If you follow this blog occasionally, you may already know about wildcards: those slightly strange-looking text tokens that are automatically substituted with text from File > Info. We covered them in a video tutorial last year and a post on this blog from a few years ago, and Robert Puff’s got a post about them on his blog “Of Note”.

Check those posts out if that’s new information to you, or if you need a refresher. Here we’ll “kick it up a notch” and add formatting changes to the mix.

At any point within text in the File > Info dialog,  you can force line-breaks, and make font, character and style modifications, if you’re in the know:

  • \B\ – bold on
  • \b\ – bold off
  • \I\ – italic on
  • \i\ – italic off
  • \U\ – underline on
  • \u\ – underline off
  • \n\ – new line
  • \f\ – change to the text style’s default font
  • \ffontname\ – change to given font name (e.g. \fArial\ to switch to Arial)
  • \sheight\ – set the font size to height x 1/32nd spaces (e.g. \s64\ to set font height to two spaces)
  • ^ – use the Music text character style for the next character (e.g. ^b to make a “flat”)

Now, how would you practically use this? Here’s one example. Try typing the following into the Composer field in File > Info (or copy and paste from here):

\B\Jane Doe\b\\n\arr. John Doe\n\\I\(1970)\i\

Next, if you haven’t already, create some composer text in your score by selecting the first bar of your score, go to Text > Styles > Composer, and type:

\$Composer\

You should see:

text-format

It’s worth pointing out, you could have alternatively used three separate different wildcards as well by making use, say, of the Arranger and Year of Composition fields available to you in File > Info.

And yes, you could have changed the text formatting directly in the score, by going to Text > Format in the Ribbon and making any changes there. The important difference, though, is that if you reset your design defaults by going to Appearance > Design and Position > Reset Design:

  • Any changes made via the Ribbon in Text > Format will be lost
  • Any changes applied in File > Info using the modifications described above will be retained

In other words, the formatting changes supersede any defined text styles in Text > Styles > Edit Text Styles.

What’s really nice is that these formatting changes can be used within many other dialogs found in plug-ins, like Find and Replace Text (which is found in Text > Plug-ins > Text). Here’s a rather extreme case:

find-and-replace-2

The text I typed was:

espr. \B\\i\\fHelvetica\\s96\MOLTO

And I got:

espr-molto-2

Let us know how you’re making creative (and perhaps more practical) use of these nifty text techniques!

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Upgrade to Sibelius 7.5 for $20 off

by Philip Rothman on July 17, 2014 · 0 comments

in News

If you already own Sibelius 7.5, feel free to move right along, but if you are currently using Sibelius 6 or earlier, we noticed that, in the US, Amazon is currently offering the Sibelius 7.5 “legacy upgrade” — the term for the upgrade from Sibelius 6 or earlier — for $130.

Buying the Sibelius 7.5 upgrade directly from Avid will cost $150, whether as a download or shippable box. (Upgrading to 7.5 from 7 is $50 for a download; $90 for a shippable box.)

A quick check of three US authorized resellers revealed the following pricing:

I didn’t check other countries’ sites to see if similar pricing was available, but if you’re outside the US, feel free to post your findings in the comments.

Disclosure: The links to Amazon.com are affiliated links. To learn more about that, please see our privacy policy, section 4(b).

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pdf-aAbout a year ago I posted a tutorial describing how to create 2-up PDFs in Sibelius 7 with the help of Create Booklet on a Mac. This was necessary because it is not possible to print to a PDF in Sibelius 7 or 7.5 using the OS dialog in the same way one was able to in earlier versions.

Last week, however, Minnesota-based composer and educator James DeCaro posted a comment that described a solution to this problem: PDFwriter for Mac, which can be downloaded for free from the SourceForge site.

As described, “PDFwriter is a printer driver for Mac OS X, which will let you generate PDF files by simply printing. PDFwriter is heavily based on CUPS-PDF. It doesn’t use ghostscript to generate PDF files, instead it uses the Mac OS X internal pdf capabilities.”

