How to Work with Engraving Options 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 Work with Engraving Options in Dorico”…

Hi, I’m Anthony Hughes and in this video, I’ll be showing you how to use the Engraving Options that are found in Steinberg’s new music notation software, Dorico.

Dorico uses rules to determine how to draw the music you input; what the music items looks like and how they are positioned relative to other items.

But in every area of music notation there are always several different approaches that one can take and while we have made great effort to ensure Dorico’s default output is sensible and elegant, other options are always available.

And rather than making edits across the score, a fundamental concept of Dorico is that you set your Engraving Options once and then they take effect throughout your music.

We wanted to make choosing between these different options as easy as possible, and so we created the Engraving Options dialog. You’ll find the engraving options dialog in Engrave mode, under the Engrave menu and you can always use the key command Ctrl+Shift+E (that’s Cmd+Shift+E on Mac) to open the dialog from any mode.

Down the left-hand side of the dialog is a list of all the categories the options are divided into:

Accidentals, Arpeggio Signs, Articulations, Bar Numbers, Barlines, Beams, Brackets and Braces, Chord Symbols, Clefs, Cues, Dynamics, Fingering, Glissando Lines, Holds and Pauses, Instrument Changes, Key Signatures, Language, Lyrics, Notes, Octave Lines, Ornaments, Pedal Lines, Percussion, Playing Techniques, Rehearsal Marks, Repeat Endings, Rests, Slurs, Spacing Gaps , Staff Labels, Staves, System Dividers, Tempo, Text, Ties, Time Signatures, Tremolos and Tuplets.

The main body of the dialog shows the options for the selected category. They are divided into sections so that similar options are grouped together, and we use actual musical examples to illustrate exactly what it is you are modifying.

Engraving Options are always concerned with the graphical appearance of your music.

There are other options dialogs that deal with things like setting up page layouts and how to represent the musical data — so things like note and beam grouping.

Dorico’s Notation Options Dialog includes a number of note and beam grouping choices…

Engraving Options control all aspects of the drawing of your music. There are options to control the appearance of items, for example controlling how dynamics look by default [see above]; what sort of arpeggio line to use

and how to draw metronome marks.

Dorico can display or round tempos such as “120.5”

There are options to control the design of music items, such as the thickness of barlines and the gaps between them;

how brackets are drawn

and the thickness and height of slurs.

There are multiple options for determining how music items are arranged and work together with other objects, such as rules for stacking accidentals

and how articulations are placed with slurs and ties.

Dorico gives you complete control over the positioning of music items, including slurs, … articulations, … and beams.

There are even options to control the more general approach to the look of the music so you can choose the correct bracketing for your ensemble


or use off style rests and multibar rests if they are better suited to the project you are working on.

Of course, these are just a handful of examples, and there are literally hundreds of options available for you to use.

Engraving Options take effect across the whole project, including all flows in all layouts. However they do not affect other projects until you click this button to Save as Default.

Then, any new projects will inherit the options you have modified.

And of course, it is always possible to override for individual items any options set globally using the Properties panels in either Write mode or Engrave mode.

…I’m Anthony Hughes, thanks for watching.


Comment travailler avec les options de gravure dans Dorico | Mode gravure

Wie man in Dorico mit Notensatz-Optionen arbeitet | Notensatz-Modus

I very much hope you’ve found this video transcription to be helpful. If you have, please subscribe to OF NOTE and follow me on for ongoing music notation news and info. And don’t forget to subscribe to the Dorico YouTube channel to see many more excellent tutorial videos like this one. ~robert puff

2 Replies to “How to Work with Engraving Options in Dorico | Engrave mode”

  1. Hi, I’m a new user of Dorico. I watched Anthony Hughes’ videos on You Tube re Engrave Mode in Dorico. His interface looks different from mine in that his version has “radio buttons” to activate various elements of Engrave Mode, i.e., to turn on Format Systems, Format Music Frames, etc. My version of Dorico does not have these buttons. I need to edit the Master Page which Dorico forces me to use and which only permits one system on the first page, when I want to have two systems on the first page. How can I get Dorico to do what I want? Any suggestions would be much appreciated.



    1. Hi Patrick,

      If you are using the current version of Dorico, v2, there are a few differences in how things look between versions, but I think a good place to start is to look on this site by entering the keywords “Dorico Layouts” into the search field. Engraving Options are more for fine tuning the “house style” of your score; things like thickness of bar lines or positioning of objects in the staff.

      Generally, controlling the number of staves on a page is the function of two settings – the vertical distance between systems and secondarily, the size of the staves themselves. Both of these are found in the Layout Options section of Dorico. For starters, go to the Layout Options dialog and click on Vertical Spacing at the left side.

      Look for “inter-system gap” and reduce the value in there by a small amount and see if that gives you 2 systems on the page. If not, reduce by another small amount and so forth. This will become an intuitive process after you’ve done it a few times.

      If the space you need to achieve two systems on the page is greater than a space or two, you will want to consider the staff size. This is found in the Page Setup section of Layout Options.

      Look for “Space Size” and you can create a custom staff size that is smaller which will allow more staves of music to fit in the same vertical space.

      A little can go a long way so experiment with small adjustments to find the optimum setting, and also be sure to review the tutorials on Layout for Dorico by searching the blog.

      With thanks,

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