As an early Christmas present to all Sibelius 7 users, we are pleased to make available a new, free update today, bringing the program to version 7.1. This update includes nearly 200 bug fixes and improvements, including support for automatic duplexing in printing, improvements to PDF export workflow, support for DirectWrite for ClearType anti-aliasing and precise text positioning on Windows, support for automatic sound loading in Kontakt 5, and more besides.
Sibelius 7.1 is also the second of Avid’s products to move to its new unified software activation system, after last month’s release of Media Composer 6. This new system will be rolling out across all of Avid’s software products over the coming year.
Read on for more information about the Sibelius 7.1 update, but if you want to get straight down to business, here are the links you need:
- Read the full list of changes in Sibelius 7.1
- Download the Sibelius 7.1 update
- Download the Sibelius 7 Sounds update for Sibelius 7.1
Alternatively, you can simply open any score in your copy of Sibelius 7, then click Check For Updates on the Help page of the File tab.
Printing has been overhauled more in Sibelius 7 than in any previous version of the program, and there have been some teething problems, to be sure. Over the past few maintenance releases we’ve fixed a lot of issues that have been reported by users, and with Sibelius 7.1 we have made further progress.
The biggest news is that Sibelius 7.1 now supports automatic duplexing, if your printer supports it. The menu in Sibelius’s File > Print page that contains Print One Sided and Manually Print Both Sides will now also contain an extra item, Automatically Print Both Sides.
Choose this to enable automatic duplexing. Note that Sibelius can’t tell how the paper feeds through your printer, so a Duplex Options dialog has also been added, which you can access via a link directly below the menu of available printers in which you can choose whether your printer turns paper on the long edge or the short edge when printing in either portrait or landscape orientation. Until you have set this up properly, you may find that pages print upside-down on the reverse side of each sheet of paper, but once you’ve set it up once, it’s remembered for that printer thereafter, so you only need to do it once.
We’ve also made improvements to the way that Sibelius interfaces with the native Print dialog on Mac, which is accessible from the Use OS Dialog button at the bottom of Sibelius’s File > Print page, or by way of a keyboard shortcut (if you assign a shortcut to the OS Print Dialog feature in the File tab category on the Keyboard Shortcuts page of Preferences). The settings in the native Print dialog now take precedence over the settings in Sibelius’s File > Print page, so if you want to use the native options instead of Sibelius’s options, that’s now possible.
One potential pitfall to know about: the settings on the Page Attributes, which is the first page that appears in the native Print dialog, are defaulted using the values in Document Setup (i.e. your score or part’s page size and orientation), rather than the values in Page Setup (i.e. the paper size on which you eventually want the score or part to be printed). If you want to scale the score or part for any reason when printing, e.g. for 2-up printing of a range of pages, then you should set the destination paper size on the Paper Handling page of the Print dialog, by switching on the Scale to fit paper size checkbox.
Sibelius 7.0.3 and earlier included a slightly awkward compromise for the export of a selection of parts as PDF: you could choose all parts or just one part to export in File > Export > PDF, but if you wanted to make a selection of parts export as PDF, or have greater control over the filenames of the resulting PDFs, you would have to go to Parts > Extract > Extract and export the PDFs from there.
As of Sibelius 7.1, it’s now possible to do everything directly from the File > Export > PDF page. There are new options to export a selection of parts, either as a single file or separate files, and you can also now determine the filenames of the exported PDFs using tokens.
We’ve also added a new plug-in to export a folder of scores to PDF, courtesy of plug-in wizard Bob Zawalich. You can find this at Home > Plug-ins > Batch Processing > Export Folder of Scores as PDF. This mirrors much of the functionality of Sibelius’s own File > Export > PDF page, so you can export the full score and parts either as separate files or concatenated together per score, and automate some otherwise quite laborious workflows.
Display improvements on Windows
Sibelius 7.1 now uses DirectWrite as its drawing engine on Windows, which means that it can now render text using ClearType smoothing with sub-pixel glyph positioning. This is all very technical, but what it means is that text now looks crisper and better than ever on screen at all zoom levels in Sibelius, with subtle but significant improvements to the positioning of individual characters in a run of text.
