Questions & Answers

How to create consistent format / layout style in Notion?

+24 votes
asked Mar 21, 2018 in Notion Feature Requests by cavanoraghallaigh (620 points)

Yes, I know that Notion is not a word processor — HOWEVER

I really need ito be able to set a default style / format for all printed output for Notion. I [...invoking tact module] *greatly dislike* Baskerville, and find the standard layout  of the score less than easy to read  - especially its size, as I need large print,. The process for changing the printout means changing the font for every characteristic one at at time.  AND to do it all a second time for the Parts printouts.  Inc

Even the ability to set a single complete style / layout would be great (rather than multiple styles) - that means one has to go through full score and parts settings item by item font & characteristics settings one only once and be sure the software actaully remembers what I set until I change it.   Or alternatively, be able to set a default font and have the software set everything in that font rather than the default "Baskerville”. Then one would only have to set the exceptions.

It would be important to me to have the setting stay the same between my iPad & my Mac. I start most music on my iPad, and when I need a really big screen, move to the Mac version so I can connect to my large screen.  As it goes now, all or most of my formatting is lost when I move my work from iPad t Mac and again when I move it to the iPad again.

WHY ALL THE FUSS about the margins, font, etc? — because most of the things I use notion for is related to learning to play sax & playing with family/friends. So I enter things I get from my sax teacher - including things he writes for me to work on. And then when I get it entered, first I add a duplicate for the other sax (so one for B♭ and 1 for E♭ transposing instruments) and a concert pitch version — because I practice with familly/ friends who play C instuments.   Then I make up a second line that helps make practicing more fun.     

    AND all those folks need a copy of what we're playing. And most of them are old (like me) and need large print.

3 Answers

+5 votes
answered Mar 27, 2018 by AlexTinsley (925,190 points)
Best answer

Thank you for the feature request. 

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0 votes
answered Mar 29, 2018 by ChrisS23 (13,770 points)
One quick thing you can do to change the size and readability of the score in Notion, is to go to Score>Full Score/Parts Options>Layout, and then change the notation size. This will adjust the notation, and also all the relative sizes of any text. (Tip: You aren't limited to just the set size options in this drop down menu - you can overtype the number, to get any size you want).

Formatting (size and margins) should be retained going between iPad and Mac - make sure you have the same view settings (i.e. page view vs iPad view on iOS). Some fonts are not available on iOS as they are on Mac or Windows, so there may be some font substitutions when you go between platforms.

But otherwise, thanks for the feature request on setting global font, and to be able to save and recall overall style settings - if anyone agrees, please vote up!

0 votes
answered Mar 29, 2018 by cavanoraghallaigh (620 points)


Your point is well taken -- I already enlarge the Notion font- size of the staff & notes -- but have to re-do it for parts.

Also, once I close the score, all the font changes go back to the default baskerville -- for everything! I have to go into the Score, full score, & redo all the fonts on the fonts tab. This happens on the Mac version no matter what I did in iOS. 


The iOS score stays the same when I close and reopen it on the iPad -- unless I've opened it on the Mac between the time I closed on iOS and then opened again on iOS. 

A minor issue with increasing the Notion font size for the staves/ notes is things like the measure numbers get so large that they are distracting -- and force much wider spaces between the stave systems.

Also, while the page size and margins are retained between iOS and Mac for a specific score, there's no way to set defaults -- so I have to do a full score set-up and a parts set-up for each lesson exercise-- this means several times per week & that's just for exercises for my lessons -- I end up doing formatting 2-4 times every day at least. More if I work both on Mac and iPad on the same score. 

It was when I began wondering what I'd been doing all day - where had the time gone - that I realized that a lot of the technically simple process of setting up for lessons and practice involved almost as much time for formatting as for entering music. 

Another formatting element that costs quite a lot of time is finding ways to look at the parts format on screen before getting a print job set up.  I found I could send a pdf from the iPad Notion to iBooks and it would open up in the format that would print, but there's no option to send a pdf copy to ibooks or to anything else to look at.  I know you can look at formatted parts at the stage *just* before tapping "print" -- but it's several steps on the Mac version before you get to that stage -- then if it's not right, I have to go back to Notion and guess at the change or changes that I need because I can't see the result sof the change until I go back to the print page on the Mac, or send another pdf to iBooks on the iPad.. (For example a little less margin would make sure it doesn't add an extra page, for example. I often find that parts have less than 1 line of measures, usually only 1 or 2 measures, on a new page. So in order not to waste paper I try to get everything on one page.) 

Related to that is the position of the Title on the Parts pages -- Even if I've raised the title on the Full Score, the Parts titles stay in the original position. I can't change those unless I can drag them in a parts view.  The Dynamic Parts image does not accurately reflect what is printed. 

I've tried adding certain fields to the parts (like the date I printed them-- important to make sure I or we are using the latest corrected copy--, or other information added in an "other" metadata field.  What I ended up doing to tmake sure everyone has the same version is change the title font each version , since that is the only reliable field between full score and parts.). 

  Some  or all of the fields might show up in the Dynamic parts view, but do not print on the actual parts.  I've tried adding to both the full score settings (for example adding the date in a place not used for other things) and to the parts settings -- or to the parts settings along. the parts settings won't retain anything other than title & page number. When I try adding any of the other metadata fields they don't show up in parts, but in the full score. so I may end up with 2 fields for date, for example, on the full score  printout and none on the parts. 

So while for an individual score, done beginning to end on one platform, the margins and page size and Notion font size stays the the same -- but in any other case I end  up re-doing it.  And begin again every score. 

The apple pencil and iPad is so handy and portable that I do a lot of work on it, but go to the Mac when I have several instruments on a score that I want to see at once since I've got a great learge display. 

It's hard to remember everything that has happened and everything I tried because I've been doing that (trying to figure something out on my own) for weeks running into months. However, perhaps the single most useful single thing is a responsive parts view that can be directly formatted in a way that would print reliably including changes. -- Preferably without having to go through the Dynamic parts views, part by part, for every instrument / voice -- which can only be seen one by one.   Something like a Parts View showing ALL parts in the order of the full score top to bottom. Individual changes can be made to parts as needed & be updated in the view -- the way the full score changes happen -- in one sitting from one view without a lot of switching.  Even if styles/ formats / layouts still had to be changed for each score, at least getting the layout for the parts right would need less guessing, followed by looking again via the print screen or pdf sent to iBooks or similar viewing method--followed by one or more rounds of guessing. 

If other information could be added simply by using markup on a pdf version (which the Mac Noton doesn't export to) then a lot of issues could be fixed by simply making notes on the pdf before printing -- that could save a lot of developer time. At least in the short run. 

A user like me -- a retired person, a first time taker of lessons, exercise copier & maker of my own little exercises, experimenting with what a co-learner might play with me might do -- the ability to make legible copies quickly is important. And to be able to make sure I know which is the latest version (an option for a date/time stamp at time of printing would be ideal).

 It was the ability to write the notes in with an apple pencil that got me started -- on iPad. I didn't even have to know what notes they actually were! just copy from the assignment I got from the teacher onto the staff on the iPad.  -- After about a year of lessons I at least know what they are, but I still have lots of these to do every week.