Create & position a larger time signature on the staff in Sibelius 6 & 7

Q: I’ve made my regular time signatures a bit larger than the default size, but I can’t seem to get them vertically aligned properly on the staff … How do I get them centered on the staff so that they stick out equally above and below the center staff line?

A: You need to make a quick adjustment in two places to do this.

  1. When you increase the font size, you must also slightly increase its Line Spacing.
  2. The larger the font increase, the more vertical offset you need to add to the overall time signature Default Position.

Here’s how:

The font’s size and line spacing for each Text Style is found in Edit Text Styles:

  • Sibelius 6 : House Style : Edit Text Styles
  • Sibelius 7: Text Tab : Edit Text Styles in the Styles Group
  1. Locate the first Time Signatures Style in the list, and click the Edit button.
  2. Select the General tab in Sibelius 6, or the Font tab in Sibelius 7.
  3. Let’s use 30pts relative to a 7mm staff for this example. Change for score and parts.
  4. In Sibellius 7, look for the line spacing field in the same window. Try a 1% increase, to 26% (from 25%).
  5. In Sibelius 6, select the Vertical Position tab, and increase Line Spacing 1% to 26%.
  6. OK and close the dialogs.
You’ll notice that the gap between the numerator and denominator of the time signature has increased very slightly, but the number still isn’t centered on the staff. To center it, go to Default Positions:
Sibelius 6: Select Default Positions from the House Style menu:

Sibelius 7: Select the Default Positions button in the Design and Position Group of the Appearance Tab:

Once in the dialog, locate Time Signatures in the list of styles in the left column. The default vertical positioning for regular Time Signatures is 1 space above center for both score and parts. With the font size set to 30 points, the vertical positioning should be increased to a little over 1.5 spaces (I use 1.56 spaces):

Using these steps, you can change the size of the Time Signature to exactly the size you want, and center it perfectly on the staff. Easy!

for Jonathan Preiss