Improvements in Sibelius version 1.3

Download a printer-friendly version of this page - click here (182Kb, requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).

The improvements detailed below are grouped into topics in alphabetical order, as in the Reference section of the User Guide, as follows:

[ Accidentals | Articulations | Bar numbers | Bars and bar rests | File converters | Files ]
[ Graphics Files | Guitar frames | Instruments | Internet publishing | Keyboard shortcuts ]
[ Lines: magnetic slurs | Lines: non-magnetic slurs | Look and feel | Lyrics | MIDI equipment ]
[ Multirests | Notes, chords and rests | OMS and FreeMIDI | Plug-ins | Scanning | Text ]
[ Transferring and uninstalling Sibelius | Tuplets | Bugs fixed | Known problems ]

All significant improvements since version 1.22 are listed. To read about previous changes to Sibelius (up to version 1.22), click here.


Accidentals are positioned slightly further away from notes in new files, which looks better. Existing files are unchanged. (If you prefer the previous distance you can adjust it in the House Style dialog box.)

[ Back to top ]


Articulations now avoid collisions with the new magnetic slurs - either the articulation or the slur moves out of the way (depending on the situation). See Lines: magnetic slurs. (Note that articulations do not currently avoid colliding with ties, though such collisions are less common than with slurs).

Bar numbers

New House Style option (Bar numbers page of the House Style dialog box, File menu): Center in bar. When this option is switched on, bar numbers are centered over each bar.

Note that bar number changes (i.e. created with the Create > Bar Number Change function) are not centered, but you can drag them to the center manually.

[ Back to top ]

Bars and bar rests

New House Style options (Bar rests page of the House Style dialog box, File menu):

  • Use one bar multirests: this draws 1 above all bar rests (except those with a fermata/pause). This option is independent of Show multirests (Layout menu). This option can also be switched on when extracting parts; see Options in the Part Extraction dialog box.
  • Draw H-bar using a symbol: this uses a stretched symbol rather than drawing a rectangle to produce the thick bar of an H-bar. This option is switched off by default, but you may want to switch it on when using the Inkpen font, as it will give multirests a handwritten appearance. (Having the option switched off solves a printing problem whereby there is sometimes a gap at the end of the H-bar.)

[ Back to top ]

File converters

Sibelius version 1.3 is supplied with converters for files from Finale 98, Allegro 98 and PrintMusic 1.0 for Windows and Mac, and from the Acorn Sibelius programs.

[ Back to top ]


From version 1.3 onwards, Sibelius files are forwards compatible. This means that version 1.3 will be able to open files created on later versions of Sibelius for the forseeable future. If a feature present in a later version of Sibelius is used in a file opened by an earlier version of the software, a warning will appear and objects affected by that feature will simply not display when opened in the earlier version.

Note that version 1.3 can open files from all previous versions of Sibelius, but that previous versions of Sibelius (i.e. all versions up to and including v1.22) cannot open files saved in version 1.3. This means that if you update to version 1.3 and sometimes send files to other people, you should encourage them to update to version 1.3 as well.

When opening in version 1.3 a file saved in a previous version of Sibelius for the first time, a new Update Score dialog box will appear; this gives you the option of updating your scores to use the new magnetic slurs feature. Generally you should switch on all the conversion options in this dialog box, unless you know you will need to edit the score again in a previous version of Sibelius - once you have saved the score in version 1.3, it will no longer be possible to open it in previous versions.

[ Back to top ]

Graphics files

EMF file export has been modified to make them readable by more programs.

[ Back to top ]

Guitar frames

You can now edit an existing guitar frame by double-clicking it in the score.

[ Back to top ]


  • Guitar [tab] and Electric guitar [tab] now have no rhythms (stems, rests, etc.) by default - existing scores are unaffected.
  • The Bass guitar instrument now plays back in the correct octave (this only applies when you create a new bass guitar; existing scores are unchanged).

[ Back to top ]

Internet publishing

  • Save as Scorch web page now removes any spaces from the filenames of both the Sibelius (.sib) and HTML (.htm) files and shortens the name to 27 characters plus a 3 character extension to make them safe for all servers.
  • Save as Scorch web page also now warns you if the web page template uses some fields from Catalog Info (File menu) that haven't been filled in for that particular score. For example, with the standard web templates Sibelius warns you if you forget to set the title and composer, as these are written above the score in the resulting web page.

[ Back to top ]

Keyboard shortcuts

There is a new Flip Object item in the Layout menu, with shortcut X. We expect to make X flip other objects in future, e.g. ties. This function flips note stems and also slur directions (above/below the notes). (The flip stem button on the third keypad layout still works but it's easier just to type X.)

