Moving items graphically

You can move items graphically without changing the rhythmic positions or notes to which they are attached; for example, to offset individual items on specific pages without either moving other items of the same type or changing their default positions, as set in Engraving Options. You can do this for the current layout and frame chain only, or for all layouts and frame chains.

You can move individual instances of system objects, such as tempo marks or system-attached text, independently of other instances shown at different staff positions. You can also move each end of items with duration, such as gradual dynamics or octave lines, independently, allowing you to adjust their graphical length and angle.

  • These steps do not apply to the following: text in text frames, accidentals, notes, clefs, barlines, key signatures, or time signatures shown on staves.

  • You can only move some items and handles in specific directions. For example, you can move:

    • Articulations upwards/downwards only, not to the right/left.

    • Octave line end handles to the right/left only, not upwards/downwards.

  • When using the mouse, you can only move whole guitar bends and vibrato bar dives/returns upwards/downwards.


  • Graphic Editing Graphic Editing button is selected in the Engrave toolbox.

  • You have chosen the appropriate property scope for local properties.


  1. In Engrave mode, select any of the following that you want to move.
    • Whole items or segments of items that cross system/frame breaks

    • Lines extending from items, such as figured bass hold lines or lyric extender lines

    • Individual handles on items

    • You can show handles on all items, not just selected items, by choosing Engrave > Show Handles > Always. This can make it easier to select individual handles on multiple items.

    • You can cycle through handles on a selected item by pressing Tab.

  2. Move the selected items in any of the following ways:
    • To move items a standard amount to the right, left, up, or down, press Alt/Opt plus the corresponding arrow key. For example, press Alt/Opt-Left Arrow to move items to the left. This moves beams by 1/4 space and all other items by 1/8 space per press.

    • To move items a large amount, press Ctrl/Cmd plus the standard key command; for example, Ctrl/Cmd-Alt/Opt-Left Arrow. This moves items by 1 space per press.

    • To move items a moderate amount, press Shift plus the standard key command; for example, Shift-Alt/Opt-Left Arrow. This moves items by 1/2 space per press.

    • To move items a small amount, press Ctrl/Cmd-Shift plus the standard key command; for example, Ctrl/Cmd-Shift-Alt/Opt-Left Arrow. This moves items by 1/32 space per press.

    • Click and drag them in any direction.

      • To constrain movement either horizontally or vertically, start dragging, then press and hold Shift.

      • You cannot move vibrato bar scoops using the mouse.


The selected items are moved graphically without changing the rhythmic positions or notes to which they are attached. If the property scope was set to Locally, this change only takes effect in the current layout and frame chain.

Attachment lines link items to the rhythmic positions to which they apply, so it is always clear where they belong.

Moving some items, such as notehead brackets and jazz articulations, causes other nearby items, such as ties and slurs, to move automatically to avoid collisions. This might affect note spacing and casting off.

If you move dynamics linked to other dynamics, all dynamics linked to the selected dynamics in the current layout are also moved.

Moving items with continuation or hold lines, such as playing techniques or figured bass, moves them both together. Moving continuation/hold lines or continuation/hold line handles moves the continuation/hold lines independently of the item. Dorico Pro automatically lengthens hold lines between figured bass suspensions and resolutions when you move resolution figures.

Lengthening/Shortening lyric hyphens does not change the size or shape of the hyphens themselves. Instead, you increase/decrease the distance between the handles in which hyphens can appear.

By default, player labels erase their backgrounds if positioned in the staff so they do not collide with staff lines.

  • Moving the start handle of hairpins with the keyboard changes the vertical position of whole hairpins, not their angles. You must change the end offset position as well to change the angle of hairpins. Dragging hairpin handles with the mouse always changes the angle.

  • You can change the default positions of most objects on the corresponding page in Engraving Options.

  • Properties that control the graphic offsets of items are activated automatically when you move items. You can find these properties in the corresponding group of the Properties panel for the item, or in the Common group for some items, such as text items and lyrics.

    Some offset properties have separate value fields for horizontal offsets on the X axis and vertical offsets on the Y axis. Similarly, items with length or duration have separate offset properties for each end.

    You can also use these properties to move items graphically by changing the values in the value fields. Deactivating offset properties resets the selected items to their default positions.