Losing the Parts Window in Sibelius 7

One of the most powerful features in Sibelius 6 was the Parts Window. The Sibelius 6 Parts Window acted as a central hub for everything to do with part creation. From one location within the program, you could perform a comprehensive list of tasks related to parts:

  1. Set the page size, margins, staff size, page breaks and other layout rules for all parts, one part, or any subset of parts (Multi Part Appearance).
  2. Import a house style to quickly change the look of one part, all parts, or any subset of parts.
  3. Print one part, all parts, or any subset of parts
  4. Save a PDF file of one part, all parts, or any subset of parts.

While Sibelius 7 hasn’t lost any of these capabilities, Multi-Part Appearance, Import House Style, PDF creation and printing have all been moved away from the v6 centralized Parts Hub design onto separate operations in the Ribbon UI. Even though these operations are clearly labeled in the various tabs on the Ribbon, the above parts editing / printing processes are no longer consolidated into one location, which by definition means that workflow for Parts preparation isn’t as efficient. This was obviously a conscious decision by Sibelius – a tradeoff in workflow efficiency for clarity in the UI.

For professional level users, the new design has a further subtle, but extremely important limitation. Sibelius 7 requires that in order to make any house style changes to any Part, it must first be OPEN. For instance, instead of simply selecting individual part names from the Parts Window list to make house style edits, you must now select either “Current Part”, “All Parts” and “All Open Parts”.  This means that to perform a House Style related edit for a specific group of parts without affecting all the parts, you must first close any parts you don’t want affected, then open the parts you *do* want affected before you can actually apply Multi Part Appearance or House Style edits to just the string parts.

By comparison, in Sibelius 6, this was only two steps, done right in the Parts Window: (1) CNTRL-Click (CMND-Click) the individual Parts you want to edit. (2) use Multi Part Appearance or Import House Style to change formatting for the selected parts only, in many cases, without even having the parts  open.

That said, the casual Sibelius user will probably never get deep enough into Sibelius to experience the drop in efficiency here. If you’ve never done anything to change the “look” of the built-in Manuscript Papers, you have nothing to worry about.

 

In summary, while the Ribbon UI design makes it easier for new users to understand Sibelius while encouraging experimentation and  exploration, some users, particularly professional music copyists working under tight deadlines, may find the less centralized workflow for parts inefficient compared to the Parts Window in Sibelius 6. Consider it a tradeoff for all the improvements.