[ Back to top ]

Lines: magnetic slurs

Version 1.3 introduces a new type of slur which attaches vertically to notes, so that if you change the pitch of notes or add articulations, the slur moves: meet the magnetic slur™.

This improves:

  • typing S to add a slur to a note (these now work correctly with beams and with notes in multiple voices);
  • editing notes;
  • transposing (e.g. when extracting parts);
  • grace notes (slurs now attach to them in the same way as normal notes).

Old-style non-magnetic slurs appear red when selected (partly as a warning that you may want to make them magnetic).

To create a magnetic slur, select a note (or grace note) and type S, as before. S now puts the slur starting at the notehead end of the first note; in two or more voices, S puts the slur above a stem-up note and below a stem-down note. Shift-S puts the slur at the opposite end. We have used this rule (rather than the old behavior of S putting a slur above the note) because this is a smarter default, i.e. follows standard engraving practise in most cases. For a stem-up note in one voice, there are a couple of exceptions where you should type Shift-S to put the slur at the stem end (above) rather than at the notehead end (below). These are:

  • if any later note stems within the slurred group point down, or
  • if the slur is long (say, two or more bars).

You can type X (the new keyboard shortcut for Flip Object in the Layout menu; see Keyboard shortcuts) to flip a slur vertically to the other side of a note. Note that this shortcut doesn't currently flip ties, although we plan to include this in a later update.

When dragging a magnetic slur it snaps to each note it passes over. Note that magnetic slurs over page breaks can sometimes change direction. If you want to ensure that a slur doesn't change direction over a page break, use a non-magnetic slur instead.

Slurs now have handles when selected, which makes them easier to select (if one end of the slur is selected, only that end gets a handle).

If you use Snap Object (Layout menu, or type Shift-Command-S or Ctrl+Shift+S) to snap a slur, this also turns it into a magnetic slur if it was non-magnetic.

Note that magnetic slurs do not attach to cross-staff notes. The slur will naturally go to where the note would be on the original staff, but you can drag the slur's end to the note's actual position.

Magnetic slurs have a maximum angle for esthetic purposes; if a magnetic slur would otherwise exceed this angle, it is drawn from one of the notes to a point above or below the other.

There are new options on the Slurs page of the House Style dialog box (File menu) relating to magnetic slurs:

  • Minimum distance x spaces from staff line prevents the ends of slurs touching staff lines.
  • The Avoiding articulation options specify the distance between ends of slurs and articulations on the same note.

[ Back to top ]

Lines: non-magnetic slurs

  • Although we don't recommend it except for special circumstances, you can still create non-magnetic slurs using the mouse - either by selecting a slur from the Lines dialog box (Create menu), or by typing S (slur above) or Shift+S (slur below) when no note is selected.
  • Non-magnetic slurs appear in red when selected, as a hint that you should probably use a magnetic one instead.
  • You can make a non-magnetic slur magnetic by snapping it to the notes: select it and type Shift-Command-S or Ctrl+Shift+S (or choose Snap Object on the Layout menu).
  • If you want a magnetic dotted slur, for instance, choose one from the Lines dialog box, put it in the score with the mouse (at which point it will be non-magnetic), then snap it to make it magnetic.

[ Back to top ]

Look and feel

  • The toolbar icons in Sibelius have been redesigned; their position and function remains identical to that of previous versions.
  • A brief musical excerpt now plays when Sibelius is run; to silence it, switch off Play music at start in the Preferences dialog box (File menu). The excerpt is from Sibelius' 7th Symphony, played, appropriately enough, by Finland's Lahti Symphony Orchestra.

[ Back to top ]


  • Reset Note Spacing (Layout menu, or type Command-R or Ctrl+R) now makes room for lyrics when respacing music. This is particularly useful when extracting parts. Hurrah!
  • New House Style option (Text page of the House Style dialog box, File menu): Use text hyphens (not symbols). This is switched on by default, even when opening an old score. The built-in hyphen that was Sibelius' previous default was a symbol, and sometimes undesirable because it was italic and its size did not vary according to the font used for the Lyrics text style.

[ Back to top ]

MIDI equipment

We have included six new patch files with this version of Sibelius, for the following sound modules:

  • E-MU Proteus 2
  • E-MU Proteus 2000
  • Kurzweil K2500 orchestral board
  • Roland JV-1010
  • Roland JV-1010 (orchestral board)
  • Roland XP-30

[ Back to top ]


Multirests can now be forced to split into two at any point:

  • Switch off Show Multirests (Layout menu) if they're on - Shift-Command-M or Ctrl+Shift+M toggles this function.
  • Select a barline and choose Split Multirest from the Layout menu or type Shift-Command-P or Ctrl+Shift+P; a double-slash will appear on the screen above the barline (although not when you print), similar to system and page breaks (you can hide or show these marks by toggling the Breaks option in the View menu).
  • If you switch on Show Multirests again or extract parts; the multirest will now split at the chosen barline.

