14 Sibelius Keyboard Shortcuts You Need to Know

Sibelius is probably the best notation software for composers, but it also has one of the worst user interfaces. It’s not intuitive to navigate and takes a long time to master, so how do the pros do it? Secrets are shortcuts.

Ask any longtime Sibelius expert, and they’ll have their own collection of keyboard shortcuts that make scoring easy. To help you get ideas done faster, we’ve highlighted the top keyboard shortcuts that will make your life easier.

1. Deselect

The first shortcut that any new user needs to know is WOMEN to deselect. Press this key and no matter how lost you are in the Sibelius toolkit, your cursor will switch back to the mouse pointer. From there, you can navigate to the tool you need to use.

Musical note-taking involves frequent movement between the mouse pointer and many note-entry tools, so deselecting functionality is essential.

2. Copy

You may be surprised to learn that there is a faster way to copy and paste in Sibelius. Just select a note or paragraph and use Alt (Option) + click to paste it in a new location. Once you get used to this shortcut, you will find that it is much faster than standard usage Ctrl + and Ctrl + DRAW keyboard shortcuts.

3. Repeat Bar

If you need to copy and paste a selection into a bar immediately after it, press CHEAP on the keyboard is the fastest solution. The “R” stands for repeat, and you can use it to copy a single note, measure, or entire selected piece of music.

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4. Create New Bar(s)

Inserting new bars in the middle of your track is not difficult as you use it Ctrl (Command) + Shift + CANCEL. Use this shortcut to create a new bar after what is currently selected. To add more bars, hold Ctrl (Command) + Shift and press REMOVE as many times if you need.

5. Remove the Bar(s)

To permanently remove extra bars from a track, highlight a paragraph and press Ctrl (Command) + Backspace. A dialogue window will appear asking you to confirm your decision to remove the bars. If you just want to clear the contents of the bar, press Backspace will do it.

6. Input Notes

The last thing you want to do is type individual notes into employee lines using just the pointer tool. That’s why Sibelius programmed the letters meticulously and tediously. One arrive WOOD as input notes.

You can select an existing note, a blank bar, or a remaining note, then press One through the WOOD on the keyboard for the note you want. If you make a mistake, just use Onearrow key to move your note up or down in one step and reassign it.

7. Up/down octave

Similar to moving a note selection up or down with the arrow keys, you can move a note up or down an octave by simply pressing Ctrl (Command) + Up / Down Key. This works for multiple note groups such as chords, as well as entire selected segments. It’s a great way to change up your music and try a different sound.

If you don’t have access to your copy of Sibelius and need to come up with some ideas, there are several online tools for writing musical notation that you can also use easily.


8. Build Chords

It can be much easier to build chords using the numbers on your keyboard (not the keyboard). First, select an existing note, then use the keypad numbers to add a space above your note.

For example, if you wanted to build a major chord on C, you would need the third and fifth notes from the C major scale. To achieve this, choose the number 3 on the keyboard to give you the third interval on C and press the number 5 to add the fifth interval on C.

This also works in reverse, just use Shift + Number to add a space below the selected note.

9. Smurf

Chances are you’ll be using mumbling quite often to change the articulation in your music. Using keyboard characters S to add a slur to the selected note, then press Spacebar to extend the time for the next note. If you have stretched the slur too far and want to go back one step, use Shift + Spacebar to withdraw it.


10. Crescendo / Diminuendo

Another extremely handy expression assigned to keyboard shortcuts is crescendo. Letter H will add a crescendo mark below your current selection and press Spacebar will extend the crescendo to the next note. Again, use Shift + Spacebar to shorten the crescendo if you want to shorten it.

To create a diminuendo or decrescendo below your selected note, use Shift + Surname. The Spacebar can also be used to extend the diminuendo to the next note.

11. Highlight expressions

Expressive markers like the piano Meo and fortissimo are the bread and butter of score writing, but to access them you need to go in Text on the ribbon at the top of the screen just to access the drop-down menu.

A better way to find what you’re looking for is to select a note and press Ctrl (Command) + E. Once done, a space will appear below the note for you to type dynamically. In this space, right click with the mouse to display a quick access menu with all available animated marks.

12. Flip Note Stem

Once you’ve written the piece of music, the next step is to make it look good. Use X on the keyboard will flip the base of the note in the opposite direction, which can make it easier for a performer to read a phrase. Normally, Sibelius does this automatically according to its own rules of notation, but in practice there are plenty of times when you want to override it.

Another great tool to have when composing is a reliable recording app, so make sure to check out our list of the best music recording apps for Android.

13. Break the system

Another intuitive shortcut in use enter to create a systematic break in the score. Use this shortcut to break up overly dense paragraphs and spread them out across the page. Just select the line you want to force break the system and press enter.

To view and remove system interrupts, go to the ribbon and navigate to View > Invisibles > Layout Mark. When the Mark Layout check box is ticked, it will show little arrows at the end of employee lines wherever there is a system problem. Select the arrow and press Backspace to delete it.

14. Point / Partial View Transformation

When working on a track for more than one instrument, it is essential to check what each individual score section looks like before printing. You can do this by pressing W on the keyboard. To view different sections, right click on the thin tab area just below the ribbon bar at the top of the screen and it will display a drop-down menu with different sections of scores available to view.

Sibelius’s secret are shortcuts

Just learning one of these keyboard shortcuts will speed up your Sibelius workflow. As you become more familiar with Sibelius over time, return to this list of keyboard shortcuts to see what else you can incorporate into your process.

Even if you’re a seasoned veteran, there may be a trick or two that you don’t know about. Either way, it’s clear that the key to success in Sibelius is a solid knowledge of keyboard shortcuts.


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Sarah Ridley

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