Inputting pick-up bars with the panel

You can input pick-up bars as part of time signatures using the Time Signatures (Meter) panel, both during note input and by adding them to existing music. You can also input time signatures only on specific staves.

  • These steps describe inputting with the default mouse input preference Create item at selection.

  • Dorico Pro does not automatically add beats to fill bars according to the new time signature at the end of the affected region unless Insert mode is activated.


  1. In Write mode, do one of the following:
    • Start note input.

    • Select an item at the rhythmic position where you want to input a pick-up bar. If you want to input a pick-up bar on specific staves, select items that only belong to those staves.

  2. Optional: If you want Dorico Pro to add beats at the end of the region affected by the pick-up bar if required, activate Insert mode in any of the following ways:
    • Press I.

    • In the Notes toolbox, click Insert Insert button.

  3. In the Notations toolbox, click Panels , then Time Signatures (Meter) to show the Time Signatures (Meter) panel.
  4. In the Create Time Signature section, select the type of time signature you want from the menu.
  5. Enter the time signatures you want into the available spaces.
  6. Activate Pick-up bar of and select one of the following options:
    • 1/2 beat

    • 1 beat

    • 2 beats

    • 3 beats


      Not all pick-up bar lengths are possible when using the panel. For example, you cannot produce a single eighth note upbeat in 6/8 with the available options. In such cases, you must use the time signatures popover.

  7. Input the pick-up bar in one of the following ways:
    • To input a pick-up bar on all staves, click the input time signature button in the Create Time Signature section.

    • To input a pick-up bar only on the selected staves or staff on which the caret is active, Alt/Opt-click the input time signature button in the Create Time Signature section.


During note input, pick-up bars are added at the caret position as part of the specified time signature, even if this is in the middle of an existing bar.

When adding pick-up bars to existing music, they are added at the rhythmic position of the earliest selected item as part of the specified time signature. If you selected an existing time signature, the new time signature with pick-up bar directly replaces the existing one.

All subsequent bars follow the input time signature, until the next existing time signature or the end of the flow, whichever comes first. Dorico Pro automatically inputs and moves barlines as required so that subsequent music is barred correctly. However, in open meters, you must input barlines and add beats manually.

Any time signatures you input after an interchangeable time signature that are specified in it are hidden automatically until you end the interchangeable time signature.

  • Dorico Pro does not automatically insert beats at the start of existing music to which you add time signatures with pick-up bars. If you add a pick-up bar at the start of a flow, that flow now begins in the pick-up bar, not in the first full bar. You can insert beats at the start to push existing music to later rhythmic positions.

  • You can use the Global Adjustment of Current Bar Insert mode scope to create and delete pick-up bars by deleting notes/rests in the first bar in the flow. You can also use it to shorten the last bar in flows that start with a pick-up bar.