Change your shortcuts to open a dialog instead of a gallery


Sibelius is well-regarded for using intuitive keyboard shortcuts to perform common tasks in a musical score. In Sibelius 7 or later, several of these one-stroke shortcuts open what are known as galleries: menus which list options organized by category. Several of these galleries, and their corresponding shortcuts, are:

  • K: Key signatures
  • L: Lines (several lines have their own shortcuts, like “H“airpins and “S“lurs)
  • Q: Clefs (or “Q”lefs, because the letter C is reserved for entering the note C)
  • T: Time signatures
  • Z: Symbols (or “Z”ymbols, because the letter S is reserved for slurs, as noted above)

time-signaturesGalleries, like the one for time signatures displayed above, can help you make quick work of entering common notational elements; for example, you can either manually type in your time signature or choose from among those that are most often used. Any time signature that you place in your score will automatically appear in the Used category at the top of the gallery, on the reasonable assumption that if you’re predisposed to a certain meter, you’re likely to use it more than once.

This is all very handy, but it’s a change from how Sibelius 6 and earlier worked. (See this recent post for a useful primer on transitioning from Sibelius 6 to 7.5.) In those versions, pressing the keyboard shortcut would bring up a dialog (a window with buttons), like this one for time signatures:


Here, there are fewer of the more commonly used meters from which to choose, but there are also many more advanced options, like the ability to switch on or off the defaults of rewriting bars and allowing cautionary signatures; the option to place a pickup bar, and a button which opens yet another dialog where you can specify the beam and rest groups (subdivisions) of a bar. (This is also where the option to separate tuplets from adjacent notes lives.)

This dialog (and other similar ones for key signatures, clefs and symbols) still exists in Sibelius 7 and 7.5. In order to access it, though, you’ll need to click More Options at the bottom of the gallery:


If you only need to access these options occasionally, an extra click every now and then is not too heavy of a burden. But if you find yourself in these advanced dialogs more often than not, all the extra clicks add up to more steps compared to how things worked in Sibelius 6.

Fortunately, you can program Sibelius 7 or later versions to call up these dialogs with the usual keystrokes. To do so, go to File > Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts. Let’s continue with time signatures for our example:

  • Under Tab or category, select Notations tab
  • Under Feature, select Show Time Signature dialog
  • Click Add
  • The Add Keyboard Shortcut dialog appears. Type T and click OK
  • Sibelius will warn you that the shortcut is already being used for another function (the time signature gallery). Click Yes to override it
  • Click OK to exit Preferences


From now on, while you’re working in your score, pressing T will open the time signature dialog, just as it did in Sibelius 6. You can program your other shortcuts for the other dialogs, if you like.

If you’re hooked on programming shortcuts to help your workflow, or want to know more about shortcuts in general, check out these other posts on the blog:


  1. Derek Williams

    Brilliant tip Philip, thanks! FYI, I have also added over 350 shortcuts to an iPad control surface I have called “Sibelius Wizard”, available here:

  2. Michael Keefe

    Thanks for the great ideas. 2 thoughts popped up:
    1. For an sfz indication, how about using Command, shift, z as a keyboard shortcut? Now you don’t have to “assemble” a sforzando.
    2. Per your time signature dialog, how about using Shift, T ? This way, you have the regular one available (T), and the alternate is one keystroke away (Option,T).

    1. Philip Rothman

      Hi Michael: Good idea in principle. Command-Shift-Z is already in use for Undo History, and Shift-T is used for Transpose. But other keyboard shortcuts would work and you are certainly correct that there is nothing preventing a user from having a shortcut for both the gallery and dialog options. Thanks!

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