Style dialog usability issues for text
I've spent a fair amount of time playing with the text style facility, and while I think I've done a pretty good job of figuring out how it works, I am pretty mystified as to why on a lot of this, and I am hopeful we can improve this further before beta, or documenting and supporting it is going to be not fun.
I am reporting this as a bug although I fully accept there might be some rationale I am not understanding behind at least some of what I am describing. It's really a bunch of interrelated issues to me, but to me the whole problem stems from the way this gradually evolved over time as a set of solutions to specific problems rather than ever really stepping back and looking at the big picture. So hopefully now is the time. Refer also to the EPIC #274270: [EPIC] Text Styles issues, but what I am describing here is almost all new.
In general, I think the way text style information is distributed in the Style dialog is problematic. Some elements get their own top level settings for default placement and position above/below (eg, Staff Text, Rehearsal Marks), others have a subset of the usual text style settings combined with "general" settings for the element (Header, Footer, Measure Numbers, Tuplet, etc), and then there is a whole subsection Text Styles listing more elements with the usual controls there.
Even if we accept there might be a point to this, there still seems to be some duplication that doesn't make sense. Some elements like staff text are listed in both places, with different sets of controls (eg, only position in the main Staff Text section, a subset of those same position settings plus font info under Text Styles / Staff). In most of these cases the common fields seem linked - so for example setting Text Styles / Staff / Offset / Y will also update Staff Text / Position above, but only after hitting OK and then re-opening the dialog. However, Tempo Text does not seem linked - the settings under Tempo Text the Text Styles / Tempo are completely independent, and only the latter seem to actually be honored. If you use the Inspector to update the style, it updates the Text Styles / Tempo. But the Inspector doesn't give you the option to choose a different text style.
While some elements have settings duplicated, other elements are only found under their own main headings (eg, Lyrics), other are only found under Text Styles (Title, Repeat Text Left/Right).
BTW, the inability of the Inspector to select text styles also applies to Instrument Change. Here, there isn't even an Instrument Change text style listed anywhere in the Style dialog. For most other text elements, you can select the different text styles within the Inspector, but only the subset listed under Style / Text Styles are available - so for instance, no ability to set a staff text to Lyrics style, which is a fairly common thing to want to do. Functionality-wise, this seems the biggest oversight. Just about everything else I can think of people often wanting to do is possible, although the specifics of how to do it differ by element type.
Some text elements allow you to select alternate text styles but only within a narrow range, an these are not found anywhere within the Style dialog. Chord symbols allow you to select between "A" and "B" (I might prefer "Normal" and "Alternate", but whatever). Fingering allows you to select between the usual options. I can see why it might not make sense to allow random settings here, but again it seems oddly inconsistent, and now that we have User styles, I'd love to see those be options here.
That's about it, I guess. If I ignore the Styles dialog and pay attention only to the Inspector, as I had been doing until recently, the picture is not so bad - just the glitch with the missing "Style" field for tempo and instrument change, and the gripe about Lyrics being missing from the list of available styles. Well, also "Set as style" still needs to be made a button rather than a dropdown. But those are smaller concerns. It's once I really start digging into the Style dialog that I like what I see less and less.