Installing PDFwriter is simple. After double-clicking the installer and installing PDFwriter, you can add it to the list of your available printers by opening System Preferences on your Mac, selecting Printers & Scanners, and clicking the + button. PDFwriter will appear in your list of available printers. Click Add, and henceforth PDFwriter will be available to you as a virtual printer.

printers2To make PDFs in Sibelius using PDFwriter, it’s as simple as selecting PDFwriter from the Printer list. You can then select “2 Pages Per Sheet” or whatever other custom options you like. As James rightly pointed out in his comment: “Another advantage to this method is that it retains the number of copies of each part, so if I combine all of the created PDFs into one file, I can simply print that one file and obtain a full set of parts.”

sibelius-print

PDFwriter places its output in Macintosh HD/Users/Shared/PDFwriter, so if you plan on using this method a lot, you might consider making an alias of that folder and placing it somewhere on your desktop or another place where you can easily access it.

Again, you can download PDFwriter from SourceForge. Thanks, James, for this great tip!

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Stick to it with sticky tuplets, slurs and lines

by Philip Rothman on July 10, 2014 · 8 comments

in Tips

Whether you’re a Sibelius veteran or you’re a new user, here are a few tips that are sure to stick around. The concept of “sticky” items was introduced in Sibelius 7 and it works in Sibelius 7.5 as well.

Sticky tuplets

You probably already know the shortcut for creating a tuplet: Command-(the number) on Mac or Ctrl+(the number) on PC. For instance, to create a triplet, enter your first note, type Command (or Ctrl)-3, and continue entering the rest of the tuplet.

You may have noticed that, at the end of the tuplet, you have to repeat the process for a new tuplet: enter the note, enter the tuplet shortcut, and continue inputting the rest of the tuplet.

Or do you?

Try this: Enter the tuplet as described above. Then, with the cursor still active, type the shortcut Option-Shift-K on Mac or Shift+Alt+K on PC. You should see a hovering blue “3″:

sticky1

Now you can automatically create similar triplets by simply entering the notes without having to re-create the tuplet on each beat:

sticky2

When you’re through inputting tuplets, just type Option-Shift-K on Mac or Shift+Alt+K on PC again, to turn off the sticky feature.

Sticky slurs and lines

Try entering a note, then typing S to add a slur. Sibelius will add a slur that snaps to the next note, and it will continue to advance the slur to each new note until you enter a rest, or type the shortcut Shift-S to tell Sibelius to stop advancing the slur.

The same thing works for lines. For example, enter a note and then type H to add a crescendo hairpin. Sibelius advances the hairpin to each new note until you enter a rest, or type the shortcut — in this case, Shift-L — to tell Sibelius to stop advancing the hairpin.

Sibelius even keeps track of the order in which you added lines. For fun:

  • Enter a note
  • Type H to input a crescendo hairpin
  • Type L and select the 8va line from the gallery
  • Type L again and select the Pedal line from the gallery
  • Input some more notes; Sibelius will advance all three lines
  • Type Shift-L
  • Input some more notes; Sibelius will stop advancing the most recently added line (the Pedal) but continue advancing the other two lines
  • Type Shift-L
  • Input some more notes; Sibelius will stop advancing the second-most recently added line (the 8va) but continue advancing the hairpin
  • Type Shift-L
  • Sibelius will stop advancing the hairpin

Care to share your own tips or tales of stick-to-itiveness? Let us know in the comments.

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Thumbnail image for Sibelius 7.5.1 update released with many improvements

Sibelius 7.5.1 update released with many improvements

July 3, 2014

The 7.5.1 update to Sibelius addresses numerous issues relating to audio and video export, the Timeline, localization, and playback, improves the user interface, and belatedly introduces the official 7.5 Sibelius Reference.

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Thumbnail image for Using manual repeats in Sibelius playback

Using manual repeats in Sibelius playback

July 2, 2014

Set a custom playback order for your music, including complex repeats and gaps, using the Manual Repeats feature in Sibelius.

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Thumbnail image for Summer reading list from the Sibelius blog

Summer reading list from the Sibelius blog

June 25, 2014

Grab a cool drink and your favorite e-reader, and head to the beach with a roundup of some of the most popular blog posts from the past six months.

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Thumbnail image for Quick tip: Move notes up or down chromatically

Quick tip: Move notes up or down chromatically

June 20, 2014

Move notes up or down chromatically by using this one little trick. Really.

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Thumbnail image for Making Finale’s output look more like Sibelius (and vice versa)

Making Finale’s output look more like Sibelius (and vice versa)

June 18, 2014

Trying to achieve a Sibelius look in Finale? Here are a few pointers.

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Thumbnail image for Friday notation roundup: June 13, 2014

Friday notation roundup: June 13, 2014

June 13, 2014

A summary of some recent news in the world of music notation software, for your weekend reading pleasure.

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