Sibelius Tips and Tricks Thread

I think those of us that have fully adopted VDL into our writing workflows can agree it's really been a timesaver on a lot of fronts (hearing real playback, notation mappings), but on the other hand it's also introduced a lot of time-intensive complications too (setting up extra software, configuration and troubleshooting, system resource overhead, anal-retentive postprocessing :-)).

Since we're now faced with the task of negotiating between speed of notation and accuracy of playback, I though it might be nice to start a thread of any time-saving Sibelius tips you've come across.  There are plenty of sites that offer such tips, but this community is unique in that we're all focused on the same task and domain--writing music for percussion.

A couple Sibelius features/tips I couldn't live without:

[list]
[li][b]Use Keyboard Shortcuts[/b] - Yeah, there are a lot of them, but they're listed in detail in the manual and they are a lifesaver.  For exmaple, say you want to create a mezzo-forte dynamic in a measure.  The clickers would go to the create menu | text | expression, right-click to get a list of expressions, and select the mf expression.  Wouldn't you rather click a note, hit cmd/ctrl-e, cmd/ctrl-m, cmd/ctrl-f?  I do. Just bite the bullet and learn them, you'll thank yourself later.[/li]

[li][b]Focus on Staves[/b] - When working on large scores do you find yourself scrolling page after page even though you're only interested in a couple of instruments?  Sibelius 3 introduced a feature called ";Focus on Staves"; that hides all but selected staves in the score but still plays everything back.  This is great to look at a particular mallet choir or section without scrolling page after page in the score.[/li]

[li][b]Symbols[/b] - Symbols save you a lot of time.  Sibelius has some great symbols out of the box (different mallet choices, instruments, etc) but making your own for frequently-used notations is a great way to shave off time (especially if notating that symbol would otherwise require a lot of font changes and digging for the right character).[/li]

[li][b]Use Scratch Staves for Layered Parts[/b] - One thing that is kind of convoluted is Sibelius's voice system.  Unlike finale layers (which are pretty much just that), the usual workflow for layering parts is to write a full measure and then push it to another voice, but that can be unruly to change.  There are certain features of Sibelius to auto-voice (see the percussion tutorial in the manual) but I've found the quickest way to write layered sections is to use a scratch stave, and then merge the two staves as voices.[/li]

[li][b]Select Entire Row[/b] - I'll have to check the shortcut specifically (I'm thinking cmd+shift+a) but built into Sibelius is a shortcut that will highlight an entire row of a single type of item.  Why would that be handy?  Have you ever manually clicked and moved percussion stickings entered as lyrics?  It's a lot easier to just click a single sticking, hit cmd+shift+a, and then you can move the entire row.[/li]
[/list]

That's a pretty short list, but I'll keep adding as I think of more.  If anyone has some to add feel free!
Yeah that tip works in Windows, too. Ctrl. + ]. Cool trick!

ER
Not sure if this is well-known, and it may just be a feature of OSX or Sibelius 4.... BUT:

I am a dotter.  When I do stickings that repeat I usually put an ellipses at the end (such as R R R R R ... ).  I do this because it is repetitive to write it out and I think the default lyric continutation form (underline) is kind of ugly.

I stumbled onto this by mistake today, but when you press CMD + ] during lyric entry you get a nice looking right-arrow, perfect for this type of sticking notation.  Again this may not work in Windows or Sibelius < 4, but give it a shot.  My lyric font is Lucida Grande, so that might have a bearing on this behavior as well.
[quote author=Jim Casella link=topic=704.msg2668#msg2668 date=1120156458]
Here's another keyboard shortcut for mac folks that I use all the time. It's not really Sibelius related, but use [b]Command-Tab[/b] to simply toggle between open applications. Working in Sibelius, it's common for the entire screen real estate to be taken up by a score, if you have to access something else that's running in the background (say VDL2 or Kontakt), then a simple command-tab will get you there faster than going down to the dock to select a different app.
[/quote]

The Windows equivalent to toggle open applications is [b]Alt-Tab[/b].�� Continue to hold down [b]Alt[/b] and [b]Tab[/b] to your desired application.

- OT
Justin,

You are SO the man!!!!!!!
Here's one that saves me a lot of time.

If you couldn't tell I love keyboard shortcuts.�� In fact, I think everything should have a keyboard shortcut--and Sibelius lets you assign your own.�� Go to Sibelius -> Preferences -> Menus and Shortcuts (File -> Preferences -> Menus and Shortcuts for the windows people) and select ";Add Feature Set"; from the dropdown at the top to make your own set of keyboard shortcuts.

There's one catch to this.�� Most of the things I want to shortcut (mainly text styles, for example I use [i]text -> other staff text -> boxed text[/i] to designate instrument changes in percussion parts) can change score to score.�� Sibelius internally catalogs all staff text styles (same goes for line styles and plugins) with numbers which bring up two problems:

1.) They are not all represented with readible names--most are ";Text Style X";
2.) If you modify, add, or delete styles from a score the numbering of everything changes.

