Page formatting

The formatting of pages in Dorico Elements is determined by a number of factors, including the layout’s staff size, page margins, the page template applied to them, any casting off values applied to them, system and frame breaks, and frame padding.

The most important factors that determine how pages are formatted in Dorico Elements are:

Staff size

Staff size refers to the distance between the top and bottom lines of staves. The most appropriate staff size depends on the intended purpose and contents of the layout. In many cases, changing the staff size is the quickest way to produce legible layouts.

Staff spacing

Staff spacing mostly involves the height of staves and the necessary gaps between staves and systems.

Casting off

“Casting off” is the term used to encompass fixing the layout of pages of music, such as setting the number of systems per page.

System and frame breaks

System and frame breaks allow you to adjust layouts at a more granular level, by determining which bars are shown on each system and where music is pushed into the next frame.

Page margins

Page margins determine the dimensions of pages in layouts. Frames cannot exceed the boundaries set by the margins of the layout, which you can change on the Page Setup page in Layout Options. You can change the size of margins on each edge of each page.

Page templates

All pages in your layouts inherit their layout formats from page templates. Although you cannot create or edit page templates in Dorico Elements, we recommend being familiar with them as a concept, so you are aware of how pages are formatted. For example, if you override a page template, such as by editing the title directly in the music area, empty pages that are no longer required might not be deleted automatically.


The default page templates in Dorico Elements contain tokens for the project title, lyricist, and composer on the first pages in layouts, and the flow title (score layouts) or layout name (part layouts) at the top of subsequent pages. Part layouts also automatically show the layout name in the top left of the first page. These tokens refer to information in the Project Info dialog, so we recommend entering information in the Project Info dialog in order to show it in your layouts.

Flow headings

Flow headings show the number and title of each flow immediately above their first system automatically. They have no fixed vertical position and follow the music if it moves. The default flow heading contains tokens to display the flow number and flow title; in a new project, this appears as “1. Flow 1”. In Dorico Elements, you cannot edit flow headings or create new ones.

You can hide/show flow headings on a per-layout basis. Deleting or editing individual flow headings is considered a page template override, which is a type of page format change.

Music frame margins

Music frames have margins at the top and bottom. Music frame margins provide padding to ensure that musical material displayed within the frame remains on the page. For example, if music frames have no padding, the top line on the top staff in the frame is positioned at the top of the frame. Any notes that require ledger lines above the staff might then be positioned off the top of the page. You can change the music frame margins for each layout.

We recommend familiarizing yourself with these concepts, and how to use them together and in different contexts, in order to produce well-formatted layouts.