The "First Steps 3.5" says that Play mode allows changing the duration without changing the notation

I’m on dorico 4.0.20 (just installed) on Windows10 and I’m working through the “First Steps” which is for version 3.5 (I don’t see a version for dorico 4 yet). On page 7, explaining the various modes, it says in the paragraph on Play Mode: “. . . and changing the sounding duration of notes in playback without affecting their notated duration.” So I fiddled around with keystrokes and shortened a note hoping to make it sound slightly staccato without changing the notation, and when I look back in Write mode, the notated rhythm has changed. What did I do wrong?

There’s a pair of buttons in the Dorico 4 key editor that allow you to switch between editing the played or notated duration when editing notes in the key editor.

Key commands for lengthening/shortening notes in the music (like Shift-Alt/Opt-Left arrow) always affect the notated duration.

Thank you – so how do I shorten the duration in Play Mode without changing the notation? Even dragging the note in Play Mode with the mouse changes the notation.

Make sure you’ve selected the “played duration” button first – here are the pictures and descriptions from the 3.5 manual (when they were in the Play toolbox), I think (off the top of my head, though) the symbols are the same in 4 but they’re in the key editor toolbar in the lower zone.

You should then see notes in the key editor represented with 2 lines, rather than as one rectangle: the thinner line represents the notated duration, the thicker line indicated the played duration.

(The appearance of the UI is obviously quite radically different, but here’s the page from the First Steps guide that deals with the details of this operation.)

Thank you both, Lillie_Harris and Derrek! I’ve owned Dorico since version 1 but I’ve never actually completely investigated it, which is something I am doing now with version 4, and it is such a wonderful and complex program that I think I am being too impatient and will take a deep breath and work through the complete First Steps book before worrying about minutiae like this again.

I very much appreciate (and always have!) this forum and how members of the development team are so active here!

Thank you!