Is There A Way to Create A Single Thick Barline in Sibelius?

Q: I would like to use a special bar line that looks just like a double bar filled in completely black to notate the ends of phrases.

I found a way to edit Symbols to do this, but the placement is messy and doesn’t snap in place as the regular bar lines do. Is there a way to edit bar line appearances
so they will still snap in place like regular bar lines?

A: As you’ve discovered, Sibelius does’t use Symbols for bar lines; they are actually vector graphics like the staff lines. The advantage of this is that bar lines stay high resolution at any size, and allows user control over things like line thickness. The disadvantage is available controls are limited to what you see in Engraving Rules > Barlines.

Unfortunately, in Sibelius, there is no perfect answer to this, but one option is available if you don’t require any regular double bar lines elsewhere (e.g. for key changes etc). You can define the double bar line with the two lines very close together so they appear as a single thick line.



You can define a barline’s  width to anything you choose, and the double and final bar line styles have an additional separation control. This is result of the double bar line style width set to .25 spaces with zero spaces of separation:


If you have a lot of key changes or other section separators requiring double bar lines, you could also use the Final bar line style for this single thick using zero separation. When you print the score, you could reset the normal final bar line style and print the last page; for the parts, unfortunately, this may not work so well, since you are likely to have all required bar lines on one page. Or maybe you can get away with using a double bar line for a final bar line…

So there it is, caveats and all.

I actually just finished an orchestral project where I needed to indicate where cuts were made in the parts, and a single thick bar line is a clear way to show these.

Support for this bar line style would be a small but welcome addition to Sibelius.

Note that Finale supports single thick bar lines, which will be lost when converting to Sibelius via MusicXML.


for Jonathan Busch

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