Sibelius has a very useful feature called Text Wildcards. Wildcards are a type of placeholder text that are sometimes referred to as Tokens or Text Inserts. These wildcards use the information from the fields in File>(Score)Info to display text on the page.
One advantage of using Text Wildcards is that you only need to type the actual text into the Sibelius file in one location – File>(Score)Info. Anywhere the wildcard appears, the text is dynamically updated instantly.
A good example of this are Titles: typically, you’ll want the title to display nice and large on the Title Page of the piece, but frequently you *also* want the Title to display as a header or footer on subsequent pages.
Wildcards are typed into Sibelius like any other text, and can be used with any text style. The syntax for all wildcards in Sibelius is “backslash, dollar sign, text, backslash”.
Let’s see how this works with the Title wildcard. Before you create a Title wildcard, enter a Title in the Title field of File>(Score)Info so that the actual Title becomes visible as soon as you enter the title wildcard.
- Select the first bar of the top staff of a new blank score
- In Sibelius 6, select Text>Title from the Create menu
- In Sibelius 7 or later, click the Styles button in the Text Tab and select Title from the Common group in the Gallery. (if your screen is wide, the single Styles button is expanded to show several Styles choices, so you’ll either need to scroll down the list using the arrows, or click the More button in the Styles group and then select Title.)
When the flashing cursor comes up, type “\$title\” (backslash, dollar sign, t-i-t-l-e, backslash)
..As soon as you click anywhere outside of the text field, the actual Title you entered in File>(Score)Info appears on the page:
Make sure you always attach all page related wildcard text to the 1st bar of the piece, otherwise, you will get weird multi-measure rest breaks in your parts (if there are multi-rests).
ENTER ONCE, DISPLAY ANYWHERE
Now that you have a title on the title page, how do you make it appear on subsequent pages as a header? Simple.
In Sibelius 6, select the first bar of the top staff only (single blue selection line).
Choose Create>Text>Other System Text>Header (after first page, inside edge).
When the cursor comes up, type in the \$title\ wildcard.
In Sibelius 7 or later, select the first bar of the top staff only (single blue selection line). If you have a fairly small screen, click the Styles button in the Styles Group of the Text Tab:
Depending on your screen width, you will see more text style choices. You may not see “Header (after first page, inside edge)” in the list, but you you can click the “more” button to see the whole gallery, or scroll up or down the list with the arrow buttons:
When the cursor comes up on the page after you make your selection, type in the \$title\ wildcard again.
Now that you’ve created a wildcard for the Title, it’s really simple to create wildcards that correspond to various fields in File>(Score)Info. You can use CAPS, lower case or Mixed Case to create wildcards; they are case insensitive. However, the actual text case will show exactly as you typed it into the corresponding field of File>(Score)Info in lower, UPPER or Mixed Case.
Here are a few to get you started:
\$PARTNAME\ – this is used for the instrument name at the top left of the title page of your parts, and can either be hidden or showing in your score as well.
\$HEADERPARTNAME\ – evaluates to a list of the instruments in the part, separated by a comma and all on the same line. If you were going to create wildcard headers on page 2 and beyond, this is typically what you would use.
Let’s talk about Instrument Changes for a moment. Sibelius 6 & 7 both have an Instrument Changes field in File>(Score)Info. When you create an instrument change in your score, this list gets updated.
We can use this to our advantage. It is common practice for Percussion parts and woodwind and other instruments with doubles to show the various instruments at the top of the score under the instrument name.
Use Staff text attached text for specific instruments / parts. Let’s use percussion as an example. There are instrument changes in the percussion part for several different percussion instruments.
First, check to make sure that the appropriate Instrument Changes are listed in the Instrument changes: field of the part in File>(Score)Info:
The \n\ is a newline (line break) wildcard that Sibelius does for you automatically, in this case.
Select the first bar of the part, and create some new staff text (e.g. Technique text or Small Text). Type in the wildcard, which is:
\$InstrumentChanges\ (again, text case does not matter here.)
Once you click outside of the text, you should see the list of the percussion instrument changes from File>(Score)Info in a vertical list. Drag this text up under the main instrument name in the part, as per common practice. You may also want to right click the text and set it to Show In Parts (if you don’t also want to see it in the score).
You can edit the list any time from File>(Score)Info of the part if you want, and you can copy this wildcard text to any other instruments with doubles and the information from each staff will auto fill.
(The reason to use staff text rather than a system text like Instrument Name at Top Left, is because we *only* want it showing on specific parts.)
FORMATTING CHANGES IN FILE>(SCORE) INFO
Sibelius allows you to add line breaks and to change the font and style to any text in File>(Score)Info. I find the following in particular to be quite useful:
- \n\ – new line
- \B\ – bold on
- \b\ – bold off
- \I\ – italic on
- \i\ – italic off
For instance, you might want your Composer name displayed on the page in bold, but the Arranger name just underneath it to be displayed with bold off.
You would create a Composer and Arrange wildcard on the page using the Composer text style (which you’ve defined as Bold):
Music by \$Composer\
Arranged by \$Arranger\
At this point, both the composer and arranger are displaying in the same bold text defined by the Composer text style. In the Arranger field, simply insert a “bold off” wildcard:
Now the composer name will be bold and the arranger name will not.
Another variation on this same idea combines several entries in one field of the File>(Score)Info:
Composer text style is defined as Roman (non-bold). In the File>(Score)Info>Composer field, type:
\B\Composer Name\n\\b\Orchestrator Name
This gives the following appearance on the page:
In File>(Score)Info, if you want to display a proper “Flat” character to show the key of the instrument, type a carat ^ – this will cause the following character to display in the Music Text Style.
So, for example, the following: Clarinet in B^b, E^b. Note that this only works inside of File>(Score)Info, but can be very useful.
There are some other useful wildcards in Sibelius for displaying the date and time, Opus number, year of composition and other things. You’ll find more information on Wildcards in the Sibelius 7 reference, beginning on page 492, and in the Sibelius 6 reference, beginning on page 260.
Also, be sure to check out these related posts on SibeliusBlog:
- Unleash the Power of Text Wildcards by Daniel Spreadbury
- Add Text Formatting Changes to Score Info and Plug-ins by Philip Rothman
- Go Wild with Text Wildcards (video) by Philip Rothman
That’s it! I hope you found this tutorial to be useful.
5 Replies to “Creating and using Text Wildcards in Sibelius”
Awesome contribution, thanks for these tips. Carry on the great work.
These tutorials ,I have found to invaluable. Thank you so much. I’ve been using Sibelius 6 for some time now. Only now do I feel that I am getting the optimum use out of such terrific software. I am indebted. Thank you!
Thanks for the good words, Steve!
THE BEST WAY TO ADD A BOXED TEXT IN THE SCORE USE THE FOLLOWING METHOD:-
1. press ctrl+T and type your desired text.
2. Highlight the text and in Text menu, Edit the font of the text which will give option to select Boxed text and hit ok.
YOU ARE NOW DONE IT WORKS MAGIC.
– Simon Nakhale