Using the Select Graphic feature of Sibelius for correspondence & desktop publishing

Q: Occasionally when I write to someone I want to include a few music symbols, say, a metronome indication or generic notes and rests to illustrate a rhythm; it’s frustrating not to be able to copy and paste directly from Sibelius. What font do you recommend for typing independent musical symbols?

A: For this task, Sibelius has a cool feature which allows you to paste musical examples as a graphic into other programs which is perfect for this purpose.

Let’s start by creating a tempo / metronome mark in Sibelius to see how it works:

For this case, we won’t need the staff at all; just the tempo mark.  So, select the tempo mark so that it is highlighted purple, then click the “Select Graphic” button in the Home tab or type Option-G (mac) or Alt-G (windows). You will see a box with handles appear around your selection area.

Because of its proximity to the staff, to prevent any of the staff objects from being included in the graphic, select one of the little handles that change the bottom of the selection area, and move it up. Use the handles to control the exact selection area, if needed, even including previously unselected material.

Once you have the exact area you want to copy as a graphic selected, use CMND-C (mac) or CNTRL-C (windows) to copy the graphic to your clipboard. You can then paste this as a graphic into another program such as your email client:

Normally, when you select music within a bar, your selection area will include the staff itself:

If you want to create a graphic without any other objects such as clefs, key signatures,  staff lines or bar lines, use the “no instrument (hidden)” instrument. Only the notes will appear, allowing you to copy just the selected rhythms to the clipboard as a graphic:


For print publication work, the “Preferences > Other > Paste Graphics Into Other Programs” feature in Sibelius allows you to specify the resolution of these pasted graphics.

The preference has a popup with some common preset resolutions ranging from 75dpi to 1200dpi, and you can specify custom resolutions as well.

So, whether you need to send off a quick musical example to a student or a colleague, or create high resolution music graphics for your publisher, I hope you will keep this very unique and useful graphic export feature of Sibelius in mind.

That’s all there is to it.


for Nancy Piver

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