2015: The plug-in year in review


zawalich3This blog post is written by Bob Zawalich, composer, guitarist, software designer, and creator of hundreds of useful plug-ins for Sibelius. In this post, Bob reflects on the past year of plug-in development.

On a personal note, I would like to thank Bob for all of his guest posts to the blog over the past year, and for his continued selfless help and support of the Sibelius user community through his plug-in development and general assistance. I’ll be following up with a 2015 year-in-review of the blog later this week. — Philip

plug-inIt has been a quiet year in Sibelius Plug-in Land, my home town.

There have been no new shipping plug-ins from Sibelius since version 7.0, back in January 2011. The last new feature for ManuScript, the plug-in language, was added in Sibelius 7.5, and that allowed me to write the Gap Before Bar plug-in. Before the Firing of the Developers, we were often able to get new ManuScript features when there was a major or minor new version of Sibelius, and that often led to a rash of new user-developed plug-ins. But that does not happen anymore, so we make do with what we have.

This year, 20 plug-ins were published to the plug-in download page, available for free download. These were written by Kenneth Gaw and by me. Kenneth and I also made upgrades to some existing plug-ins in 2015. Back in 2014, there had been 32 new plug-ins, so the pace has definitely slowed.

Speaking only for my part, most of the plug-ins I published were solutions to problems brought up by Sibelius users. Replace Articulation Symbols, Scale Notehead Sizes, Repeated Dynamics Text, Move Time Sig Repeat Barline, Align to Beat, Batch Transpose 12 Keys, Save and Export, Add Bar Before Special Barline, and Unfold Repeat Bar Rests were all written as ways to provide an easier way for users to get work done.

Run Plugin on Folder of Scores and Run Plugin on Score and Parts (both available from the same zip file RunPluginOnFolderOfScores.zip) were both intended to be tools for plug-in authors so they could write relatively simple plug-ins and have them run on a folder of scores or on a score and all its parts. Or both! They can be used by Sibelius users to run any plug-in multiple times, though you will likely need to hit OK a lot of times when running most plug-ins this way.

My two biggest plug-in projects were Colored Notehead Styles and Style Sheet, both of which have Sibelius Blog posts written about them. Colored Notehead Styles allows chords to have separate colors for each note, which was previously not possible (and which always drove me crazy!) The plug-in zip file contains the plug-ins Import Colored Notehead Styles, Colored Noteheads On Harp Strings, Remove Colored Noteheads, Colored Notehead Data File, and Colored Noteheads On Strings, and this project occupied a fair bit of my spring and summer.

Style Sheet grew from a fairly simple list of the text styles available in a score to a plug-in that exported and deciphered a MusicXML file to find the fonts used by the text styles in the score, and provided lists of text, lyrics, symbols, lines, noteheads, and Engraving Rules and Document Layout data. It was more of an industrial plug-in, intended to be used by someone with large numbers of scores, who might be interested in moving their scores to a different file format, retaining as much information as possible. The project produced the spin-off plug-ins All Symbols Labeled and Identify Selected Symbols, which make it easier to identify symbols in your score.

In 2015 I also wrote a number of blog posts discussing plug-ins and plug-in issues, which  were published by Philip Rothman on the Sibelius Blog, and by Robert Puff on his blog Of Note. Thanks to Philip and Robert for providing me a bit of a platform.

Here are the plug-ins that have been published to the Plug-in Download Page in 2015. In 2016, may all your Sibelius problems have simple solutions!

Plug-in NameVersionAuthorCategoryDate
Plugin Info01.06.01Bob ZawalichDevelopers' Tools2015-01-30
Replace Articulation Symbols01.70.00Bob ZawalichEngravers' Tools2015-01-30
Scale Notehead Sizes01.50.00Bob ZawalichNotes and Rests2015-03-30
Select Staves01.21.00Bob ZawalichSelection2015-03-25
Repeated Dynamics Text01.15.00Bob ZawalichProof-reading2015-03-28
Colored Notehead Styles01.50.00 Bob ZawalichColor2015-05-20
Copy and Paste Across Tuplets1.1Kenneth GawTuplets2015-05-26
Easy Drum Kit Notes1.1Kenneth GawComposing Tools2015-05-26
Move Selection Left/Right1.0Kenneth GawNavigation2015-05-26
Color Enharmonic Pitches03.10.00Bob ZawalichColor2015-06-15
Move Time Sig Repeat Barline01.11.00Bob ZawalichLayout2015-07-17
Align to Beat01.17.00Bob ZawalichEngravers' Tools2015-06-23
Batch Transpose 12 Keys01.26.00Bob ZawalichBatch Processing2015-07-18
Style Sheet01.93.00Bob ZawalichEngravers' Tools2015-10-23
All Symbols Labeled01.75.00Bob ZawalichEngravers' Tools2015-10-30
Identify Selected Symbols01.09.00Bob ZawalichEngravers' Tools2015-10-30
Save and Export01.19.00Bob ZawalichEngravers' Tools2015-11-06
Run Plugin on Folder of Scores & Run Plugin on Score and Parts02.06.00 Bob ZawalichBatch Processing2015-11-20
Add Bar Before Special Barline01.06.00Bob ZawalichLayout2015-11-22
Unfold Repeat Bar Rests01.06.00Bob ZawalichEngravers' Tools2015-11-24


  1. Kenneth Gaw

    Thanks very much for this review and for your contributions this year. 2016 looks like being an interesting year in the development of music notation software.

  2. Al Johnston

    Thank you both, Bob and Ken, for the invaluable work you do. I just wanted to mention that your work is done so well that happily, even though I had never worked with a Sibelius plug-in before, just from an understanding of basic scripting I was able to modify the ScaleDynamics plugin to accommodate my additional custom dynamics in a single afternoon. (I need custom dynamics in order to achieve more realistic playback.) You’re fine scripting skills are a joy!

  3. Al Johnston

    Any chance that there is or will be a plug-in available to filter metronome marks in Sibelius; to filter them in toto or by Beats Per Minute, to replace them in toto or by Beats Per Minute, etc.? I use scads of them to achieve more realistic playback.

  4. Bob Zawalich

    There is none I know of; you can always write your own, of course – that is what the Plugin-feature was designed to allow us to do. You might have a look at the downloadable plugin Scale Numbers and see if it does any of what you want.

    1. Al Johnston

      Thanks, Bob. I will. Still getting my feet wet with plug-in design.

  5. Kenneth Gaw

    Al, I have one which does some of these things. It’s not published yet, but I works reasonably well and I can email to you if you want.

  6. Kenneth Gaw

    Apologies for the typos in the last comment. It should read:
    Al, I have one which does some of these things. It’s not published yet, but it works reasonably well and I can email it to you if you want.

    1. Al Johnston

      Thank you very much, Kenneth. That would be very kind. You can send it to: [email protected]
      BTW, I will respect your authorship and will not post or share it.

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