Better user experience for large scores (too large for standard paper)

• Jul 8, 2015 - 18:16

We can see that a lot of users have difficulties with the interaction between paper size, number of instruments and spatium. The forum is full of questions like "Why is my score cut at the bottom?", "Is there a limit in the number of instruments" etc... Some users don't ask any question but they just switch to continuous view and forget the issue in page mode. How can we solve this in elegant way?

I believe the problem can arise in 3 different places:

  • New score wizard
  • Instrument dialog
  • Page settings (if the user chooses a paper too small or a spatium too big)

So we could add a dialog after these 3 dialogs. Or maybe only the 2 first ones?
"There are too many instruments for this paper size. Please go to Layout > Page settings and choose a larger paper size or a smaller scale" (Any better wording idea?)

We could even propose to change the spatium or the page size automatically. Is there a minimum spatium we should consider?


I like this idea. Wording would depend on whether there is an option to do this automatically. Personally, I wouldn't mind users take a little ownership here, but we can certainly give them guidance and make the process easier.

How about, the dialog that displays after the new score wizard or instrument dialog says soemthing like your wording above, then provides two buttons: "Page Settings", and "Ignore". "Cancel" might be nice too, if it's feasible.

Within the "Page Settings" dialog, there could be an "Auto" button accompanying the staff space setting to automatically calculate a value for the current page size. This could be a bit tricky as different pages might have different system sizes due to hide empty staves, lyrics, spacers, etc. And typically, users run into this early on in the process - eg, on first creating a score - before any of that is known. So it's still rather likely they might need to make further adjustments later. That's one reason I rather like making them deal with the Page Settings dialog themselves - so they become a little more familiar with the process. The "Auto" could take the largest current page size into consideration so applying it after the fact would work well.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

This is a great idea. The 3 button idea sounds the best to me so you can have the option of just letting the staves disappear at the bottom if that's what you really want. It was probably like that before you started changing the page settings anyway. The cancel button is a fantastic idea so you don't have to try to remember what the custom settings were before you started changing them. The auto button should look at the max number of currently displayed staves available for display (based upon the hide staves setting) and calculate the staff size based upon that and set it to every page. Implementing a manual page by page staff size setting is not out of the question from a user point of view, but the programmer implementation would be a nightmare because the number of measures on a page will change every time an individual pages staff size is changed.

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