Inputting pick-up bars with the popover

You can input pick-up bars as part of time signatures using the time signatures popover, both during note input and by adding them to existing music. You can also input time signatures with pick-up bars only on specific staves.


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: During note input, if you want to input notes and notations onto multiple staves, extend the caret to those staves.
  3. 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.

  4. Open the time signatures popover in any of the following ways:
    • Press Shift-M.

    • In the Notations toolbox, click Popovers Popovers button, then Time Signatures (Meter) Time Signatures (Meter) button.

  5. Enter the time signature and the number of pick-up beats you want into the popover.

    For example, enter:

    • 3/4,0.75 for a 3/4 time signature with a dotted eighth note (dotted quaver) upbeat.

    • 4/4,1 for a 4/4 time signature with one quarter note (crotchet) upbeat.

    • 6/8,2 for a 6/8 time signature with a pick-up of two eighth notes (quavers).

    The number after the comma indicates multiples of the rhythmic unit specified by the denominator of the time signature.

  6. Input the pick-up bar and close the popover in one of the following ways:
    • To input a pick-up bar on all staves, press Return.

    • To input a pick-up bar only on the selected staves or staves across which the caret extends, press Alt/Opt-Return.


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.