System break question

What triggers a system break to get the definition “wait for next system break”?

I’ve put in system breaks and deleted them before, without affecting pages that followed.
And there have been other times where it just grabs everything and smooshes it into a single system.

I’ve finally figured out where to un-toggle the “wait for next break” feature, but am curious why it seems to automatically activate under certain as-yet unknown (by me) circumstances and not others.

One sneaky cause: When you adjust note spacing (4th tool in engrave mode) that automatically adds system breaks before and after so the bars don’t fly around. The before-break gets that attribute.

The more obvious cause is when you do Make Into System. (Are there other causes?)


I never make use of the note spacing tool,
however Make Into System MIGHT be the culprit in many of my cases.

When you use , and . to move bars to the previous/next system this is automatically triggered. I really wish this was not the case as often I’ll change my mind with the last break and delete it, causing the rest of the project to pile up on the previous system.

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yes, this seems like it might be a better idea to have it not do this by default, and make you select that option when you actually need it.

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Trouble is, in order to force a bar onto a different system, Dorico has to force the system breaks.


yes, add the system break, but does it also have to have the attribute “wait for next system break”?

why can’t it just make a system break and leave what follows free?

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It’s not the current design, but it seems like there could be a 3rd option here too. The current implementation creates the potentially overcrowded system by using “wait for next system break,” but I would think this is not the only way this could be accomplished. Another option that would force the system but allow it to reflow if the next break is removed would certainly be desirable for me anyway.


I have never used , and . since they were introduced. But I work with narrower note spacing than the default 4, and I don’t expect to be able to fit another bar onto a system. When I want one bar down on the next I just add a break.

Reasonable questions, but I think you are second-guessing the Dorico layout algorithm. There is probably a practical reason this happens.

There’s always room for rethinking and improving how features/functions work in software.
That’s how we get to “the best” software on the market.

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This is the only situation where this happens for me.

I suppose you should change your workflow instead of deleting the break. Make sure your rhythmic grid matches the bar duration and move the break in Write mode instead of deleting it. I know it’s not what you’d want… But it does work and it’s fine once you get your brains accept it :crazy_face::sweat_smile:


If Make Into System or “,” and “.” are used to force more bars into a system than the material and note spacing rules would allow, Wait For Next (on the first of two System Breaks) is the mechanism that tells Dorico to do the forcing.

You can’t force more material onto a system than the note spacing would allow without Wait For Next.

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That’s interesting! I copy breaks in Write all the time, but hadn’t considered moving them this way. I’ll have to try it!

(My standard workflow with multiple parts in a section, like a big band trumpet section, is to lay out the first part, put System Breaks on all systems, even the first, then select all the breaks with Select More and Alt-click them into the other parts in the section in Write mode. It’s faster than Propagate Part Formatting and Propagate also converts System breaks to Frame breaks at pages, which I typically don’t want.)

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Not really possible in my case, as my bar lengths tend to change constantly and lots of 5/4 and 7/4 style rhythms.

In this case, either use quarter, or make sure you have good shortcuts to change the rhythmic grid values!

In my opinion this question is left unanswered and this is the functinality I really would like to have. If I insert a system break Dorico should never ever cram everything that follows together, regardless if I do it with the key command or with the mouse …

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Just adding a break does not set “wait for next break”.

Forcing a bar up or down does, and it must, because you are filling either the previous or the next system >100%.

I feel I am not being heard in this thread. Please reread my 3 posts above and come back and tell me if you think the question is still unanswered.


Yes, that’s the current design, but it could work differently. For example, there could be a setting to automatically remove “wait for system break” from the previous break when deleting the final break in a Flow. Is that what a user would always want? Probably not, but I’m pretty sure having a single system spread out into two systems is greatly preferable to the current method that results in this, something a user certainly never wants: