Thoughts on frame layout

Back in 2017, Daniel showcased how to use Dorico’s music frames to create a layout for Anglican “Responses” in the Dorico Blog.

Dorico has gained many useful new features since then (version 1.1…!), like Hiding stems, and the ability to copy frames from one page to the next. Spacing out notes in the cantor part is also easier now; and Lyrics have many more options.

I’m currently working on a set of Responses. Here are some thoughts on the process in Dorico 5; I’m sure that much of it has already been said before and is on the list.

1. Dragging multiple frames
It would be great if we could drag more than one frame together. I frequently want to move both cantor and choir frames for one pair of versicle and response.

We can of course move multiple frames with [Alt] [arrows] – but there’s often a large delay between the press and the move, and you can press the arrow key 10 times, and then you have to wait while the frames shuffle forward, and sometimes you’ve ‘overshot’, and can’t stop it…!

2. Multiple Constraints
Currently, you can’t apply the same constraints to multiple frames. For this work, I want to remove the Right and Bottom constraints on every Frame. (This then gives a relative Width and Height, so I can move the frame just by setting the Top (or Left) Property.)
Alternatively, could new Frames take the properties of the last frame to have its properties changed?

3. Select More frames?
It would be great it you could use Select More, or Select All to select other frames (of each type) on the page. Currently, Select More is available in the Edit menu when a frame is selected, but it does nothing.

4. Copying/Moving frames UI
The UI for copying frames is a bit obscure - I actually forgot it existed!
Perhaps in Frame Edit mode, the normal Copy and Paste commands could be pressed into service, with a dialog to set the destination page (and even whether to copy or move?)

The client has requested some changes (Of course they have!), which means moving some bits from one page to the next. Currently, this involves copying the frames to the next page and then deleting the source frame, before the music will appear in the frames on the new page. A dedicated “Move” option would be nice. The ability to drag the frames to the new page would be optimal for the user – (perhaps holding some keys to break free of the margins?)

For the sake of mentioning other oft-asked-for things: Rulers, Guides and Grids; and the ability to ‘save’ the Frames on a Page as a Page Template, would be a huge boon to productivity.

That having been said, once you get the hang of LA and MA and all that, it’s amazing how sophisticated the layout capabilities were in Dorico version 1.


I was wondering whether using Coda-structure for the separation between Versicle and Response might be possible to keep V & R connected.

Yes, but frequently, they’re both too long to get on the same ‘line’, so the versicle has to go above, horizontally overlapping the response.

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I also asked for these things some time ago. Since many of us are used to work with graphic programs as well it would be nice to have such opportunities.