If you select a passage and choose Split Multirest, then any multirest is forced to split either side of the passage, and any splits within the passage are removed. This means that if all the bars are empty, the selected passage will become a single multirest (when Show Multirests is switched on).

Note that if there are any notes, text or other objects in the passage, they will split up the multirest anyway; you can't use this to hide them.

[ Back to top ]

Notes, chords and rests

  • New House Style option (Notes page of the House Style dialog box, File menu): New stem length rule. This makes the stems of notes on or either side of the middle staff line 0.25 spaces longer than before, which many engravers and publishers prefer. This option is switched on in new scores; when opening old scores the Update Score dialog box gives you the option to switch it on.
  • Command-up/down arrow or Ctrl+up/down arrow now changes stem lengths in 0.25 space increments, not 1 space as previously.

[ Back to top ]

OMS and FreeMIDI (Mac only)

In addition to support for OMS, version 1.3 of Sibelius now supports FreeMIDI v1.44 and higher. You have to use one of these programs to specify your MIDI equipment before playing/recording, in the same way that you have to use the Chooser to specify your printer before printing.

Note: If you have already set up OMS with a previous version of Sibelius, there is no need to change to using FreeMIDI. If, on the other hand, other music programs on your computer require FreeMIDI, you may find it useful to set Sibelius up to use it too.

MIDI interfaces that support FreeMIDI include:

  • MOTU 1296
  • MOTU 24i
  • MOTU 308
  • MOTU 1224
  • MOTU 2408
  • MIDI Express XT USB
  • Micro Express USB
  • FastLane USB

MIDI interfaces that support OMS only include:

  • Roland Super MPU64
  • MIDIMan MIDISport 2x2 USB

Using OMS and FreeMIDI in Sibelius

  • OMS and FreeMIDI recommend you switch off virtual memory when using them - choose the Memory Control Panel from the Apple menu to toggle this. To make sure, Sibelius refuses to use FreeMIDI if virtual memory is switched on.
  • If you have both OMS and FreeMIDI installed, Sibelius assumes by default that you want to use FreeMIDI (because you can always use FreeMIDI compatibility mode to use OMS from FreeMIDI). Advanced users can change this assumption by editing the Preferences file in your Sibelius folder: set the value after PreferredMIDISys to 1 for OMS and 2 for FreeMIDI.
  • When using OMS or FreeMIDI a menu called OMS or FreeMIDI appears in the Play/Flexi-time menu. The OMS menu contains options MIDI Setup, Studio Setup and Panic. The FreeMIDI menu contains Interface Settings, Edit Configuration and Panic. Panic silences all the sounds, similar to the option All Notes Off (Options submenu of the Play/Flexi-time menu). The other menu options take you to setup features in OMS and FreeMIDI that are also available in those programs directly. Note that when using FreeMIDI in OMS compatibility mode the FreeMIDI options are shown.

[ Back to top ]


The following plug-ins have been added since v1.22:

  • Convert Finale Files - converts multiple files in a folder; see file converters
  • Convert Sibelius 7 Files - converts multiple files in a folder; see file converters
  • Keyboard reduction (formerly called Implode) - creates a single- or two-staff reduction of a larger score; simply create a new single staff or piano as the first (i.e. topmost) instrument in your score, and run the plug-in.
  • Cresc. & Dim. - allows playback of dynamic changes over sustained notes
  • Accel. & Rit. - enables playback of gradual tempo changes
  • Add interval above/below - can add notes of any interval above or below a selected passage
  • Transpose to one note - transposes the selected passage to a single pitch, useful for rhythm notation.

A new AddText function has also been added to the ManuScript language which allows programmers to refer to text styles by number rather than by name; this ensures that plug-ins will work on different language versions of Sibelius.

[ Back to top ]


Tuplets now import from PhotoScore Professional. Note that only PhotoScore Professional (not PhotoScore Lite, which is supplied free with Sibelius) can handle tuplets, and it does not automatically read them: you have to specify where they go after the score has been read. For more information on PhotoScore Professional, click here.

PhotoScore Lite has been updated to version 1.75, also available for download from this site. Take a look at what's new in it.

[ Back to top ]


You can now change the text style of an existing text object. Select the text and type Command-I or Alt+Enter to view its Properties dialog box (or choose Properties from the Edit menu). In the Text tab of this dialog box you can change the text style from a list.

