Staff Vertical Spacing Problem

I have created a very simple Lead Sheet from an Easy Keyboard Tutorial book, so very simple.

After completing the work I was not happy with the staff spacing so went into Layout Options - Vertical Spacing - Ideal Gaps. I needed to reduce the gap between staves so reduced the Inter-System Gap from default 10 to 7 but this was too small so increased it to 8, but the gap jumped back to the original large gap. So I went into Engrave mode and selected ‘Staff Spacing’ to see what measurements were being displayed - with Inter-system Gap at 7 it is 12.9mm between staves, 7 1/8 is 13.2mm, 7 1/4 is 13.4mm, 7 3/8 is 13.6mm but when I select 7 1/2 the gap jumps to 28.9mm.

Why does the gap suddenly increase at 7 1/2 to 28.9mm - what am I doing wrong ?

I am using Dorico Pro v3.5.10.1045


There are vertical justification thresholds in the same dialog - by default they’re set to 60% and 80%. It sounds like the music you have fills the page vertically by just under 60% when you’ve got the ideal gaps set one way, and just over 60% when you’ve got the ideal gaps set the other way. You can check these actual percentages for yourself if you go into Engrave mode and then Staff Spacing mode - there’ll be a little box at the bottom of each page showing the percentage. You can also adjust these thresholds within Layout Options.

Many thanks pianoleo, that was the problem, setting the 60% to 80% gave the the spacing I was looking for.

I did see Vertical Justification but didn’t understand how it works, and to be honest I still don’t, so I’ll have to study the manual on this subject.

Thanks again :smile:

@benwiggy produced a really good visual guide (in the form of a PDF) here. It’s well worth a read.

:confused: . . . and I used to think that Finale was complicated!

Years ago, I taught myself CSS in order to better stylise my own webpages, and I have to confess that I intuit glimpses of CSS-type thinking in how many aspects of Dorico are set up (e.g., “padding” and other “div” parameters). While I actually admire how Dorico went into such precise depth in relation to spatial formatting, the end result makes very heavy demands on the user. Intelligently designed program it certainly is, but definitely not what we used to call “user-friendly”.

Care to expand on what changes you would need to see in order to consider it ‘user-friendly’?

Please don’t forget: While you seem to not like this automatism, others find things like this to be very user-friendly because they don’t need to add spacing in order for a page to look pretty.
What adds to user-friendlyness for one kind of users, can add some demand on those who either don’t want any of this on purpose or don’t yet understand all the aspects of it.

You’re right, Estigy – everyone has different requirements.

But I’m actually one of those who “doesn’t yet understand all the aspects of it” – which is why I find Dorico quite user-unfriendly: it is a brilliantly conceived program, but – in my experience, at least – its many aspects only make sense after a tremendous amount of work. I imagine that it becomes much easier once one has really learned, assimilated and mastered its ‘language’, but that, in my opinion, puts a very heavy demand on users (and, even then, it’s quite possible that only those who are using Dorico on a daily level are able – through consistent repetition – to actually remember everything involved in that ‘language’).

I experienced exactly the same problem that the person who initiated this post experienced, and it took me at least an hour (of trial and error, looking for Operation Manual entries, and finally finding this forum thread) to figure out what the heck was going on. Why did it take that long? Because I had no previous experience (in Finale and other notation apps) with the concept of ‘vertical justification thresholds’ to explain why – as in my case – an inter-system gap of 1 space more should suddenly increase that gap by an off-the-graph amount.

BTW: I don’t post these critical comments as a way of slagging Dorico, or as a way of getting some kind of kick. I post them as a way of participating in what I hope is an ongoing project to help make Dorico better.


I’m sure that’s exactly the way your words will be understood here :wink:

Thanks, Estigy :smiley: