppose that in any case, I should have to remake the mapping every time Dorico is upgraded or reinstalled, and this was why I gave up making my own definitions in Sibelius. One way around this would be for the user configurable keys to be stored in a separate file. I think a lot of users would welcome such a feature.

To answer Pianoleo, the JSON files are held in Program Files/Steinberg/Dorico3.5/ on Windows computers. and readily open in Notepad, or what you will.


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My workaround for this, working on Swedish keyboards in the English version of Dorico on Windows, is installing English as an additional language with its corresponding keyboard layout and switching to the English keyboard layout when working with Dorico by using the Windows specific Win+spacebar key command. This allows me to use the thought-out predefined key commands by the Dorico team where the keys have the same positions as those which the default key commands were designed to work with. Of course this means that I would have to learn the deviations between the Swedish layout and the English layout by heart, but after using Dorico regularly for not that terribly long, this knowledge kind of stuck automatically.