How to Control Staff Spacing in Dorico | Engrave mode

🎬  This article is a transcription of one of the excellent tutorial videos posted to the official Dorico YouTube channel.

Presented here in written form with the kind permission of its creator, Anthony Hughes, this tutorial is titled “How to Control Staff Spacing in Dorico”…


Hi I’m Anthony Hughes, and in this video I’ll be showing you how to control staff spacing in Dorico, the new music notation software from Steinberg.

Dorico is continually making advanced calculations in order to automatically set the spacing between staves and there are comprehensive layout options that give you control over things like the ideal and minimum gaps between staves.

Ideal Gaps : setup > layout options > vertical spacing
Minimum Gaps : setup > layout options > vertical spacing

Sometimes, however, you might find that you want to tweak the position of a particular staff or system. To do this, switch to Engrave mode by pressing Ctrl+3 (that’s Cmd+3 on Mac)

and switching on Staff Spacing using this toggle in the left hand panel.

You’ll notice a number of handles and rulers appear on the staves and in the margins.

Modifying the staff spacing is as easy as dragging a handle to a new position.

When you have made an adjustment to the position of one of the staves or systems, its handle turns red. To remove the position override, select the handle and press delete.

The staff returns to its default position.

The smaller handles drag individual staves.

You don’t actually have to drag the handle, you can click and drag anywhere on the staff. Because selection of music items is disabled when staff spacing is switched on, you are protected from making any unwanted edits to your music. Dragging an individual staff does not affect the position of any other staves.

You can hold down Ctrl (or Cmd on Mac) and select more than one handle to drag multiple staves at the same time.

The larger handles drag the whole system. And you can drag the coloured bar along the top of the system if you prefer.

Ctrl or Cmd clicking system handles allows you to move multiple systems at the same time and you can also press delete to remove the overrides on any selected systems.

If you prefer to use the keyboard, then you can navigate between staves by pressing the up and down arrow keys.

Then, when you hold down the alt key using the up and down arrow keys, [it] moves the staff.

Hold down shift and press up or down to select more staves and then move them at the same time.

Use the tab key to cycle between selecting individual staves and systems.

And if you hold down the Ctrl key (that’s Cmd on Mac) and Alt then using the up and down arrow keys will move the staves or systems by greater amounts.

You can also click on the ruler labels to set precise measurements.

These use your preferred unit of measurements set in general preferences.

Sometimes you may need to create some additional space between two staves and you can do this easily by holding down alt while you drag a staff or system.

This not only moves the selected staff, but also moves any other staves in the direction you are dragging by a proportionate amount, leaving the staves on the other side untouched.

This ‘concertina’ drag [move] can [also] be achieved using the key commands Alt+J or Alt+K. Again, add Ctrl (or Cmd on Mac) to move in larger steps.

Once you have a page set with your desired staff spacing, you can then copy those spacing values to other pages. To do this, press this button to open the Copy Staff Spacing dialog. In the first control, select the page that has your modified staff spacing. Then in the next two controls, set the page range that you want to copy those values to. Dorico will go through and match the staff spacing on all pages that have the same number of systems with the same number of staves. All other pages will be safely ignored.

If this video has been helpful to you please consider liking it by clicking on the thumbs up button, and you can subscribe to our Dorico channel to see many more videos like this one. I’m Anthony Hughes, thanks for watching.


I appreciate your support of the OF NOTE  blog. If you find it to be a useful resource, please consider subscribing to OF NOTE and . ~robert

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