One of the conundrums of working with modern software is compatibility of the file format among different versions. If you work on your own, it’s not much of an issue. But if you collaborate with other people, things can get hairy pretty quickly if you’re working in Sibelius 7.5 and your colleague is working in Sibelius 7, and you want to send files back and forth.
There are quite a few people in just this predicament — myself included. (I’m currently copying a show with 28 songs; I’m working in 7.5.1 and the orchestrator is working in 7.1.3.) Of course, Sibelius has always supported exporting to previous versions, but you have to navigate to File > Export > Previous Version to do it, then you have to manually name the file each time.
Wouldn’t it be great if, at the same time you saved your Sibelius 7.5 score, you could save a Sibelius 7 score and keep right on working?
Amazingly, Bob Zawalich has come up with the perfect solution. It’s one of two newly available plug-ins, and it’s called Save With Previous Version. Just install it and assign a keystroke shortcut to it for maximum efficiency. It saves the current score and simultaneously exports a copy of the score in the previous version of Sibelius. The exported file is in the same folder as the original score, and overwrites any file with the same name. There are no options and no dialog will appear, so you can get right on with your work.
The result in your folder, thus, is something like this:
Now, that’s great, but say your collaborator isn’t even working in Sibelius; they’re working in Finale and so they need a MusicXML file, or maybe they don’t even have notation software and you need to create a PDF.
No problem! You’ll want the other half of the plug-in duo: Save and Export. It saves the current score and simultaneously exports one or more copies of the score in an earlier version of Sibelius and/or in PDF or MusicXML format. The exported files are in the same folder as the original score, and overwrite any files with the same name.
The plug-in will display a dialog the first time it is run in a Sibelius session, and you can choose the output format(s) you want and to which earlier version to save. The dialog can be hidden for the rest of the Sibelius session.
If you select all the options above, you’ll wind up with five files, like this:
Again, assign this plug-in a shortcut and you’ll be an exporting machine. Bob wrote up the inspiration and history of this plug-in in a post on the help forum.
Save and Export and Save With Previous Version may be downloaded directly through Sibelius 7 and higher at File > Plug-ins > Install Plug-ins > Engravers’ Tools. Users may also install them manually in Sibelius 6 or higher by visiting the plug-in download page and following the usual manual installation procedure, or by using the Install New Plug-in plug-in.