The Trouble with Toggles: Time to Reassess?

Now that we’ve had a sufficient span of years to enjoy Dorico, marvel at its development, and settle into a post-novelty age, I think it’s time for the D-Team to take an objective reassessment of the convention of toggles in the lower panel. While I’ll take it over the Ribbon any day, I find that, in most cases, toggles force an unnecessary additional step in making quick choices in Write and Engrave modes.

An example: adding a verse number to a lyric syllable is ostensibly easy to do, with a checkbox provided for just this parameter. However, you have to turn on the toggle before clicking the checkbox, adding an extra click. Why? No one’s checking that box unless it’s needed, and if it’s done accidentally, one simply un-clicks it. All the toggle does is slow that process down.

There are certainly legitimate use cases for toggles. One might assign color to a subset of notes in a melody as a visual cue for later editing; the toggle allows a convenient way to dismiss that visual cue when not needed. But in a significant number of places, I think the toggle could disappear with no harm done— or some harm averted— to our workflows.

I believe we can certainly bid adieu to:

  • Any toggle accompanying a checkbox
  • Most toggles accompanying a dropdown
  • Visual elements and many A/B options, e.g. slur/tie direction or bracket style

Essentially, any toggle that insists on itself as an unnecessary first step should be sent packing. The time savings isn’t epic in scale, but any bit of prudent streamlining— and elimination of visual clutter (Ribbon, this means you) is worth it in the long run.

Have you tried double clicking on the stuff to the right of the toggles in Dorico 4.2? In many cases you no longer need to turn on the toggle separately.

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I hadn’t, and thank you, but still… why have the toggles in the first place?

The toggle indicates whether the corresponding property for the selected item(s) has been overridden according to the corresponding default setting – this can be very helpful if you change an Engraving Option but it doesn’t impact a few specific items and you’re trying to work out why, for example.

Thanks, Lillie. The visual indicator in those situations is certainly helpful, but getting in the way of the much more frequent need to change a parameter isn’t a good tradeoff. I think there could be a better way to give that visual feedback…

How would you show that, say, an accent had been manually set to be below the note, when the Engraving Options were also set to be below the note?

Thanks, Ben. How about a simple blue bullet next to altered parameters? Same visual cue, no interference.

Or, altered parameters in white text (or black in light mode, I guess), unaltered in gray?

This has been discussed before, and feedback is always worth sharing, but I realistically wouldn’t expect changes in this area.

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Then how would you reset the manual Accent down, so that it was just a default Accent down?

Perhaps clicking on the blue bullet would reset to default.


And, before you say it, that’s not the same as the toggle, because the blue dot isn’t in my way to begin with.

Might I gently encourage an end to this topic? The team is aware of this sort of opinion, so you can trust it has been considered.


Um, okay. I guess we’re done here.