ClearType smoothing uses colour fringing to improve the appearance of text. As Wikipedia says:
ClearType [sacrifices] one aspect of image quality (color or chrominance detail) for another (light and dark or luminance detail). The compromise can improve text appearance when luminance detail is more important than chrominance.
So if you look really closely (e.g. if you zoom in really close) you’ll see that the pixels around the outside of each character are different shades of light red, green and blue, instead of just shades of grey, which is the standard anti-aliasing technique used in previous Windows technologies.
You could go crazy reading about the differences between the various ways of rendering text on Windows and Mac OS X (here’s an informative blog post at Typekit, for example), but suffice it to say that Sibelius 7.1 now uses the latest and greatest typography technologies on Windows and Mac for the best possible on-screen appearance of text in your scores.
And in case you missed this improvement from Sibelius 7.0.3, if you don’t like the effect of using sub-pixel anti-aliasing for straight lines like staff lines and barlines, which can appear to be grey at certain zoom levels, you can switch off anti-aliasing for straight lines on the Display page of Preferences.
Unified activation and licensing
Avid is moving all of its software products across to a common software activation system, which will hopefully make it easier for people who use multiple Avid products to keep track of their software entitlements, and ensure that they don’t have to deal with many different software activation schemes for their different products. Media Composer 6 was the first product to make use of the new system when it was released in November, and now Sibelius 7.1 is the second product to make the switch.
When you run Sibelius 7.1 for the first time, you’ll need to activate it again: you’ll be given a new System ID (which replaces your old Sibelius serial number from now on) and Activation ID (which enshrines your entitlement, e.g. how many computers you can activate Sibelius on, any free upgrade entitlement you might have because you have a student license of the software, etc.). Activation is carried out using the new Avid License Control application, which is common to all applications using the unified activation system.
You can read all about the development of the unified activation scheme in Rich Gianattasio’s behind-the-scenes blog. Specific information of interest to existing Sibelius users can be found in this Help Center article.
Sibelius 7 Sounds update
We’ve also released a further update to the Sibelius 7 Sounds library to accompany Sibelius 7.1, which includes a number of further fixes and improvements to tuning, balance and articulations, plus making the “lite” sounds lighter still to make them load faster and consume less RAM when in use. You can read the full list of changes, and download the update, here.
Plug-in dialog editor
Perhaps of lesser interest to most people, but of great interest to the community of plug-in developers, Sibelius 7.1 also reinstates the ManuScript plug-in dialog editor, which has been missing on Windows since Sibelius 7.0, and has never been included in Sibelius for Mac. Now the plug-in dialog editor is back, and for the first time it’s available on Mac as well.
The dialog editor is considerably more useable than it has been in previous versions of Sibelius, with time-saving improvements such as the ability to align controls, access their properties by double-clicking, nudge their positions with the arrow keys, and so on. If you’re a plug-in developer, the new plug-in dialog editor will make your life considerably easier. (And there are a few other improvements to ManuScript in Sibelius 7.1, including access to PDF export, and a handful of other things.)
For more information about the changes in ManuScript in Sibelius 7.1, see the updated ManuScript Language Reference PDF.
If you’ve not yet upgraded to Sibelius 7, now’s a great time to jump in. Sibelius 7.1 has all of the amazing new features of Sibelius 7, plus several hundred fixes and improvements accumulated from Sibelius 7.0.1, 7.0.2 and 7.0.3, and the hundreds more in Sibelius 7.1. If you haven’t tried Sibelius 7 yet, the 30-day trial version has been updated to Sibelius 7.1 as well. If you buy an upgrade from our online store as a download, it will be Sibelius 7.1 from today (the software will be updated on DVD as well, but it won’t be available until early next year).
If you’re already using Sibelius 7, you should update as soon as you’ve finished your current project (never update in the middle of a project!). You can find the download in the Sibelius Help Center.