Sibelius 7.5’s Timeline can be a useful navigational aid in your score. But if you have limited screen space, or just don’t find it all that useful, you can easily switch it off by clicking on the “X” on the Timeline window, or unchecking View > Panels > Timeline.

To prevent the Timeline from appearing on each and every score you open henceforth, first, be certain that it is not showing. You might also modify the window of your current score to a size and position on the screen with which you often work.

Then, go to File > Preferences > Files.

Under Window Sizes and Positions, click the radio buttons for Open to custom size and position under both “When starting a new score or opening a score for the first time” and “When re-opening an existing score” and then click the Set Custom Size and Position button.


The message “Custom sizes set” will appear. Click OK to exit the dialog.

You should find that any scores you open no longer automatically show the Timeline, and as a consequence of these settings, scores will open at the size and position of your current score window.


Change your shortcuts to open a dialog instead of a gallery

by Philip Rothman on December 11, 2014 · 3 comments

in Tips

Sibelius is well-regarded for using intuitive keyboard shortcuts to perform common tasks in a musical score. In Sibelius 7 and 7.5, several of these one-stroke shortcuts open what are known as galleries: menus which list options organized by category. Several of these galleries, and their corresponding shortcuts, are:

  • K: Key signatures
  • L: Lines (several lines have their own shortcuts, like “H“airpins and “S“lurs)
  • Q: Clefs (or “Q”lefs, because the letter C is reserved for entering the note C)
  • T: Time signatures
  • Z: Symbols (or “Z”ymbols, because the letter S is reserved for slurs, as noted above)

time-signaturesGalleries, like the one for time signatures displayed above, can help you make quick work of entering common notational elements; for example, you can either manually type in your time signature or choose from among those that are most often used. Any time signature that you place in your score will automatically appear in the Used category at the top of the gallery, on the reasonable assumption that if you’re predisposed to a certain meter, you’re likely to use it more than once.

This is all very handy, but it’s a change from how Sibelius 6 and earlier worked. (See this recent post for a useful primer on transitioning from Sibelius 6 to 7.5.) In those versions, pressing the keyboard shortcut would bring up a dialog (a window with buttons), like this one for time signatures:


Here, there are fewer of the more commonly used meters from which to choose, but there are also many more advanced options, like the ability to switch on or off the defaults of rewriting bars and allowing cautionary signatures; the option to place a pickup bar, and a button which opens yet another dialog where you can specify the beam and rest groups (subdivisions) of a bar. (This is also where the option to separate tuplets from adjacent notes lives.)

This dialog (and other similar ones for key signatures, clefs and symbols) still exists in Sibelius 7 and 7.5. In order to access it, though, you’ll need to click More Options at the bottom of the gallery:


If you only need to access these options occasionally, an extra click every now and then is not too heavy of a burden. But if you find yourself in these advanced dialogs more often than not, all the extra clicks add up to more steps compared to how things worked in Sibelius 6.

Fortunately, you can program Sibelius 7 and 7.5 to call up these dialogs with the usual keystrokes. To do so, go to File > Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts. Let’s continue with time signatures for our example:

  • Under Tab or category, select Notations tab
  • Under Feature, select Show Time Signature dialog
  • Click Add
  • The Add Keyboard Shortcut dialog appears. Type T and click OK
  • Sibelius will warn you that the shortcut is already being used for another function (the time signature gallery). Click Yes to override it
  • Click OK to exit Preferences


From now on, while you’re working in your score, pressing T will open the time signature dialog, just as it did in Sibelius 6. You can program your other shortcuts for the other dialogs, if you like.

If you’re hooked on programming shortcuts to help your workflow, or want to know more about shortcuts in general, check out these other posts on the blog:


Norfolk font updated

by Philip Rothman on December 8, 2014 · 5 comments

in News

wholenote-norfolkTwo months ago we released Norfolk, the free Sibelius-compatible version of the Bravura music font designed by Daniel Spreadbury at Steinberg, and the responses to it have been very nice.

