How to Create Colored Barlines in Sibelius

Q: How can I assign a color to an individual barline? If I try, Sibelius tells me these objects can’t be colored.

A: While ordinary barlines can’t be colored, there is an easy way to do this; by first changing it into a special barline.  Select the barline you want to color, then, in Sibelius 7 or later, locate the Barlines Group in the Common section of the Notations Tab.

If it is a “normal” barline, when you select Normal, it will remain visibly the same; however, making it a Special Barline will allow you to color it with the shortcut CNTRL-J Windows / CMND-J Mac.

Caution: prior to Sibelius v8.7.2, all Special Barlines split multirests in parts.

A German version of this post („Farbige Taktstriche”) is available here.


Karin Vadon is a classically trained musician, singer-songwriter and music copyist from Vienna, Austria who authors a german-language music notation blog for Sibelius and Dorico users.

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