Vertical collisions

I’m new to Dorico and making the transition from Finale. I love how the program works, but there are some things I’m confused about that other programs do automatically. First, is there a way to have Dorico automatically choose the rastral size that’s best for the number of staves in your score? For example, when I start a project in Finale, there’s a default staff size, but if my score has too many staves to fit on the page at that size, Finale automatically scales them to fit on the page. As near as I can tell, I don’t see that happening in Dorico. It looks like I have to set that size myself for each file or I could have notes/articulations/dynamics/etc. overlapping. Dorico does a nice job of adjusting the vertical spacing to avoid these collisions if there’s enough space, but I have to adjust the staff size in order to make things small enough to create the vertical space it needs for these adjustments. Am I missing something here? Is this a setting I’m not finding, or perhaps a feature that is in the works but not integrated yet?

Thanks for your help!


There’s no automated way of doing this, and a cursory search would indicate that no-one on this forum has asked for such a feature. Maybe when someone from the team notices this thread they’ll note it as a feature request.

For the time being you’ll need to do what you’re currently doing.

I think there is certainly some value in having something automatic like a “fit into n pages” feature that could try to work out what rastral size would be needed, as well as what kinds of vertical spacing values might work. But in the meantime hopefully you will find it relatively easy to change the rastral size in Layout Options. You almost certainly know better than Dorico what you eventually want to see and thus what kind of layout is going to work best for your project anyway!

Well, yes, but even Dorico should know I don’t want staves overlapping. I’m not looking for it to adjust to a number of pages laterally, but vertically it’d be nice if it automatically fit everything to the page without overlapping as a starting point. I’m all for the ease of customizing it, but perhaps there’s a happy medium somewhere as a starting point, then we can adjust from there? I hate to give Finale credit for anything (and I’ve been using it for 24 years), but that’s something it does nicely…it’s the further manual adjustments that are a nightmare. :wink:

Jawmusic, I agree with you, but there’s an additional piece in the puzzle: page size.

I quite happily work with string quartets or SATB choral music or musical theatre piano/vocal scores at A4 or Letter, but wouldn’t countenance the idea of working on an orchestral film score at that size.

Long term I expect the development team will bundle some templates that suggest paper sizes to match ensemble sizes, but I quite understand that they have more pressing issues to address first - let’s face it, this is a problem that you only have to deal with once per project, and it takes <30 seconds.

One “standard” is never going to work for every ensemble, and I don’t really believe that Finale’s got it right after 27 years (given it won’t automatically change paper size).

I’m with you, that’s why it should scale everything based on the page size you’re working with and the number of staves in your project the way Finale and Sibelius both do now. The customization is great, but for a program that prides itself on the quality of it’s default output, this seems like an unnecessarily involved process to get at least to a satisfactory baseline.

Is it really unnecessarily involved, jawmusic? You open the Layout Options dialog, reduce the rastral size, click Apply, and you’re done. OK, you might need to try a couple of sizes to see what works best, but this is kind of my point: only you can provide the judgement necessary for what would be the most appropriate solution in the case of overlapping staves. Do you want a larger page, or a smaller staff size, or do you in fact want to hide empty staves, or do you maybe even want to remove some instruments from the layout?

We are absolutely in favour of Dorico doing things automatically for you, but we try only to do things automatically when we can be sure that it is what you would have done anyway, and it’s not clear to me that we could always do something that you would welcome in this kind of situation.

I have to agree with Daniel on this point. There is also a spectrum of what one can cram onto a page. Some people like small sizes and a lot of white, while others (like myself) prefer to get things as large as possible on the page and still have things fit properly. Dorico could, in theory make a decision for you, but then users would turn around and tinker with it anyway. If that’s the case, then there’s almost no point.

That may be true for some, but not all, and the way it’s set up now, pretty much everyone will have to do some tinkering because it basically ignores all the staff spacing settings once you fill up the page. I understand that there’s no way to make it perfect for everyone, it just seems to me that the current setup requires everyone to make adjustments, often major ones, rather than at least attempting to get it close like the other programs do. Perhaps in the future there’s a way to have an option to favor staff spacing settings over staff size (raster) settings when creating a new project? That might satisfy both schools of thought.