We’re pleased to announce the immediate availability of another new Dorico 5 update, coming just a few weeks after the release of Dorico 5.1.10 in January. Dorico 5.1.20 is a free update for existing Dorico Pro 5, Dorico Elements 5 and Dorico SE users, and there’s a corresponding update for Dorico for iPad available for download on the App Store, too. This update includes more than 30 bug fixes, and also a nice set of engraving improvements. Read on for more details!

Please check the Dorico Version History PDF for complete details of all of the changes and improvements in this update. But let’s take a short tour of a couple of the highlights.


The conventions for the horizontal placement of the ends of hairpins are complex and contextual – exactly where a hairpin should stop and start depends on many factors, including whether there is an immediate dynamic (such as p or f) or another gradual dynamic at either end.

When a hairpin ends on one note, and another hairpin starts on the same note, for example, it’s typical for the hairpin that ends there to have its right-hand end positioned with the left-hand side of the note or chord, and for the hairpin that starts there to have its left-hand end positioned with the right-hand side of the note or chord, so there is a gap of a notehead’s width between the two hairpins.

However, if a hairpin ends on a note, and there is neither an immediate dynamic nor another hairpin at the end position, some publishers choose to extend the hairpin to the right-hand side of the note or chord on which it ends. (Gould advocates for this in Behind Bars on page 104, for example, writing: “Good practice is to start the hairpin on the left-hand edge of the note and to finish it on the right-hand edge of a note.”)

Dorico now provides for this convention, with a new option Position end of hairpin relative to note or chord in the Advanced Options section of the Gradual Dynamics section of the Dynamics page of Engraving Options. In new projects, this option is set to Right side of note on main stem, but to avoid unexpected changes, it is set to Left side of note on main stem in existing projects.

Spacing improvements

Dorico 5.1.20 also brings a handful of spacing improvements. We’ve improved the handling of holds and pauses with regard to multi-bar rests, so caesuras that appear at the end of a bar no longer cause the bar in which they appear to be split from an ongoing multi-bar rest, and similarly for fermatas that are set to appear on barlines, the bar in which the fermata is rhythmically attached is no longer split from an ongoing multi-bar rest.

We’ve also improved the spacing of ties over barlines. Dorico enforces a minimum length for ties to ensure that they don’t draw too short, which makes them hard to spot when reading music at speed, but until now it has always enforced this minimum length even when the tie comes immediately before the barline, and the extra space provided by the barline typically gives the tie enough room to draw properly without needing to add extra space. Now Dorico will by default not add this extra space for ties at the ends of bars, while still providing extra space at the end of the system where necessary, because ties always stop just before the end of the system, so a little extra space is needed there.

Finally, we’ve added a new gap type to the Vertical Spacing page of Layout Options, allowing you to specify the distance between the lower braced staff of an organ and the unbraced pedal staff below it. In previous versions of Dorico, this gap was always the same as the gap between the two braced manual staves, but now it’s possible to set this independently by default, reducing the amount of tweaking that might be required to produce a pleasing vertical layout on every page in music for organ.

Workflow improvements

A couple of small workflow improvements have also found their way into this update. Firstly, it’s now possible to set values in the Mixer directly by typing them: simply hold Alt and click the numeric field you want to adjust, type the new value, and hit Return. You can edit fader levels, pan, EQ values, and so on, in this way.

Secondly, you can now choose which items of metadata appear in the Comments panel. For example, if you don’t collaborate with other users, all of the comments in your project are presumably authored by you, so you might not find it necessary to see the author repeated in every comment shown in the panel. Now you can right-click on any comment in the Comments panel and choose from a new context menu which fields should be displayed. You can also choose how comments are ordered in the panel. When you export comments, these choices are also reflected in the exported comments as they appear in your browser.

Installing the update

Dorico 5.1.20 is a free update for existing Dorico Pro 5, Dorico Elements 5 and Dorico SE 5 users. If you are currently running Dorico Pro 4 or Dorico Elements 4 or earlier, you can buy an update to Dorico Pro 5 or Dorico Elements 5 from the Steinberg online shop.

Assuming you already have Dorico 5 installed, you can update to Dorico 5.1.20 free of charge. First, quit Dorico and any other Steinberg application that you are running on your computer. We recommend that you run Steinberg Download Assistant, which will automatically update Steinberg Activation Manager to the latest version, along with any other elements of the Steinberg run-time environment (including eLicenser Control Center, Steinberg Library Manager, and MediaBay) that may be outdated on your computer.

Once Steinberg Download Manager has finished updating any required components, go to My Product Downloads in the left-hand list, where you will find Dorico Pro 5, Dorico Elements 5, or Dorico SE 5, depending on which product you have installed. Select this, and on the right-hand side you will see Dorico 5.1.20 Application Installer. Click the Install button immediately to the right. This will download and run the Dorico 5.1.20 installer.

If for any reason you cannot use Steinberg Download Assistant, you can find all the installers you require here.

If you already have Dorico for iPad installed, it will probably update automatically, but if you need to update it manually, you can do so following these steps provided by Apple.

What’s next

We’re always hard at work on future Dorico developments, and we’re looking forward to sharing more in the coming months. 2024 is the 40th anniversary of the founding of Steinberg, and it promises to be a landmark year for the company and for Dorico too. Stay tuned for more news, and in the meantime, we hope you will enjoy the improvements in Dorico 5.1.20.

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