Warning: easy way to break Dorico

I created a new flow without realizing I had forgotten to set a time signature. I selected a rest a pressed “R” (for repeat) 18 times, thinking I was just creating 18 bars, and it froze. Now when I restart it, it offers to recover the file and it just hangs there… I suppose I can go back to the previous save. Perhaps the Devs can install a safety feature to prevent it, too easy to break…

I tried the same as you have described. With each press of “R”, the bar expanded to the right. Once it had reached the right-hand edge of the page, the staff disappeared. The number of keypresses depended on the size and orientation of the page and staff (eg, A4/A3, portrait/landscape, staff size). What I did find was that by using Undo (cmd-Z on Mac, ctrl-Z on Windows), I could return to where I started and then do things as I should have. It did not freeze for me, at least while I was in Page View. When I tried it in Galley View, it did indeed become unresponsive (ie, it froze) and no amount of Undo or just waiting helped. Also, I could not get back into Page View and had to do a force quit and restart of Dorico.

Did you try it with a full orchestral score? I also had two windows open, one on Galley and another one Page view.

No. I just started a new project with one player.

And that should be your learning point. You add 18 bars with shift-b 18 (not by pressing R 18 times!). When it failed to work, you would have remembered you needed a time signature (shift-m).

(I do have a small gripe that Dorico will never suggest why a popover entry fails)

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@Bollen, I’m not sure why selecting a rest and hitting R 18 times would cause Dorico to hang. If you want to send your diagnostics and the project in question, I’d be happy to take a look. In general lengthening the project via the Shift+B popover would be what I suggest.

Daniel. Something strange does happen.

Create a new score. Don’t enter a time signature. Then (in page view) use the ‘R’ method to replicate the rest, at some point (in my case at 9) the flow just disappears! It still exists in Galley view. If I then enter a 4/4 signature, it appears that I have entered 128 bars. Having entered the 4/4 in galley, the flow reappears in page view.

I’ve replicated this with a solo template and a string quartet (both on default settings). At each press of ‘R’ the notes panel indicates that I’m adding longer and longer notes.

I bet what’s happening is that it’s duplicating the entire rest, so it’s an exponential explosion.

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Well, if you end up with a single item that is too wide to fit onto the width of the system, Dorico gets a bit upset. If you reduce the staff size, or make the page landscape instead of portrait, or otherwise increase the available space, the system will draw once more.

Thank you for the simple explanation. I’m sure you’d agree it would be helpful (particularly to a newcomer who does something unexpected) if Dorico could find some courteous way express its displeasure!


It did express its displeasure. It just didn’t take time to explain itself.

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No worries, I just thought I’d point out how easy it was to break Dorico with this method. I am well aware of the preferred methodology.