Fortunately for us, Bob Zawalich has made an excellent Sibelius 3 plugin to address this issue and it can be downloaded off of the Sibelius site: http://www.sibelius.com/helpcenter/resources/plugins/shortcuts_plugins.zip

Now all you need to do is run the plugin on a score and it gives you a complete list of all text, line, and plugin styles in the document and their associated number (and even lets you type in the name of user-defined styles and it spits back a number).�� So in about 15 seconds I can see that in my current score ";Boxed Text"; is mapped to 42, go to Sibelius -> Preferences -> Menus and Shortcuts, make a new keyboard shortcut to ";Text Style 42"; and poof!�� I've got one-click access to making a text box.
[quote author=Justin Belcher link=topic=704.msg2673#msg2673 date=1120163575]
Also, I sometimes need to see something quick in a window underneath my active window, but using expos̩ or clicking the hidden window can be a hassle depending on how my windows are arranged.

Try this:

Hold down [tt][b]cmd[/b][/tt] when you click the window underneith the active window and it'll actually let you drag and reposition the window underneith the active window without making it active.  It looks really trippy b/c we're not used to seeing it, but this is actually really helpful if I just need to glance at something behind my current window really quick and expos̩ is overkill.
[/quote]

Nice one! Thanks Justin!
In addition to cmd-tab on Macs you should also check out [tt][b]cmd-`[/b][/tt] (the one above the tab, not to the left of return).  It functions the same way that cmd-tab does, except it cycles between the open windows of the active program.

Provided Sibelius implements its scores as windows, you should be able to hit [tt][b]cmd-`[/b][/tt] to switch between open scores in Sibelius.  I haven't tried this and it totally depends on their implementation, but it'd be really nice if it worked. :-)

Also, cmd-tab goes to the right by default.  If the application you need is in the other direction, hit [tt][b]shift-cmd-tab[/b][/tt] to go the reverse direction instead of hitting cmd-tab a bunch of times and cycling ([tt][b]shift-cmd-`[/b][/tt] also works).

Keeping with the mac-only topics. :-)

Also, I sometimes need to see something quick in a window underneath my active window, but using expos̩ or clicking the hidden window can be a hassle depending on how my windows are arranged.

Try this:

Hold down [tt][b]cmd[/b][/tt] when you click the window underneith the active window and it'll actually let you drag and reposition the window underneith the active window without making it active.  It looks really trippy b/c we're not used to seeing it, but this is actually really helpful if I just need to glance at something behind my current window really quick and expos̩ is overkill.
There's some really good stuff there! Here's a few I rely on to help out:

I'm probably breaking a law here, but I photocopied the battery keymaps and laid them out on my desk for quick reference. This way I don't have to try to hold the book open and flip pages with one hand, while entering notes. I have a lot of the basics memorized, but things like crescendo or decrescendo rolls -- I always seem to forgot what octave they are in.

I also just started utilizing the right click feature to open local version of the ";create"; drop-down menu.

ER
Great topic Justin!! This will be great if we can see it continue to grow into more ideas.

[b]Keyboard Shortcuts -[/b] Couldn't agree more. Sibelius' keyboard shortcuts are the key to saving time. The less you have to reach for the mouse, the better!

I'm also a big fan of the ";Focus On Staves"; feature. I've even used it to print out customized views of the score. For example, say your battery tech would rather just have a battery score, without pit. Rather than exporting to a new score, just select the battery staves, click ";focus on";, possibly do a quick increase in staff size (in document setup), then print. Very fast.

Here's another keyboard shortcut for mac folks that I use all the time. It's not really Sibelius related, but use [b]Command-Tab[/b] to simply toggle between open applications. Working in Sibelius, it's common for the entire screen real estate to be taken up by a score, if you have to access something else that's running in the background (say VDL2 or Kontakt), then a simple command-tab will get you there faster than going down to the dock to select a different app.

[b]Copy dynamics onto multiple staves.[/b] Say you have a part that starts at F (forte), then does a 4 count diminuendo (hairpin) to MP for a bar, then a 2 count cresc (hairpin) to MF, and this dynamic structure is going to exist on many staves. Rather than entering in all those dyamics, simply do this:
[list]
[li]Select the items you want to copy to multiple staves[/li]
[li]Hit command-C for ";copy";[/li]
[li]Select the staves you want to copy dynamics to by COMMAND-CLICKING the first note of the phrase (or shift-click if they're in consecutive order)[/li]
[li]Once destination staves are selected, hit command-V for ";paste";. Voila![/li]
[/list]

[b]Combine technique expressions with MIDI commands -[/b] To get the most flexibility from VDL2 for playback, it sometimes requires certain controller changes or program changes to be sent via MIDI. Those of us who have done this in Sibelius know that you can facilitate a Mod-Wheel change (for instance), by typing in:
[b]~C1,127[/b]
But you also have to likely put a message in for the performer to read. For example [b]";At Edge";[/b] to tell snare players to play at the edge of the drum. Using this example, you can enter the following text:
[b]At edge~C1,127[/b]

Doing this, the instruction to the player (at edge) will print, but the MIDI command will not, yet it will still activate the appropriate response.
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