Write | Engrave —— Override KB Shortcut

Dorico’s modal workspaces are another design feature which I like.

I’d like to ask if a temporary override shortcut key has been considered (or perhaps is already present) that allows some features to be called upon from other modes.

With regards to system breaks—which in my understanding can only be made from within ‘engrave mode’ directly—I think it wold be nice to have access to these from within ‘write mode’ as well, and maybe it could happen by way of a single mode override shortcut key.

I don’t mind using ‘cmd + 2/3’ to jump between the write/engrave modes… But when it’s only for a single operation, that jumps seems a bit tedious… maybe having an override key which allows the standard KB shortcut for system breaks to work within write mode would be a nice option to have.

It could be set up for other tools, and also added as a preference setting to toggle on/off depending on how cautious folks want to be in preserving the protections that the different modes offer.

Dorico’s modes definitely encourages a more disciplined workflow to keep from jumping back and froth between them. It’s kind of the same with Finale’s tools, at least if you want to work as fast as possible.

I’m not sure how easy it would be to implement such an override option, or indeed if most users would find it useful, but system breaks, as one of many other features, can indeed be accessed in both engrave mode and write mode already via the context menu.

I’m sad to report that this definitely does not hold true in my case. That system break option accessible from the context menu does not work when called upon from within write mode.

Is this possibly something that is unique to my OS… I’m using Dorico on a Macbook Pro OS X 10.10.5 Yosemite… which is one step outside of the approved OS list?

Sorry, no, your absolutely right. It doesn’t work within write mode for me either. I just assumed it did, since the menu is there, and some of the other items seem to work in both modes.

Hopefully the context menu in write mode illustrates which features you’ll have access to down the line, so implementing an override option seems unnecessary.

The problem with making system and frame breaks possible to create in Write mode is that in Write mode selections ignore which frame chain (i.e. which series of frame chains you’re working in) you’re actually working in, and it wouldn’t be a good idea to create a system or frame break in the same place in every frame chain in which the same flow appears (I realise that often a single flow appears only in a single frame chain, but we have to design for the general case, which may well be more complex than the default case).

However, it would probably be a good idea for the breaks items to appear only in the menu when you’re in Engrave mode, so we’ll think about how best to achieve that.


Thanks @dspreadbury,
New user trying Dorico after 15 years of Sibelius, and willing to make the switch.
I’ve been forcing myself to only use Dorico for the past month, and this exact “issue” (not an issue) mentioned in this thread is what I find myself struggling with the most.
I created a shortcuts for “create system breaks” and “make into system”, but the fact that they are contextual to only work in Engrave mode is really a pain…it would be great if some sort of solution could be contemplated.

The second “struggle” I’m encountering is selecting bars in Engrave mode (in order to then make system breaks). Selecting bars or notes or phrases in Write mode is brilliant and very intuitive, why is it different in Engrave mode?

Hope mine is looked as constructive criticism, of course.

Thanks so much for your hard work.


Dorico does have a rudimentary scripting capability for sequences of actions. I have a number of scripts that switch to Engrave mode, perform an operation (such as a System Break), and then switch back.

If you’re coming from other software where you’re accustomed to ‘force’ or set system breaks everywhere all the time: I’d suggest that’s not needed in Dorico. I set a Note Spacing value for the Layout that gives a good fit, with just a couple a Breaks if needed. You can also set Note Spacing changes at any point in the Flow.

You don’t need to select bars to make system breaks. Select any item at the rhythmic position where you want a system break, then click the system break button.

If you’re talking about the Make Into System button, again, you don’t need to select the passage. Click the first item you want on the system, then Ctrl/Cmd-click the last thing you want on the system (preferably a barline), then click the Make Into System button.