That release on October 9 was based on Bravura 1.02, which was the most current version of the font at the time we began working on this project. Since then, Bravura has been updated several times and now stands at version 1.08. So we have updated Norfolk to incorporate some of those changes, as well as fixing a few errors of our own making. The most current version of Norfolk stands at 2014-11-30.

If you downloaded the fonts on October 17 or later, you would have provided your e-mail address through our secure store and thus have already received notice of the update. If you downloaded the fonts earlier than that, or received the fonts from someone else, please take a moment to download the update here. Notices about future updates to the fonts will likely not be posted to this blog unless there is a serious problem or major improvements, but registered users will receive a notice of any updates via e-mail.

Interested in what’s changed? Read on:

  • Corrected Norfolk Special Std: the top and bottom wings for the right repeat barline, to display correctly on winged repeats
  • Corrected various incorrect or missing mappings in Norfolk Ornaments Std
  • New or updated glyphs in Norfolk Ornaments Std: Quilisma, Trill (alternate form), Battement, Vertical Line, Oriscus
  • In Norfolk Std, reduced the size of the augmentation dot to 2/5 space in diameter, and likewise reduced the size of the staccato articulation to 1/3 space; also improved positioning of the staccato articulation
  • The House Styles have been adjusted to compensate for the smaller augmentation dot
  • In Norfolk Std, improved versions of G, F, and C clefs
  • In Norfolk Special II Std, improved versions of G, F, and C clefs, and all their variants, including the forms with ligated numbers
  • In Norfolk Special II Std, improved versions of the octave markers (8, 8va, 8vb, et al)

Bravura 1.08 now uses a longer (3¼ space) flag as its default option, but we opted not to include it in Norfolk, since the longer flags would look too large on shorter-stemmed notes in Sibelius, and it is not possible to dynamically adjust the flag size. So Norfolk still uses the 2¾ space flag.

Do you have any interesting projects that you’re using Norfolk with? Download the update, and let us know!


Finale 2014d and beyond: a discussion with MakeMusic

by Philip Rothman on December 3, 2014 · 4 comments

in News

MakeMusicLogo640Today MakeMusic released Finale 2014d, the fourth maintenance release to the current version of the company’s flagship product. The release is notable because it’s the first Finale maintenance update since MakeMusic became a part of Peaksware in August of this year, under the leadership of new CEO Gear Fisher.

The update has a number of bug fixes and feature restorations made in response to user requests, including:

  • An option to place hairpins in a way so that they don’t automatically snap to beats (as was the case prior to Finale 2014)
  • An option for larger sized tool palettes
  • Customizable tool palettes and other palette improvements for Windows users
  • Improved speed upon opening and saving files
  • QuickLook and Spotlight support on Mac
  • Better support for movie files on Mac
  • Fixes for Speedy Entry and Stem Connections

MakeMusic also announced that it will be discontinuing support for Finale 2011 at the end of this year.

Most interestingly, though, the release already bears the influence of the new leadership’s approach to software development by including an anonymous data collection component. The Help Improve Finale feature, which MakeMusic assures users will not collect any personally identifiable information and will not have visibility into actual documents, can be easily switched off at any time. It is designed to help the company “identify usage patterns so that [its] designers can make informed decisions when creating future versions of Finale.Improve FinaleIn a post today on the official Finale blog, Gear provided details about software development, the upcoming move to Boulder (about 30 people from the existing Minnesota-based team will make the move), and announced the new MakeMusic leadership team.

I had breakfast a few weeks ago here in New York with Gear and two members of that team: MakeMusic product vice president Fred Flowerday and notation product manager Mark Adler. The trio was in the midst of a trip to Boston and New York during which they met with representatives from schools, publishers, and other customers. We talked about the future of Finale and the state of the music notation field, so read on for more about our discussion. Read the full article →


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