Inputting figured bass

You can input figured bass using the figured bass popover, both for all instruments or only for individual instruments. You can also open the figured bass popover during note input; however, inputting a figure stops note input.


  1. In Write mode, select an item on the staff and at the rhythmic position where you want to start inputting figured bass.
  2. Press Shift-G to open the figured bass popover.

    If you selected an item on a staff that has local figures at earlier rhythmic positions, the figured bass popover is automatically set to input local figures when it opens.

  3. Optional: Change the type of figure you want to enter in one of the following ways:
    • To input local figures, press Alt/Opt-L.

    • To input global figures, press Alt/Opt-G.

    The popover icon updates to show the current type.

    Figure 1. Figured bass popover when inputting a global figure
    Figure 2. Figured bass popover when inputting a local figure
  4. Enter the figure you want into the figured bass popover.

    For example, enter 4->3d=4r=2 for a 4-3 suspension that lasts a whole note, with the resolution to the third after a half note. If you want Dorico Elements to follow your entry exactly, include O, o, or ! at the start of your entry. For example, to force Dorico Elements to show 5,3 figures.

  5. Optional: Advance the figured bass popover in one of the following ways:
    • Press Space to advance the popover to the next beat according to the current time signature.

    • Press Right Arrow/Left Arrow to move the popover to the next/previous rhythmic grid position.

    • Press Tab/Shift-Tab to move the popover to the start of the next/previous bar.

  6. Optional: To input an individual local figure when the popover is set to global, and vice versa, press Alt/Opt-Return to input the figure.
  7. Press Return to close the popover.


The figured bass specified is input. If you selected an item belonging to an instrument that was not already set to show figured bass in the current layout, its player is automatically updated to show them. If Dorico Elements cannot identify the bass note at the position of a figure, such as if you input a figure on a rest, it appears as a signpost.

Dorico Elements calculates and saves the pitches implied by the figures you enter in relation to the lowest note at that rhythmic position. This semantic understanding of the harmony implied by figures allows Dorico Elements to update the displayed figures on different staves and if you transpose or change the pitch of notes.

Global figures apply to all instruments in the project and appear on all staves whose players are set to show figured bass. Local figures only apply to the selected instrument, and by default refer to its lowest staff. Local figures always appear, even if global figures exist at the same rhythmic positions.


Unless you included an entry for Follow input literally at the start of your popover entry, the appearance of the resulting figure is determined by the default settings in Dorico Elements

After Completing This Task

  • You can hide/show figured bass above specific players in each layout independently.

  • You can simplify compound figures, that is, figures 9 and above.

  • You can show figures on individual rests.