Workflow Hindrances? --- Or Settings I'm Missing???

Hi all!

I’m well into my first “writing season” of being a Dorico only writer. I dove in earlier this year and am over the hump on the learning curve, I believe.

I have a few things that keep tripping up my groove when working and I don’t know if there are settings adjustments that I can make or if they are details that are “feature requests” for the devs. Please help me see the light if possible…

1 - DEFAULT NOTE VALUE WHEN INITIATING INPUT MODE - Let’s say I’m inputting notes into three separate trumpet parts, a G major whole note chord. I put the D whole note in the first trumpet and then double click on the second trumpet part to enter input mode. When I do this Dorico defaults back to the quarter note (crotchet) value, adding another key stroke (8 on the num pad) to get me back to a whole note entry. It would be more efficient if I could double click on Trumpet II, hit the B on my MIDI keyboard and then move on to Tpt III, double click and then hit G. Instead the process is double click, hit 8, hit G. I’d like the option to have Dorico use the previous note value when re-initializing input mode, rather than defaulting back to the quarter note (crotchet). The vast majority of the time, when jumping around between staves it is to work on the same moment in the piece and the note value in that moment is more often than not the same note value.

2 - DEFAULT ZOOM VALUE WHEN SWITCHING BETWEEN WRITE AND ENGRAVE MODES - When editing a score and tweaking appearances, I have to jump back and forth between Write and Engrave modes…Sometimes I notice notation errors that can’t be fixed in Engrave, or I just want to see it without the frame lines muddling up my vision. Often, I am in Galley View in input mode and I add a text instruction for other members of my design team at a certain place and have to switch to Engrave Mode to adjust its position because it overlaps a staff and I cant see what I’m doing next. The problem for me is that when I switch between Write and Evgrave, the zoom resets to 100% each time. So every time I move from one to the other, I have to adjust the zoom so that I can see the whole score, make my adjustment, and then switch back to the other mode. When I go back to where I was before before, the zoom there has reset as well and I have to take the time to readjust what I can see on my screen before I can continue my work.
An example is me writing on the piano line and I have a two measure break. The guy I have writing the percussion parts needs instruction on what I want him to write there. I click the rest in the empty measure, hit shift+x, type my instruction (attempting to keep it only two measures wide), and then click out of text input mode. Dorico places my text in where it thinks it should be based on the upper left-hand corner of the text block, but it goes down into the piano staff and is illegible. So I switch over to engrave mode to adjust the text position higher…the zoom resets and I hold down ctrl and roll my mouse wheel to make the screen the size I need it. I drag my text to where I want it, but realize that I had a typo in my text (Dorico doesn’t give me a red-squiggly-line spell check). I switch back over to Write Mode, but the zoom resets again and things aren’t where I left them. So, I re-zoom, drag my view to where I need it, and fix the typing error that I made. When I erase the extra letter that my fat fingers hit, the text block adjusts itself and the number of words on that line adjusts. I jump back over to Engrave Mode to adjust the block location again and alas, the zoom zoom zoom resets and I have to re-re-adjust the adjustment from before. Satisfied, I now go back to Write Mode, re-re-re-adjust the zoom, drag the score to where I need it and continue working. Long story to illustrate, but my life would be much easier if Dorico could remember the zoom and screen-position settings from my last visit to the various modes, saving me the extra steps and allowing my editing to be a bit more streamlined.

3 - CUMBERSOME TASKS THAT I WILL WRITE KEYBOARD MACROS FOR - (I’ll keep the examples short as I can)

Explode and Reduce - I use this a lot. A whole lot. There are a a lot of steps to get it done. Highlight the involved staves, copy or cut, then Edit > Paste Special > Explode or Reduce (On the second level of a menu with no assigned key shortcut.) That’s a lot of clicks. I want to write a multiple keystroke macro, but there are no Alt+ options for Paste Special, nor for Explode or Reduce, so I don’t know if it will work. I need a quicker way to explode and reduce. Also, when reducing onto a staff it defaults to add the reduced part to existing notes on the staff rather than overwriting…creating double notes on the destination staff and adding an additional step of clearing the measure if I’m reducing onto a staff that has one of the included parts in it.

Concert Pitch vs. Transposed Pitch - I switch back and forth between these a lot as well. I have read in the forum others’ solutions for this, but wanted to add my voice to the “I wish it was easier to do this quickly” choir.

Perhaps there are solutions to these workflow issues that I am experiencing already there and I have not read enough or experimented enough to find them. If so, I apologize for being ‘that guy.’ But any help is very much appreciated!

All of these things being said, I LOVE DORICO! My works sounds better, looks better, and individual instrument parts are so much easier to manage and adjust when (infrequently) necessary, and I’m almost to the point where I can cancel my subscription to Sibelius and delete Finale from my machine forever!!! (I would consider myself a power-user of both platforms. I started with Finale in 1992 when it was on 8 floppy disks, I switched to Sibelius a few years ago when the drummers in my world pleaded me into it, and am overjoyed to ditch them both ASAP.)

Thank you all so much,
Ed, Michigan, USA
efg Marching Concepts, LLC

  1. Don’t leave note input mode. Just hit the down arrow on your keyboard to navigate to the stave below.

For that matter, if you hit Q before you type the note, Dorico won’t even move the caret forward. If the caret has moved forward, you can always use the left arrow key to get it back to where it was. Double-clicking to get to another stave is a slow way of doing things.

