Save time with six speedy Sibelius selection shortcuts

A keyboard, yesterday (Courtesy Book Glutton on flickr)

Here are half a dozen useful keyboard shortcuts for Sibelius that you should add to your arsenal if they’re not already engrained into your muscle memory.

1. Select More

Being able to select objects in the score efficiently is one of the keys to working quickly with Sibelius. Edit > Select > Select More, which has the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+A (Windows) or ShiftCommandA (Mac), allows you to quickly select all similar text along the width of a system.

For example, you can select all lyrics on a system by selecting one lyric, then hitting the shortcut for Select More. This can be a useful first step, to be followed by…

2. Filter dynamics

An alternative to Select More is to use one of Sibelius’s powerful filters. You can select both Expression text and hairpin lines in a single operation via Shift+Alt+D, the shortcut for Edit > Filter > Dynamics.

3. Align in a Row

Once you have your text objects selected, hit Ctrl+Shift+R (Windows) or ShiftCommandR (Mac) to align the text in a row, taking the average of the vertical positions of all of the selected objects. This is the shortcut for Layout > Align in a Row, and it works not only with text, but also other objects such as chord symbols, lines (very handy for pedal lines!), and so on.

4. Select Bars

There are lots of quick ways to select bars in Sibelius: click in a blank bit of staff to select that bar in that staff, double-click to select to the end of the system, and triple-click to select the staff throughout the score; hold Shift and you can extend the selection across a range of staves, or hold Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac) to add a non-adjacent staff to the selection.

But another shortcut for selection you should try out is Ctrl+Alt+A (Windows) or OptCommandA (Mac), which is the shortcut for Edit > Select > Select Bars. This shows a useful little dialog in which you can specify the start and end range of bars to be selected, without needing to scroll to the end of the score.

5. Select System Passage

If you want to copy and paste a selection that includes system objects like time and key signatures, rehearsal marks and special barlines (such as repeat barlines), you need to copy a system passage rather than a regular passage. System passages are shown by double purple boxes enclosing the selected bars rather than single light blue boxes.

A quick way of converting an existing passage selection to a system selection is via the shortcut Shift+Alt+A, the shortcut for Edit > Select > Select System Passage.

6. Go to start/end of selection

Once you’ve made a big selection, it can be very useful to move between the start and the end of the selection: use ShiftHome to bring the start of the selection into view, and ShiftEnd to bring the end of the selection into view.

Do you have any favourite keyboard shortcuts of your own? Leave them in the comments. And don’t forget that you can customise all of Sibelius’s default keyboard shortcuts and add your own using the Menus and Shortcuts page of the Preferences dialog.


  1. tom

    Is there a shortcut for “Create double barline”?

    1. Daniel Spreadbury

      Not a default one, but you can easily create one: go to the Menus and Shortcuts page of Preferences, create a new feature set, and in the Menu or Category list choose Create, then choose Double Barline from the Feature list.

      Now click Add on the right-hand side, and type the shortcut you want to use. Sibelius will warn you if you happen to choose a shortcut that is already in use by another feature.

  2. Martin

    I’m a big fan of Notes > Re-input Pitches (CTRL + SHIFT + I) – saves me hours of time on a regular basis.

    I also choose not to allow Sibelius to record into multiple voices when using Flexi-Time, so CTRL + SHIFT + O (Notes > Flexi-Time Options) is another that I use a LOT!

    Another one that I find myself using a fair bit (probably more than I should be…) is CTRL + SHIFT + M to turn multirests on and off – I’ve just spent 5 minutes trying to find the long way to do it, and it has eluded me! Has it been removed from the menu system altogether? I expected it to appear under the House Style menu…

    1. Daniel Spreadbury

      It’s in Layout > Auto Breaks (Auto Layout in Sibelius 5 and Sibelius 4).

  3. Martin

    So it is – but no mention of the shortcut?

    That dialog box reminds me of a question I’ve been meaning to ask. Are there any plans for a feature/plug-in that would automatically create a TACET AL FINE text in an instrumental part if there is a significant length if time/number of bars between the last note in the part, and the end of the piece?

