User created items in Library Manager

When I compare a brand new file (not from a template) with my User Library in the Library Manager, I see a lot of red “differences” shown for user-created items. Since these items are being saved and reappear in each new file, are they not both in my file and in my User Library? And if so, why are they shown in red in the User Library column with nothing shown on the left side where I would expect the same items to appear in the new file column:

And if I click on the red unequal sign and turn it into a blue arrow, and hit Apply will that cause the user-created item to be removed from the User Library or the new file?

Not all objects/style definitions are copied into the project when the project is first created - sometimes this will only happen when you create something in the project that uses the definition of that object/style.

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Even if I do use the “Save As Template” feature, I still prefer using “Save As…” from a project I like and move forward from there (delete existing music, change instrumentation etc…).
Unless I know I need nothing more than my default library, of course.

Thanks @Richard_Lanyon Testing confirmed your explanation. The red items jump up into the blue list on use. And after once using the item it can then be deleted and it remains normally on both sides of the blue list.

But I am seeing a group of default playing techniques, a bunch of string bowings that I never use, that are shown in both columns in red and nothing changes when I use them in the file.

Are these bugs?

Something else about the Library manager threw me when I first started using it. The headings for This Project and Compare to: don’t align with Preview and the two columns below. The This Project column is very narrow and the results for This Project very wide. It was not clear to me that that the 6 boxes were even related to each other and I didn’t know which results belonged to This Project and which to User Library. It would be much clearer if the six boxes were of equal width with vertical solid line between them or something else to show that they are indeed two columns. The Compare to items could be reorganized on two rows to make this possible.

@Michele_Galvagno1 Thanks for mentioning that. I have been doing something similar. I confess I am somewhat leary of the Library Manager as useful as it is.

No, not bugs. Those items will actually be in your user library.

To be honest, I’ve always found this confusing too. I’m usually using it to bring an older file up to my current specs, or to confirm that files for a specific client all have matching settings, so I don’t really worry about what it actually shows, but I’m not 100% convinced the display is bug-free either. Here’s one scenario:

  1. Move your userlibrary.xml file and any files in DefaultLibraryAdditions to a new location where Dorico won’t see them.
  2. Start Dorico, File/New, add a Piano
  3. Save the file with a filename you’ll remember, then close it
  4. File/New, add a Piano
  5. Library Manager, compare the current open file to the file you saved in step 3.
  6. There are differences shown between the files. Why?

I get a difference in Rehearsal Mark Font between these files, which I don’t think is still even a thing since it was migrated to Paragraph Styles years ago. It also shows a difference between Brackets and Braces settings for me. Why? As these were created with the exact same identical settings and have the same content, I guess I’m not sure why there should be any differences being shown.


@dspreadbury Thank you for your response. I feel fairly confident that items like playing technique are in my User Library, but puzzled by the results of the Library Manager. When I open a brand new file and compare it with my User Library I would have expected to see nothing but blue. Instead, I see many red items. Doesn’t a new file incorporate all the settings from my User Library?

Here is what I just got opening an untouched new file. None of the Playing techniques are now showing in blue except one, which has never been used in this file or any Dorico file of mine:

Didn’t Richard answer this question already?

Various items don’t exist in the project library until you’ve used them within the project itself. This is why the first time you use a specific Playing Technique within a project, it’ll take noticeably longer than if you’re reusing a Playing Technique.

Harmonic (o) seems to be one exception to the rule. I don’t know why, but can confirm it’s exactly the same here. Maybe it’s because it can be called from the properties panel rather than actually by inputting a harmonic PT.

What all of this determines, of course, is portability. If you send me one of your files, and I open it here, I have available to me (from the Playing Techniques panel and popover) all of the Playing Techniques that are already in use in the project, and all of the Playing Techniques that I’ve already saved as default in my User Library. I won’t have any of the Playing Techniques that you’ve saved in your User Library but not used in the project, as that would bloat the file size unnecessarily.

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Yes, Leo’s correct. Dorico doesn’t add everything from the user library to your project when you start it. Items are added to the library in the project only when they are used, i.e. when they are required in order to display or otherwise process an item that exists in the project.

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Why would anything at all be different then in the scenario I posted a few posts up? Nothing has been added to either project other than the same single instrument, and they both are created from settings that don’t contain anything at all in the userlibrary.xml. I’m not sure I understand why the Library Manager settings between those two files wouldn’t match exactly.


I think the reason you see a modification in the brackets and braces section of Layout Options is because of a little bug in the new option for showing sub-brackets when a single staff of a divisi section is present (see here).

For the rehearsal marks font style, you’re right that probably Dorico shouldn’t even show it in the Library Manager any longer, though it does continue to exist in the project for the purposes of backwards compatibility, and it will be modified when the project is saved to match the current settings of the paragraph style, which explains why it is different in a project that has been saved and one that has not.


Thank you @pianoleo and @dspreadbury That makes it clearer. I have been looking through various files of mine to see this in action. When and why items are being shown in red and blue in the Library Manager is apparently quite complicated.

In an actual file, I see many items that are not being used shown in blue… These must fall into the “when they are required in order to display or otherwise process an item that exists in the project” category. But why a “Closed/Rim Shot” and other such items would be in that category in a Mozart piano sonata is not predictable enough to make the Library Manager as useful as it could be for me.

Thanks, it hadn’t occurred to me a saved file would respond differently, but that makes sense. It doesn’t seem to change in this particular case though as I still have that showing even if I’ve saved the 2nd file.

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For boring technical reasons, Dorico adds quite a few items by default to the project’s library when you start a new project. This includes things like the music symbols required to show clefs, time signatures, noteheads, accidentals, etc., but also things like the symbols required to draw trills (even though you might not ever add a trill), harmonics (even though you might never write for a harmonic), pedal lines (even though your project may never contain a piano), and so on.

The intent behind the Library Manager is not to inspect the precise contents of a specific project’s library (and to wonder whether or not you really need the playing technique for a closed hi-hat), but rather to allow you to see the differences. We don’t expect our users to have a deep understanding of what every single item in the library is, or why it is included in the library. The Library Manager is there to help you conform settings between projects and apply small adjustments.


I understand that some of those elements aren’t actually embedded in the file until used, and thus will obviously show as being different in the Library Manager, but it could be very useful for the user to have a way to know if the settings will match in the event those elements do actually get used as the project progresses. Right now it can feel sort of like this …

Me: Hey Dorico, are the settings the same between these two files?
Dorico: I can’t be bothered to check so I’m just going to say no. Why don’t you use some of them and then I’ll tell you?

:joy: From a user perspective, I think I’m generally more likely to want to know if the settings match than what elements are actually embedded in a project, although I understand how that can be useful too. I guess I still haven’t gotten over the visuals of seeing a bunch of red for projects whose settings I want to match, just because some elements haven’t actually been embedded yet.