Plug-ins are little programs that automate tasks that would otherwise need to be done manually. In Sibelius, there are approximately 150 of these gems that ship with the program, and more than 500 that are freely available to download by heading to File > Plug-ins > Install Plug-ins. There are many plug-ins sold by third-party developers, too.
We’ve reviewed many plug-ins on Scoring Notes before, and plug-in guru (and blog contributor) Bob Zawalich has written extensively about many of his plug-in contributions as well as his process of creating and developing these incredibly useful tools.
OK — so you’ve downloaded these plug-ins and you’ve become quite fond of them. How do you squeeze even more speed out of them and quickly access your favorite plug-ins whenever you need them?
One solution is, in fact, another plug-in: Bob Zawalich’s My Plugins plug-in — “the plug-in’s plug-in”, if you like!
This handy plug-in provides a list of plug-ins that can be run using the shortcuts in the list. The list can be edited by the user without editing the plug-in itself, using the Customize feature. This lets you add plug-ins to a list in a specific order which will remain until you customize again. Each of the up to 35 plug-ins will have a specific one character shortcut (1-9 and A-Z) to make having a working set of plug-ins easier to manage.
This way you can run a plug-in by typing just two keystrokes in quick succession, without needing to assign dedicated Sibelius shortcuts to all of your plug-ins.
Expert Sibelius user, composer, and copyist ilkay Bora oder has created a video to demonstrate how this plug-in works and how to customize it.
Bora’s video is part of his rapidly-growing “Lightning Sibelius” tutorial series, so if you enjoy this video and want to learn more, you’ll want to subscribe to his channel so you don’t miss a trick.
A transcript of the video follows. Thanks, Bob, for yet another useful time-saving tool, and thanks, Bora, for the helpful video!
Today I’m going to show you a huge time-saver workaround which is called My Plugins plug-in.
As you know, in Sibelius, we have hundreds of plug-ins. Many of them are third-party plug-ins and almost 150 of them are shipped plug-ins. It can be really difficult to remember all of these plug-ins during the engraving or composing process, and using the “Find in Ribbon” option can break your momentum and slow you down.
So how does this plug-in help us? Here it is.
This plug-in has 35 customizable slots and any of them can be assigned to any plug-in, so you can call any of them via this plug-in, instead of using “Find in Ribbon”.
I provided all necessary links in the description for how to download and install plug-ins and how to assign them custom shortcuts.
I presume that you have already installed the plug-in and we are ready to go.
The very first thing I suggest is to assign a shortcut to My Plug-ins plug-in which is the J button because it’s exactly in the center of the keyboard and has the same amount of distance almost everywhere so you will never need to use your right hand and you will keep going to use your left hand.
When you first run the plug-in, you will see this list empty. To fill it you should click Customize, and add any of the plug-ins from the list at your will.
Once we have done the process I suggest you click Trace List so you can reinstall the same list if you want to reset.
Lastly, I suggest you check Run plugin if last box changes so as soon as you hit one of these numbers or the keys, it will run the plug-in.
Let’s see it in action.
For example, in the beginning of every project I always use the Reset Mixer for NotePerformer plug-in.
To do this I press J, I call my list and I call the plug-in.
If I want to call the Flip Selected Notes plug-in, I select the bar, hit J and I call the plug-in.
If I want to have three systems per page I call the list by hitting J, and I call the Systems Per Page plug-in.
Thank you for watching the video.
My Plugins was originally written for sight-impaired users, to provide a simple way to access a set to plugins, where the shortcuts would be fixed once they were set up, unlike Run Plugins By Name, which is more flexible in many ways, but it harder to deal with if you are sight-impaired.
It is also part of a plugin subsystem (along with the plugin Install New Plugins) I called Curated Plugins. There is a very nice writeup of that concept at https://www.rpmseattle.com/of_note/working-sets-my-plugins-and-curated-plug-ins-in-sibelius/.
The idea of curated plugin was that someone would choose a bunch of related plugins and put them into a folder along with a file telling which plugins were in the folder. A user would be instructed to run Install New Plugins against the folder, and it would install all the plugins at once into the same plugin subfolder. They would then use My Plugins to import the list of plugin names, and the plugins would all be available in My Plugins with only one actual shortcut used up, the one to run My Plugins itself.
Curated plugins never caught on, and the sets I had created as samples are out-of-date, and tedious to update, so I removed the link to the curated plugins on my web page. You can still that web page from the link in the Of Note post.
I still think the concept is a good way to provide groups of people with good working sets of plugins, appropriate to their situation, but I no longer maintain the working sets I initially set up.
My Plugins is a good way to collect a set of possibly useful plugins and provide a way to access them easily, without having to figure out which menu to go to to find them on your machine.
Thanks to Bora and Philip for putting a spotlight on this plugin.