Export graphics from Sibelius in seconds

by Daniel Spreadbury on April 20, 2010 · 10 comments

in Tips

Sibelius makes it super fast and easy to export graphics from your scores, so that you can add snippets of music notation to documents created in other applications like word processors and desktop publishing software. This is useful for e.g. adding music examples to essays, worksheets or tests.

It’s as simple as one, two, three:

  1. Select the bars you want to export and type Alt+G, or choose Edit > Select > Select Graphics
  2. Copy to the clipboard by typing Ctrl+C (Windows) or Command-C (Mac), or choose Edit > Copy.
  3. Switch to the destination application and type Ctrl+V (Windows) or Command-V (Mac), or choose Edit > Paste.

That’s all there is to it. Depending on the program you’re pasting into, you may find that choosing Edit > Paste Special allows you more options (Sibelius copies onto the clipboard in a handful of formats, and Paste Special often allows you to choose which format to paste). There are a few extra things you might like to know, such as:

  • You can click and drag to make the graphics selection any size.
  • You can change the resolution of the exported graphic using the options on the Other page of Preferences. You can also choose whether or not the graphic should be exported in monochrome, which uses less memory but may look more jagged in the destination program.
  • You can also export the selected area in a different format, such as EPS or PNG, via the File > Export > Graphics dialog: simply choose the Graphic selection option at the top of the dialog and specify the desired format using the list on the left.

To what uses have you put Sibelius’s graphic export features? Leave your favourite tips in the comments.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Matthew Taylor April 20, 2010 at 1:51 AM

Hi Daniel
This is a fantastic feature. I use it all the time to paste into word documents or into drawing programs where I want to add other graphics. I know you can add graphics in Sibelius but some times its just easier to cut and paste into a dedicated drawing or word processor program.
best
Matt Taylor
Australia

Mark Isaacs April 20, 2010 at 9:17 AM

I love that I can paste musical snippets into emails. When I am communicating with performers I can just say something and paste the relevant bars right inline into Outlook. Depending on their email client at the receiving end it may or may not display inline at their end – it can end up an attachment (it’s a constant frustration how many people’s email clients are set to plain text when I go to the trouble to format my communications!)

However I am trying to work out what I might have done to change the default size the graphics end up when first pasting. They used to paste at about the same size as the staves in the score which was just perfect right off the bat. For some time I have been getting huge pastes. It’s easy enough to drag and change the size but I’d love to work out how I have knocked around Sibelius’ default on this which was much more convenient.

Daniel Spreadbury April 20, 2010 at 9:18 AM

Sounds like you’ve adjusted the DPI setting on the Other page of Preferences, Mark.

Michael Horton April 20, 2010 at 12:31 PM

I belong to an amateur orchestra, and handle some music arranging and publicity for it. I feel that the visual beauty of music notation is often under-appreciated, so I try to make sure every poster includes a fragment of relevant music as a border or divider.

I generally use the ‘Helsinki (Georgia)’ house style, to make the music slightly more classical. I follow each line of music with a page break, and remove all titles, bar numbers and page numbers. That way, I can export the entire file to multiple EPS fragments in a single operation.

Once that’s done, I add the graphics to iWork Pages – the simplest tool I know for page layout containing EPS graphics. (Technically, iWork converts all EPS to PDF, but that’s invisible to the user.) Because the graphics are in a vector format, I can blow them up as much as I like without aliasing.

I’ve also used the Sibelius – EPS – iWork method to prepare quick reference sheets, and to prepare booklets compiling dozens of folk tunes. While Sibelius can technically do these tasks, I find it’s smoother and more robust to do them in a word processor.

Mary Elizabeth April 20, 2010 at 2:57 PM

“This is useful for e.g. adding music examples to essays, worksheets or tests.” …

Or entire books!

I created the more than 800 pieces of music bar art for “Barron’s APĀ® Music Theory” test preparation book using Sibelius and exporting to EPS files using this feature.

I’ve also used Export > Graphics to create the illustrations for books I’ve put together in Adobe InDesign. It’s a great feature and absolutely crucial to my work.

Engela April 20, 2010 at 4:21 PM

Mark Isaac’s issue with pasting:
Here is one possible and easy solution: (1) Make sure your margins in Sibelius and e.g. Word (where you want to paste) are the same. (2) In Sibelius, copy the whole staff/system, i.e. from left to right margin, even if you just want only 1 bar for example. (2) Paste into Word and crop the graphic. In this way you “cut away” the unwanted section while the size of the graphic remains the same as in Sibelius.

I have recently done a Theory Book successfully, pasting Sibelius graphics into Word and then converting to PDF, using PDFCreator. I find that it’s easier to format text, including numbering, in a word processor, than in Sibelius.

Nick April 21, 2010 at 3:50 PM

Sorry, that was supposed to be a 5-star rating. I have been hoping Sibelius would make this a feature and didn’t realize it was already implemented. This will make my worship bulletins so much easier!

RoJean Loucks April 30, 2010 at 4:05 PM

Great feature that I’m delighted to find! I’ll be using it for promo materials on a new book I’m publishing, to include only the first line or two of each tune. Far quicker and easier than the keyboard calisthenics I was formerly performing for the same results.

mark February 15, 2014 at 4:50 AM

Exports to word are real bad quality, jagged and with bits missing. I’ve disabled monochrome in preferences and its set to 300 dpi. Any thoughts?

Lasse July 5, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Nice feature. It’s a shame, though, that when you exports as SVG, Sibelius exports not only the selection but the entire page (leaving the page blank outside the selection). This makes exporting a graphic selection as SVG pretty useless if you want to include the graphic selection in a document or on a webpage.

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