Note that only compatible text styles are shown: for instance, if you select some Title text, Subtitle appears on the text style list, but not Expression (since you can only change to another system text style).

There are also new alignment options for text styles; on the Horizontal Posn tab of the Edit Text Style dialog box there are new options for aligning text objects to the page.

[ Back to top ]

Transferring and uninstalling Sibelius

When you Transfer saving out (File > Register/Transfer), you are now asked to type in the transfer key again as a check in case you didn't write it down properly.

[ Back to top ]


There is a new House Style option (Text page of the House Style dialog box, File menu): Rotate single digits. This option is switched off by default (even in old scores, where single digit tuplets were previously drawn rotated). Tuplet text consisting of multiple digits (e.g. '12' or '3:2') has to be drawn at the same angle as the bracket to align with it, but single digits can look better drawn upright instead.

[ Back to top ]

Bug fixes

Numerous minor bugs have been fixed in this release, including:

  • Go To Bar and Go To Page now take account of the first bar and/or page number not being 1.
  • Grace-notes can now be entered just before a barline.
  • Show cautionary option in the Properties dialog box for time signatures now selectable (Mac only).
  • Dragging off the edge of the Navigator caused pages to speed past uncontrollably; this is now fixed (Mac only).
  • The occasional misalignment of barlines at the end of systems has been fixed (the barline would appear slightly detached from the right-hand end of the system). If the problem occurred with a 'special' barline (e.g. final etc.) in an existing score, you may need to respace the bar before the problem barline.
  • The German version of Sibelius for Mac now correctly installs the globals.txt file required by ManuScript plug-ins.
  • Saving was sometimes disabled after printing a single page.
  • H-bars are now the correct thickness on multirests on small staves (Mac only).
  • Some text styles marked as not 'Playable', such as 'Small text', still affected playback; this is now fixed. If you previously deliberately used one of these text styles to affect playback, you will now have to switch on the Playable option in the Edit Text Style dialog box to restore the previous behavior.
  • The Sibelius application icon sometimes went missing; now fixed (Windows only).
  • Lyric lines (e.g. for melismas) were drawn too far away on small staves.
  • Some plug-in dialog boxes displayed incorrectly (Mac only).
  • Plug-in dialog editor now works correctly (Mac only).
  • Active Sensing MIDI devices (e.g. Yamaha keyboards) no longer cause the input indicator in the Equipment dialog box (Play/Flexi-time menu) to light up continuously.
  • Print range (Print dialog box) was sometimes ignored on some Apple Laserwriter printers (Mac only).
  • Bar Properties dialog box now appears correctly (Mac only).
  • Display problems with music fonts on Korean versions of Windows now fixed (Windows only).
  • On certain computers, editing text would result in spurious characters (e.g. 'RPAR' and 'fofs29') being inserted; this is now fixed (Windows only).
  • Test button in the Equipment dialog box now works with the Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth under Windows 2000.
  • Printing problems (i.e. blank pages) with the Brother HL-1250 USB laser printer on Mac have been fixed; this should also fix problems with other similar printers (Mac only).

[ Back to top ]

Known problems

The following is a known problem with this release:

  • When opening scores saved in older versions of Sibelius, some users have reported that for some files Sibelius 'hangs' when choosing to update slurs to the new magnetic slurs in the Update Score dialog box. (We think this may only occur in files which have slurred grace-notes.) If you experience this problem, simply re-open the score in question and choose not to update slurs. After opening the score, you can make slurs magnetic individually if you want to, using Snap Object (Shift-Command-S or Ctrl+Shift+S).
  • When copying magnetic slurs with Option-click or Alt-click, slurs may be mispositioned in the copied passage unless you click at the very beginning of the bar into which you're pasting the selection.
  • There is a minor bug in version 1.3 of Sibelius that may in some cases prevent Sibelius from reopening extracted parts after extraction. This is because Sibelius erroneously saves files beginning with a space character (e.g. ' 1 Bassoon.sib' rather than '1 Bassoon.sib'), and it then ignores this character when trying to open the file.
    To work around this problem, you could rename each of the extracted parts to remove this initial space character. Alternatively, if you choose Score plus staff number from the Options in the Part extraction dialogue box, Sibelius saves the parts with the correct filename.
  • Mac users with the Okey Dokey Control Panel can get a crash in Sibelius' Lines dialog box. This is due to a conflict in an early version of Okey Dokey. The solution is to remove the Control Panel, or possibly to upgrade it (v2.0.3 seems to work more reliably).

[ Back to top ]


This page last updated 26 June 2000.