Freeze Magnetic Layout in Sibelius to Improve MusicXML Export to Finale

Hi Robert,

I’m much more of a Sibelius user and I’m trying to automate some things to quickly clean up files in Finale after importing MusicXML Files. Specifically, I’d like to see if there is a plug-in or a FinaleScript that cleans up formatting in Finale so there aren’t as many collisions on the page. I use Magnetic Layout in Sibelius, so I’m hoping there is something like that out there for Finale.


more >> “Freeze Magnetic Layout in Sibelius to Improve MusicXML Export to Finale”

Adjusting Tracking, aka Letter-Spacing in Finale & Sibelius

Q: Is it possible to make title text appear more “expanded” (as I might do in a Word doc?) My client has a specific font request, but his letter spacing looks wider than the same font on my computer, which is more “tight”: title-text-w-tracking A: This difference is due to letter-spacing, referred to as “Tracking” in typography. Tracking refers to a consistent degree of increase (or sometimes decrease) of space between letters to affect density in a line or block of text. more >> “Adjusting Tracking, aka Letter-Spacing in Finale & Sibelius”

Finale : Vertical Placement of Bar Numbers, part 2

Q: When preparing a musical theater orchestration, one of the “parts” I want to extract is actually a Piano/Vocal score, which has the piano staff and all the vocal staves. Copying standards in the musical theater world generally call for bar numbers to be on the top staff for these Piano/Vocal scores, but on the bottom of the staff for orchestra parts. Any thoughts on how you’d approach that particular conundrum in Finale?

A: In Sibelius, because Bar Numbers are individual Text Styles, this is easily achieved by simply making a copy of the Bar Numbers for Parts Text Style and then assigning it a different vertical location than the original (see Bar Number Flexibility for Score & Parts in Finale & Sibelius), where Finale’s design only offers one global position for all parts.

You are absolutely right – for master piano / conductor parts for musical theater, the bar numbers are frequently located above the staff; a different location from the other single line and braced grand staff parts, where the bar numbers are typically below.

Here is an example from the musical “Rent”:


more >> “Finale : Vertical Placement of Bar Numbers, part 2”

Finale : Automated Bar Numbers & Instrument Family Group Brackets

Q: We just came across something that seems to be a major annoyance in Finale. We had never run into it before because we usually start from a Document Style with the Setup Wizard, rather than creating a template from an existing file.

It seems that when you add, delete, or change an instrument from the Score Manager, it resets staff attributes for a bunch of staves all at once. For example, our templates were set to only display measure numbers over the first Violins in the score, but on making any change it resets the attributes of the first staff in each instrument choir, so all of a sudden we have huge measure numbers all over the page, and redundant grand staff braces and / or brackets are created.

I wanted to ask you if you’d encountered this issue before, and if there’s a solution.

more >> “Finale : Automated Bar Numbers & Instrument Family Group Brackets”

Sibelius Quick Tip : Text Wildcards List

A wildcard is a special kind of text object that can insert text from somewhere else. For instance, Sibelius has a number of useful wildcards for various page text elements (title, subtitle, composer, copyright etc). When you change the information in Score Info, the text on the page will automatically update.

The syntax for text wildcards is a backslash, followed by a dollar sign, then the wildcard label and finally, a closing backslash. Case does not matter; they can be all upper case, all lower case, or mixed case.

Sibelius also has some formatting change wildcards, which work exclusively within the Score Info dialog. The syntax for these is simply the command encased in a pair of backslashes.

Text wildcards are designed to appear on the page; as stated above, formatting wildcards (such as for bold, italic, new line etc) can only be used in Score Info.

Here is a list of the available text wildcards for Sibelius:

\$PARTNAME\ evaluates to a list of the instruments in the part, each instrument separated by a carriage return.
\$HEADERPARTNAME\ evaluates to a list of the instruments in the part, separated by a comma and all on the same line.
\$USER\ – current logged in user
\$DATELONG\ – full date in locale-specific format, e.g. “March 4, 2005”
\$DATESHORT\ – short date in locale-specific format, e.g. “04/03/05”
\$FILEPATH\ – full path to the current file
\$FILENAME\ – filename of the current file
\$FILEDATE\ – full date that the current file was last saved
\$TIME\ – current time (insert this, then zoom in and out every second!)
\$PAGENUM\ – current page number


\$NumPages\ – total number of pages (as of Sib 7.13)

Here are the available formatting wildcards for Score Info:

\n\ New line
\B\ Bold on
\b\ Bold off
\I\ Italic on
\i\ Italic off
\U\ Underline on
\u\ Underline off
\fArial Black\ Font change to Arial Black (for example)
\f_\ Font change to text style’s default font
\s123\ Size change to 123 (units are 1/32nds of a space, not points)

More information about Wildcards is available in the Sibelius Reference, starting on page 260.

Make a New Instrument or Text Style Available to All Your Scores in Sibelius

In Sibelius, new text styles, line styles, symbols, noteheads, and instruments are available only in the score in which they are first defined. This gives you the flexibility to make custom definitions without affecting existing scores.

You may, however, want to have a new style or instrument appear in another score, or even in all your new scores. Sibelius allows you to export a house style from the score containing the definitions you wish to share, and then import that house style into other scores. Those scores will now contain the new definitions.

You can also import a house style into manuscript paper files, which are used as templates for new scores, and any scores you create that use those manuscript papers will inherit the definitions from the house style.

This article explains how to import a house style into one or more manuscript paper files.

more >> “Make a New Instrument or Text Style Available to All Your Scores in Sibelius”