Key commands

Key commands are sets of keys that perform defined tasks when pressed together. They are also known as “keyboard shortcuts” or “hotkeys”. Many key commands are the same on different operating systems but some are not, and this guide distinguishes them.

When key commands use equivalent modifier keys depending on the operating system, the modifier keys are indicated separated by a slash, with the Windows modifier key first and the macOS modifier key second.


Ctrl/Cmd-Alt/Opt-Down Arrow means: press Ctrl-Alt-Down Arrow on Windows, Cmd-Opt-Down Arrow on macOS.

When key commands require entirely different keys depending on the operating system, they are indicated with the Windows key command first, followed by the macOS key command.


Ctrl (Windows) or Opt (macOS) means: press Ctrl on Windows, Opt on macOS.

Dorico provides multiple ways of inputting many items in order to cater for users who prefer to use the mouse for input as well as those who prefer only to use their computer keyboard. This guide focuses on using the keyboard in order to provide a simpler sequence of steps for you to follow, and because Dorico’s key commands have been designed to be both logical and accessible using a standard computer keyboard without needing a number pad. However, this guide also includes references to the mouse input methods along the way.


The arrow keys on their own navigate the selection around the music area. Adding Alt/Opt to the arrow keys moves notes and items rhythmically in Write mode and a small amount graphically in Engrave mode. For example, Alt/Opt-Up Arrow/Alt/Opt-Down Arrow transpose notes up/down by staff position. Adding Ctrl/Cmd as well moves notes and items by a larger amount. For example, Ctrl/Cmd-Alt/Opt-Up Arrow/Ctrl/Cmd-Alt/Opt-Down Arrow transpose notes up/down by octave.