If you follow this blog occasionally, you may already know about wildcards: those slightly strange-looking text tokens that are automatically substituted with text from File > Info. We covered them in a video tutorial last year and a post on this blog from a few years ago, and Robert Puff’s got a post about them on his blog “Of Note”.
Check those posts out if that’s new information to you, or if you need a refresher. Here we’ll “kick it up a notch” and add formatting changes to the mix.
At any point within text in the File > Info dialog, you can force line-breaks, and make font, character and style modifications, if you’re in the know:
- \B\ – bold on
- \b\ – bold off
- \I\ – italic on
- \i\ – italic off
- \U\ – underline on
- \u\ – underline off
- \n\ – new line
- \f\ – change to the text style’s default font
- \ffontname\ – change to given font name (e.g. \fArial\ to switch to Arial)
- \sheight\ – set the font size to height x 1/32nd spaces (e.g. \s64\ to set font height to two spaces)
- ^ – use the Music text character style for the next character (e.g. ^b to make a “flat”)
Now, how would you practically use this? Here’s one example. Try typing the following into the Composer field in File > Info (or copy and paste from here):
\B\Jane Doe\b\\n\arr. John Doe\n\\I\(1970)\i\
Next, if you haven’t already, create some composer text in your score by selecting the first bar of your score, go to Text > Styles > Composer, and type:
You should see:
It’s worth pointing out, you could have alternatively used three separate different wildcards as well by making use, say, of the Arranger and Year of Composition fields available to you in File > Info.
And yes, you could have changed the text formatting directly in the score, by going to Text > Format in the Ribbon and making any changes there. The important difference, though, is that if you reset your design defaults by going to Appearance > Design and Position > Reset Design:
- Any changes made via the Ribbon in Text > Format will be lost
- Any changes applied in File > Info using the modifications described above will be retained
In other words, the formatting changes supersede any defined text styles in Text > Styles > Edit Text Styles.
What’s really nice is that these formatting changes can be used within many other dialogs found in plug-ins, like Find and Replace Text (which is found in Text > Plug-ins > Text). Here’s a rather extreme case:
The text I typed was:
And I got:
Let us know how you’re making creative (and perhaps more practical) use of these nifty text techniques!
Is there a way to switch to different font weights (not just bold or italic)?
Unfortunately, not right now (other than underline). It would be nice to call additional weights like Light, SemiBold, etc. Limiting the wildcards to Bold, Underline and Italic only is very 1990s and doesn’t account for our modern lifestyles :-)