For point 2, the only real way around this is to make these sorts of edits in Page View. That way, when you switch to and from Engrave mode your zoom (and position) should remain the same.

  1. You can add keyboard shortcuts yourself, for Explode, Reduce and the various other Paste Special commands. Just go into Preferences > Key Commands and set whatever you like.

The way I handle transposed scores:

I have a “Working Score” layout that contains all parts: singers, orchestral accompaniment, rehearsal piano reduction.
I also have a Conductor’s Score layout (and a Piano/Vocal layout, if necessary).

The Working Score and Piano/Vocal scores are always in Concert; the Conductor’s Score is always transposing.

Thank you for the suggestions. All were helpful.

All were great solutions, except for having to write in page view to keep zoom levels. Breaking up my view every 6-8 measures isn’t ideal, but things may change.

I am sorry it took so long to answer, I much appreciate your time in answering.


You can assign a Key Command to Toggle Layout Transposition. This way it’s only one keystroke to memorize - if you are in concert it will switch to transposed and vice versa. I use Ctrl-Alt-T as it’s easy to remember and I can do it with one hand.

Don’t forget that you can cmd+arrow to move by measure which can be a lot faster too. I arrow the caret between staves all the time and it is very quick and convenient. I input a long organ trio from an old manuscript in 20 minutes or so; rarely did I ever exit out of input mode. I just popped around with the arrows w&w/o cmd.

This request really resonated with me. We have had helpful suggestions for how to avoid leaving note input, but there are other items besides notes to put into a score and sometimes it makes sense to do them immediately. Also, on this computer, if you are scanning through a file, clicking on the bottom bar moves the window past the next bar and Shift + mouse is the quickest way to get what you want to see. What I have yet to see here is any reason why you should want crotchets rather than any other note value when you return to note input. In my present project, I have used every key from 1 to 8 inclusive to select notes lengths (8 for tied semibreves in successive bars) and semiquavers (sixteenths) are the present leaders, so the chance that crotchets are what I want is much less than 1 in 8. The option to suspend this function would save me many key presses, CTRL-Z a large but diminishing proportion of them.

All of these things being said, I LOVE DORICO!

It’s early days in my relationship with Dorico and I still have some dissatisfaction mixed with my love, but my future use of Finale will be limited to exporting XML of whatever pieces I want to save for my friends.

I’ve had another look at this, and realise that my description of the problem is inaccurate. Like the vertical shifts using the right-hand bar, after a move the new proximate boundary coincides with or is very close to the old distal one, but after the horizontal move the permanent clef and staff name (essential information the way I work) obscures the first few objects. This is not a serious problem; there are better ways to move around a score, so all I have to do is to remember not to use this one.

I found that I had to use the pop-up for “Più Mosso” and thought how nice it would be if Dorico connected the pop-up with the built-in tempi and automatically corrected Piu to Più, to save me from having to invoke the Windows extended character set.

I have two somewhat more important hindrances to my present work:

1 The soloist’s stave of my composer’s manuscript has two double stoppings with two portamento slashes between them; I have not yet found a way for Dorico to produce them. The pop-up puts a portamento wiggle from the bottom notehead of the first chord to the top one of the second, which I think looks rather ugly and I suspect he would have hated. I can select the top notehead of one chord, but as soon as I select the second, Dorico adds the bottom two.

2 Again in the solo part, he writes a succession of three-part chords, each preceded by a vertical curved line, looking like an oversized left parenthesis or a tie turned through a right angle. The middle note of each chord is the principal motif of the movement and I think he wants the bottom two played together and quickly followed by the top two.

My composer wrote rather few original works, but for 25 years he was the pianist and principal arranger of a professional orchestra, and I find his writing style very convincing, so I want my version to show it as accurately as possible. My fall-back plan is to take pen and ink to the printed part.

I am still adding key commands to my repertoire. Dorico has the best zooming system I have ever used, and it compensates for several of the minor annoyances of the navigation methods. I also like very much the playback of selected notes on one stave, though I shall be using it rather less. If an easy way to jump to a bar number or a rehearsal letter were to be provided, I would use that, mostly when discussing the score with others.

kenm, for “jump to,” have you tried Ctrl-G? (Cmd-G on Mac)

  1. Click the top note of the first chord, then Cmd/Ctrl+click the top note of the second chord. Add a portamento line. Then repeat for the bottom note.

Cmd/Ctrl+G is the default shortcut for the “Go to” dialog.

You can get Più Mosso without messing with special characters if you click the options in the right hand Tempo panel.

The lack of automatic conversion might be an accidental omission, since Dorico does convert “piu f” etc in the Dynamics popover.

1 This works if your select the individual notes with click and Ctrl-click. If you use click and Shift-click, you select the passage and get all the notes in between. If you have problems selecting individual notes in the chords, try zooming in a bit.

2 Let’s just say that this was requested by somebody on the forum back in 2017, the development team often take note of requests for new features, and there is a new version coming out “real soon now”.

Thanks Dan, Leo and Rob.

My Tempo panel has nothing labelled “options”. How do I recognise what I need to click?

My glissando lines now look very nearly what I was expecting. The slight oddity is than the chords are both sixths but the lines are not parallel. If the top one actually got near the notehead, the Dorico algorithm might produce the best possible result, but since the line stops early to avoid an accidental it gets nowhere near the leger line that it is aiming to miss. I’ll settle for it if I can’t make it look better in Engraving.

I wasn’t aware of Ctrl-click, or of Shift-G so thanks for them too.

Thanks, Dan