    1. Daniel Spreadbury

      Interesting suggestion, Martin. I’ll make sure it goes on the wish list.

  4. Jaime Espinoza

    Is there a ‘new’ shortcut for the former space-bar feature of Sibelius 3?

    I really miss that feature, you know, when you’re writing notes and rhythms on PC keyboard and go back, or stop writing for listening. Space-bar (in sib 3) ‘gets you’ ready for writing in the next time (and not in the selected one). Now, in Sibelius 6 (and also in 4 and 5) press the space-bar and playback begins.

    (I hope the description of my issue it’s enough clear; I did my best effort)

    1. Daniel Spreadbury

      The best you can do is change the shortcuts as described in this Help Center article.

  5. Tom

    Thanks, I never knew you can define shortcuts by yourself!

  6. Cami

    I am new to Sibelius, and I’m getting started with the free trial of Sibelius 6 Student. I am looking for a directory of keystroke shortcuts. Do you know where I can find that? Also, am I able to create my own shortcuts with the student edition? Thanks!

    1. Daniel Spreadbury

      I’m afraid you can’t customize the keyboard shortcuts in Sibelius Student, Cami. The best list of shortcuts is found in topic 5.12 Menus and Shortcuts in the Sibelius Reference PDF. This is actually the manual for the full Sibelius 6 product, but the shortcuts are the same in both Sibelius 6 and Sibelius Student, except where the feature in question is not available in Sibelius Student.

  7. Ian Williams

    The default setting for stave depth under Layout > Document Setup is too narrow for me at 6.0 and I’d like to change this to 7.2, which is the setting I use. Ditto the the width of stave lines under House Style > Engraving Rules on the Staves page, which I change to 1.2. How do I change these and maybe other default settings so I don’t have to do this every time I write a score?

    1. Daniel Spreadbury

      Ian, you can make these adjustments and then either export a house style file (via House Style > Export House Style) that you can import into your future scores, or even better, create a manuscript paper (via File > Export > Manuscript Paper), and then simply start your future projects from that template.


    I would like to know how to add instrument names and song titles to page 2 of parts onwards – as a default header please ?

  9. D Hunt

    on Sib 7 using a macbook how to you obtain the drop down dynamics selection that you get when right clicking on a PC

  10. Karl Grossman

    Has any progress been made on uniform barlines over multiple staves. My pages look like a drunken clown has written my score. My scores are simple lead sheets but to someone sight reading them the lack of cohesive alignment is withering and then if there IS a line of 5 measures (!) THAT line doesn’t ‘stand out’. I need precise control of my barlines ‘down the page’… Gosh, any hope…?

  11. Joanna

    When I’m writing and I want to add a 6th under any note, I should use ‘shift+6’, but it doesn’t work properly. With all the other intervals it’s working. How can I solve this?

  12. Michael Ray

    hello and thank you for these helpful tips. is there a way to select an entire staff (say soprano 1) and select another entire staff, that’s not directly under it, (say piano). thanks to your tips, i can now select an entire staff to mix down to audio, but i can’t figure out how to select multiple staves (unless i select all). thanks for any guidance!

  13. Joan Casals

    Hi Daniel, I can see you have a good answer for almost everything related with Sibelius. I have Sibelius First version 7.1.3 and I’m trying to create keyboard shortcuts but when I open preferences I can’t find this option. On the list on the left I just have General, Input Devices, Note Input and Textures. Any idea why I don’t have the keyboard shortcut option?

    Kind Regards

  14. Bob Zawalich

    Unfortunately, as Daniel says above, Sibelius First (any version) does not allow you you customize keyboard shortcuts. That is a feature of the full versions of Sibelius only.

  15. Jose Eduardo

    Very good.
    Jose Eduardo, admirador das Acompanhantes de Luxo , São Paulo – SP

  16. martina abner

    Use the Filter. There are shortcuts for many of the selections you might like to use – for instance, select Top Note or Single Note is CTRL+ALT+1.

  17. Dan Cosley

    Is there a way to select all graphics in a score?

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