zawalichThis blog post is written by Bob Zawalich, composer, guitarist, software designer, and creator of hundreds of useful plug-ins for Sibelius. In this post, Bob expands upon a recent blog post by describing in detail how to use font sizes in wildcards in Sibelius.

Philip Rothman recently published an article called Add text formatting changes to Score Info and plug-ins, and it discussed using special formatting wildcards to change text formatting, particularly in the File > Info area, where you do not have access to the bold and italic commands from the Ribbon or menus.

I would like to discuss the font size wildcard, defined as:

\sheight\ – set the font size to height x 1/32nd spaces (e.g. \s64\ to set font height to two spaces)

I will explain how to reset the font size to the default, and how to convert a font size in points into units of spaces, so it can be used with the wildcard. Read the full article →


Add text formatting changes to Score Info and plug-ins

by Philip Rothman on July 22, 2014 · 1 comment

in Tips

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:


You should see:


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:


The text I typed was:

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

And I got:


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

{ 1 comment }

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 are affiliated links. To learn more about that, please see our privacy policy, section 4(b).


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.”


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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