Tell player to change instrument

I’m using Dorico 3.5 (Dorico 4 is not compatible with my older Mac).

The manual page below tells what Dorico ‘can’ do, but not how to do it:

When I’m entering notes into a bar, how can I indicate that the player needs to switch to another one of the instruments allocated to them?

Related links at the manual page show all but what I’m looking for.

Please see my previous reply to your other thread, directing you to this page in the Dorico 4 manual, which has been expanded and benefits from an embedded video tutorial that also demonstrates how this automatic function works.

The underlying functionality of how Dorico approaches instrument changes has not altered between 3.5 and 4, but the explanation is (if I may say so) much better.

Aah! :face_with_hand_over_mouth: That makes sense Lillie. Sorry, I’d imagined that the Dorico 4 manual would not apply to my version.

This thread is about a different question though: how to tell a player in their part (and on the Full Score), to change to another of their instruments.I have a perc. part with two instruments added, but the player’s stave seems fixed to just one of those instruments.

The manual says this is possible, but does not show how. The Dorico 4 manual reference is about staff labels (not the same).

I’ve found a related video on a different page here and will check this out…


  1. View the player concerned in Galley view.
  2. Input or cut and paste the musical material to the appropriate separate (>1 instrument’s predefined) stave for that player.
  3. View in page view and all should appear correctly, including instrument change indications.

Thank you @evansf!

I was also getting incredibly frustrated reading all the related help pages and seeing descriptions of what Dorico but not HOW to do it. The help page implies that galley view might be helpful, but I could not figure out out until I saw what @evansf wrote. Perhaps that could be added to the help?

If anyone’s from Dorico is interested in feedback regarding the help, I find this happens a lot - looking for how to do something, reading the help files and not finding specific steps… and finally finding HOW to do it only from scouring the forum.

Hi @tsharli – take a look at the updated version of that page in the Dorico 4 manual, also linked earlier in this thread. The presentation of the circumstances in which instrument changes occur has been overhauled to make it clearer.

On a related page, there’s a perhaps more explicit tip, intended to give an alternative if users have ended up on the page about allowing/disallowing instrument changes because they want to see more staves.

For further information about things mentioned in passing on a page, look at the related links at the bottom of the page – if something has been alluded to but not fully described, it should be the case that detailed information is on another page and that page should be linked. E.g. “switching to galley/page view” is one of the links on the page about instrument changes.

I am always interested in hearing if pages in the manual haven’t conveyed the information or instructions intended. Please feel free to bring specific pages to my attention.

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Has it not occurred to anyone that a user manual of over 1600 pages is TOO LONG for anyone to master, unless, like Lillie, he or she devotes most of his or her working hours to the task? Even Victor Hugo’s monumental Les Miserables is less than 1400 pages in English.

As was so succinctly pointed out above, users want to know HOW to use features of Dorico, and to be faced with 6-10 pages scattered through the manual in order to understand all the ins and outs of a specific feature is daunting. Not only that, when almost every topic requires such a large amount of reading by the user, it is unreasonable and explains why so many people express frustration with being unable to achieve what one might think are simple actions.

It is hard to maintain concentration on composing or even just inputting or formatting a score when one has to stop every five minutes or so to find out how to do something. It is even more frustrating when one is forced to look something up because one has forgotten what it said when the manual was last consulted. “Was it Alt-Ctrl, or Alt-Shift”, or "Is this in a menu somewhere, or in the properties panel? Though some here are, not all users are working with Dorico every day of the week.

Lest Lillie should think that I am blaming her for the loquacity, let me assure her that I think she is doing an excellent job in the circumstances of this moving target, though how she also finds time to help people here in the forum is a mystery to me. :smiley: When Cubase and Nuendo both have manuals of comparable length to that of Dorico, it is clear that the house style is set higher up the command chain. I am reminded of the first 2.5 minutes of the remarks of Senator Kennedy from Louisiana to Mark Zuckerberg at a Congressional hearing, in which he criticises an important Facebook document: “Your User Agreement sucks!”

How about a 300-500 page “Idiot’s” Guide? I have a book on HTML and CSS that manages, with text and illustrations, to explain everything I need in less than 600 pages, and in which I can refer to speciifc topics very quickly while writing code. This is what most of us need to understand the workings of Dorico efficiently.


I’m not going to get into the details of how the manual works again on this forum, because it’s been said before. Nor am I going to get into descriptions of how topics are structured in the manual, because it’s been said before. You can trust, David, that I am aware of your opinions in this matter and they have been noted.

The manual is a reference, not a book – it is comprehensive, subdivided, and indexed. If you look for what you want to do, you should find it with complete instructions from start to finish, including what specifically you must select and what mode you have to be in.

If you’ve not taken a look at our First Steps guide, which is admittedly more a beginner’s tutorial rather than a condensed reference, that might be of use.

If you want to write a guide that in your opinion is as concise and comprehensive as you would want it to be, please go ahead and share it with other users. Alternative perspectives are always useful.